Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Comfort Zone

We got back into town over the weekend and I had a busy few days with work, so I couldn't get out to the barn.  I was also a little tired from all the travel, so I didn't really mind.

Today was a nice afternoon, though.  Sunny and not too cold.  We arrived and I saw Bear snoozing by the windblock looking large as ever.  He hardly even woke up when I was getting the halter on him.  Inside he was unbelievably quiet and happy to be hanging out with me.  He was sniffing me all over and rubbing my back with his mouth.  It was really funny; he usually doesn't do that.

Out on the strip he was just as relaxed as inside.  I spent the first four minutes just sitting on him and marveling at how solid he feels compared to Rojo.  I'm not a big guy, and I think of myself as being fairly athletic, so I don't cause too many problems getting on horses, but with Rojo, I would swiftly climb on and he would almost fall over.  With Bear, nothing moves.  He's like a rock.

I spent the rest of the ride working on our usual things.  Bear was quiet but very attentive.  In the beginning he did exhibit some signs of wanting to get near Steen.  The first time he did I gave him a moderate amount of outside leg to push him out and he jumped into a trot.  I decided to let him go and he just kept on trotting.  Robin said he looked thrilled to be moving around.  He doesn't give himself much exercise in the winter lot, so it is nice to know that he does enjoy moving about when I ask him to.

The second time he tried to get near Steen we were already trotting, so when I sharply moved him off my leg he gave me some pissy head tosses.  They were more funny than anything else.

Those happened in the very beginning of the ride.  After that he was pretty amazing.  We worked on the feel at the walk and even a little bit at the trot.  We backed a lot of circles and he was really happy with neck reining around the strip.

Towards the end of the ride we were working on smooth trots and getting both big stops and big, energetic starts as well.  These came along quite nicely.  At one point I was getting a decent soft feel at the trot and then I sat deep and asked for a stop, and he gave me the best stop I've had in weeks.

Robin was thrilled with what she was working on with Steen, and right then she suggested we end the ride.  I totally agreed.  I think Bear licked his lips for full minute after that stop and after I got off.  I think we were both extremely happy to be hanging out together again.

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