Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two a Days

There's nothing that gets you in shape like doubles.  But it was just for Bear, today, not me.  Robin went out to the barn in the morning to ride with our friend Jean.  Robin used to go on trail rides with Jean and her Thoroughbred Schooley.

Jean is an English rider through and through.  She has spent a lot of years competing in eventing, going on fox hunts, and working on dressage.  She brought a bunch of her saddles with her today, partly to try some out with Steen, and perhaps partly because she felt better in her own saddle.

I'm not sure Bear is cut out for a little dressage saddle, though.  And I know for a fact he prefers his mane to be flowing over both sides of his neck.  Still, he was pretty good for Jean.  She walked, trotted, and loped him around the indoor arena for awhile and afterwards rode Steen.

After work I was tired and hungry, but some tea and a snack perked me up enough to go out to the barn.  I kind of thought Robin would stay home and work, but she wanted to come along, too.

Bear was pretty happy to see me, and he had no problems coming inside for another grooming.  He promptly dozed off while I brushed and tacked him.  But taking him into the arena did not make him happy.  He stopped and balked twice, but I just patiently kept asking him to follow, and finally he resigned himself to another ride.

Under saddle he was very calm and attentive.  And feeling a little thin, too.  It was quite nice.  We had not ridden in the indoor for quite a while and it was rather relaxing.  We spent some time warming up at the walk, then moved into a very nice trot, and then worked up to some loping.

There was a little bit of head tossing when we started the lope, but he quickly settled in and gave me our smoothest lope yet.  For the first time I felt very centered and balanced going through the turns.  We worked at the left lead for a little while and then moved on to the right.

He didn't pick it up quite as easily, but he did eventually give me a smooth lope to the right.  It was faster than the one to the left, and his body was a little more tense and he moved his head and neck around more, but all in all it was quite good.  Robin got a short video of it and I was surprised at how smooth we both looked.  Afterwards, he was definitely tired.

I was very pleased with our first indoor lope.  I think we'll have to work in a little more frequently.  The smaller, enclosed space made it much easier for both of us to concentrate, and he wasn't as inclined to pick up the pace in long straightaways.

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