Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just the Two of Us

It seems like it has been a while, but I did go out with Robin on Friday.  I just got lazy and didn't blog about it.  I was worried about Bear's swollen ankles and decided to have a relatively easy day of groundwork.  I thought it would also help with his somewhat increasingly bad behavior on the ground.  Well, bad is too strong a word, but it hasn't been good.

We did a lot of our basic stuff, and he was really quite good.  He was paying a lot of attention to me, and he improved in all the exercises as we went along.  When we finished and I shot some photos and video of Robin and Steen in the indoor arena, Bear was standing with the kind of contentment I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks.

Then we were out of town for a long weekend.  It is always an adjustment coming back, and today was a really tiring day at work.  While sipping some tea in the afternoon Robin and I decided not to go to the barn.

But then I had a little surge of energy and thought it would be better if I got myself out there.  Robin still elected to stay home, and that was OK.  I had not been to the barn by myself since maybe October.

All the horses were in the middle pasture.  I gave Steen a few pets on my way over to Bear, who seemed quite happy to see me.  He led well, respected my space and was very, very attentive.  I guess the time off and groundwork session did him some good.

His ankles, though, are still swollen.  I asked a knowledgeable barn person what she thought it might be.  She agreed it was most likely flies, and she even thought some of the hard bumps were bites.  I thought the swolleness came from the stamping, but it is possible it came from the bites themselves.  Or both. Either way, she was not terribly worried about them, and Bear didn't seem to be either.

After I tacked him up I brought him to the outdoor arena.  We ran through a little groundwork and he was really good, particularly with disengaging the forequarters.  When I was about to mount he moved off, so I moved his feet to make sure he knew I meant business, and then he stood stock still while I climbed on.

The ride was good.  He was relaxed and pretty happy to be working.  At times he would get distracted by the herds surrounding the arena, but I guess that is to be expected as this is the first time he has ridden without a buddy (specifically without Steen) since the fall.  We kept things light and just walked and trotted in big circles.  He was good with his transitions and I was able to keep him on a very loose rein.

After we had gone both directions, we went back to walking and trotting to the left and he got very uppity.  He had the Steen problem where he just wouldn't walk more than a couple steps.  So finally when he picked up an unasked for trot, I kissed to him.  He went into a very relaxed lope.  I guess he just wanted to run around a little. 

We only went for a short while.  He dropped it once, but then he picked it right back up when I asked for it.  When I cooled him down he seemed very pleased with himself.  So he must just be feeling good.  I'll have to keep an eye on his ankles, but I think we can get back to the kind of rides we've been having lately.

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