Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to Stiff

Since we had all our riding gear with us, we decided to swing by the barn on our way into town.  It was a warm afternoon and no one was there.  The guys were both sleeping in the pasture, so I don't think they were thrilled when we pulled them out to work.

We rode inside as we were both a little tired as well.  Robin has been working on suppling up her bosal and mecate and it has made a huge difference.  It probably helped with the good ride she had.

Bear, on the other hand, could have used some suppling and softness over his four day vacation.  When I got on him he was his usual quiet self, but he felt like a different horse through the reins.  He would flex nicely, but that was about it.  Soft feel, backing, gentle turns, all those were missing.  It was almost like someone with super heavy hands rode him the whole time I was gone.  It was a little disappointing since we had been going so well together.

But it did give me some stuff to work through.  I was tired, so it was a little difficult for me to stay patient and soft, but I did my best.  It started to work, too.  Over the course of our hour long ride we worked on flexing, serpentines, getting the soft feel and multiple gaits and did lots and lots of backing.  For some reason this was his worst thing.  Instead of tucking his head he would hold it high with his nose out.  I had to patiently hold some pressure to get him to move.  We got to where going straight back was decent, so then we did a lot of backing in circles and zig-zags.  I was able to get some of that softness back, but it was a little hard on both of us.

Because of the heat, Bear was also just generally sluggish.  So we did a little bit of loping just to liven him up and get the blood going.  He was great to the left.  He perked right up and followed my leg cues.  To the right, stiff.  Really stiff.  A few times we got into some tight spots where I thought we might run into the wall.  At the last second he would respond to my legs and reins and give me a sharp bend.  These were by far the sharpest turns I've experienced at the lope.  At least now I know what we're capable of.

Robin watched these parts and she did notice that he was not moving great to the right.  So he does have some stiffness somewhere.  I didn't push it, and we cooled down with some non-demanding exercises.  Hopefully the light work and little bit of running will help him loosen back up.

This week is supposed to be warm.  Like in the 50s warm.  It is kind of nice, but I'm also wondering where my winter is at.

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