Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Sluggish Sunday

Sometimes I can get a little tired on weekend days.  I think I end up sitting around a little too much and drinking coffee longer than I should.  Usually getting out in the fresh air gets me going again, but it didn't today, despite the gorgeous weather.  It was just like yesterday, only not quite as breezy and we had a few puffy clouds in the sky.  Truly amazing.

Bear seemed quite good, though I kind of think he picked up on my sluggishness and responded in kind.  Either that or he was a little tired from yesterday's ride.  He did trot quite a bit, but I don't think it was really enough to tax him.  Of course, having a different rider on him might have made him think a little more.

So today I mostly had a quiet ride.  We wandered around the big pasture with Robin and Steen and then practiced our backing around one another on the table top like hill.  Bear was slow and precise at first, and then he only got better as we kept going with the exercise.

We followed that up with some big circles at the trot.  Bear was really sluggish at this point.  He actually dropped the trot four or five times, which is very unlike him.  After a few minutes, and some vigilance on my part, he improved. 

And then he spooked at a big bird.  It was kind of funny, Bear was closer to the trees than Steen (which we weren't close to at all), and when a large bird wildly took off out of the branches, he coiled up and sprang into a short lope.  He realized his folly before I could even rein him in, and before I knew it we were back to a walk.  It was probably the first time that Bear spooked and Steen didn't. Of course, Steen did have a small response to Bear's spook.

After the long trots we worked on our short serpentine.  Bear was not super responsive for me, and I thought this would help.  It felt like he was bending nicely, and  he would step through the exercise equally with all four legs, but he didn't have a lot of life in him.  A few times I could get him going, but it took a lot of effort.

By this time we had been riding a while, and Robin wanted to do some loping in the outdoor arena.  So we followed them up there and then I worked on livening Bear up with some quick backs, and then jumping him out a few paces.  At first he wasn't too thrilled with this little exercise, but after a few repetitions he got into it.  He started paying attention to my every move.  At times he would anticipate a little bit, so I started throwing in some standing at random parts, and he rose to the challenge.

This exercise also helped him loosen up.  I started getting much better flexes out of him afterward.  So I'm thinking that Bear and I were both just a little mentally sluggish.  And that in turn affected us physically.  We still had a good ride, and it was great to be outside.  Robin also thought Bear was engaging his hind end a little more, so maybe that is another plus for the supplement.  But I think I'll have to test him a little more over the next few days.  Right now our plan is to give it to him each day we go out to the barn, but for this first week or so, we'd like to give it to him every day, just to give him a little jump start on things.

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