Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Little Loping

Very little loping, actually.  I said a few rides ago that I wanted to get Bear moving out a little more.  It is easy to come up with excuses for not doing it.  Mine are that he got sore last time, and then I got a new saddle and didn't want to push things too fast.  Not sure if they are good excuses, but there they are.

So today we loped, and he was not into picking it up at all.  He has gotten used to not loping, and he has a huge gut on top of that.  But after thoroughly warming him up I pushed him into the lope, and he just shook his head at me and trotted faster.  We did that for quite a few turns around the arena.  Finally he let out some gas and poop and gave me a decent lope.  I didn't make him run for long, but I did move him in and out of it four times, I believe.  It is a start.

Moving out a little better in October. Hopefully we can get back to that, and some nice soft feels, too.
Hopefully now I can get back to loping him regularly.  He is starting to look a teeny bit more fit.  They did get new bales the other day, though.  That didn't help anything.  But at least his shoulders and haunches are looking more muscled.  I still can't believe how fat and and out of shape he got in just 10 days.  It's not like we weren't riding leading up to the break.  True, we weren't running around, but we were spending hour long rides in the hilly pasture and doing more than a little trotting.

Anyways, he is coming around.  That is all I can ask.  The other things we did today went well, too.  Actually, better than the loping.  The arena was crowded when we arrived, but I just took my time grooming and tacking and by the time I went into the arena it was just Robin and I.

I worked on moving Bear out at the walk, and he was very responsive to my open and rhythmic hips.  Before long I could tell he was interested in trotting, so I asked him for it and he again gave me a beautiful, relaxed trot.  I was consistently getting the soft feel, too.  I think I only had to hold the feel for more than a few steps once or twice.  Most of the time it I got a very quick tuck.  I think he was feeling good.

And it was this thought that led me to push him into the lope.  Didn't really work, though.  It required a ton of effort.  Perhaps more on his part, but I'm not certain.  Anyways, we got it eventually.  Then I went back to trotting just to keep him moving and working, and he was super energetic.  A few times he started hopping like he wanted to lope again.  I didn't let him.  Instead I would just ask for the soft feel.  At this point in the ride he was giving it to me instantly.  I could feel his body collect and simultaneously relax and flex.  I wouldn't hold it for long, and then he would go back to a fast trot.  But again, I'd just pick up the reins and he was with me.

It wasn't that long ago that I was having a tough time getting him to respond to a feel at the walk.  Now I can get him to hold it at the walk and continually give it to me at the trot.  I've also been paying more attention to his poll, and he is keeping it just above his withers when he gives me the soft feel.  This is really exciting stuff.  But I think it will be quite a few more rides 'til we've even started getting it at the lope.  It should be fun working on it.

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