Saturday, June 18, 2011

End of the Week Rides

Lately I have been getting some long rides in, but this Tuesday Bear and I had a fun, short ride, and I kind of liked the idea of having a few of those just to mix things up.

On Thursday we more or less repeated Tuesday's ride, but we were back out on the strip, and Robin was riding bareback on Steen.  Bear was very relaxed and responsive.  We started the day with some really light groundwork and then, sensing that he was rather warmed up, I asked him to start loping almost immediately.  He obliged and gave me the best lope we've ever had.  Both of us were balanced and collected.  He was also bending nicely through the circle.

We kept it up for a little while and then moved into the other direction.  Upon cuing him for the lope he dropped his shoulder a bit and then threw his head around and almost lept into the lope, but didn't.  It was a little rough to ride through, and for the first time since I've had my new saddle, I grabbed for the horn to steady myself.  It worked nicely, and Bear calmed down a bit.  His ankles are still tight and swollen from all the bugs, and he was really being so sweet that I knew he wasn't trying to get out of anything.  We did a little more to the left and then called it an evening.

On Friday I was more or less expecting the same kind of ride.  But I had a very different horse.  It was cool and dry and Bear was ready to go.  Out on the strip he was paying attention to me, but he was also walking fast and then later trotting super fast.  A few times he snuck in a few strides at the lope when I wasn't asking for it.

I really didn't want to let him do what he wanted to do.  This might not have been a bad thing, but it isn't a habit I want to get into.  And Bear picks up patterns so quickly, I don't want him always thinking we lope after 5 minutes.

So we trotted.  And trotted.  Long straightaways mixed in with lots of turns.  It was rough and fast and I was not enjoying myself a ton.  I tried to relax through it, and we did this for close to 15 minutes, but then I got sick of it.  So I hopped off and adjusted the mecate so we could do some groundwork.

We did a few simple circles and disengages and then I made him run.  He doesn't love to do it on the line, so it was nice that it was still my idea.  He moved really nicely in both directions.  Perhaps not quite as relaxed to the right in the beginning, but after a circle or two he would relax into it.  We were just about to finish up with the loping on the line when Bear dug into the turn a little too tightly and slipped on the partially wet grass.  He went down pretty hard on his right side and it yanked the rope out of my hand.  He hopped up and looked rather confused about what happened, then he trotted off of the strip and over to the gate that leads to the hitching post.

I felt bad that he fell, and then I felt worse when he stepped on the trailing mecate a few times.  My intention was just to make him think and pay attention to me, he certainly didn't need anything uncomfortable to happen to him.  But that is life sometimes.  I slowly trailed after him and met him at the gate.  He stood quietly and lowered his head when I arrived so I could give him lots of reassuring pets.

I quietly led him back to the strip and then we did a little more groundwork.  No more loping, just some easy trotting with lots of disengages.  He was very quiet and attentive, so I hopped back on for a few minutes and just walked around.  He was so good I decided to see if his trot was a little more relaxed.  It probably was, but not by much.  We were back to trotting in tight figure eights and various turns, but he wasn't super relaxed anymore.  He felt good.  So at least the fall didn't bother him too much.

The most disappointing thing about the ride was that I broke our little barn camera.  I pulled it out of my pocket to snap a few shots of Robin and Steen doing groundwork, but the lens would not come out, and it was accompanied by an awful clicking noise.  Then it finally came out, only to get stuck like that.  So we will be without photos for a little while.

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