Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lope Transitions

On our way out of town we decided to hit the barn for a ride.  We would be taking all our riding stuff with us to Chicago for a lesson at my Mom's barn, so it really didn't make any difference if we packed all that stuff or wore it.

Lately our indoor rides have been longer than we thought they would be.  This has been great for getting Bear back in shape.  Which I think I can say he is now in better shape than he was right before Thanksgiving.

I kept this ride very active and constantly switched in and out of all the exercises we are working on.  Bear has been responding to this approach very nicely.  What I kept coming back to was working on our lope.  This was by far the most loping we have done since maybe sometime in the summer.  I spent many rounds going in both directions, but instead of just pushing him into a lope for a while and then getting a big hard stop out of him, I would keep him going between the trot and the lope with a soft feel and a shift of my seat.  He responded to these transitions really well.  Although he did get a little excited at times during the trotting.  Usually a few requests for a soft feel would bring him back.

Since we have been loping quite a bit I am sure that is part of the reason I had such a good ride.  I think the other reason was I was back in spurs.  The spurs Robin got me for my birthday were too narrow for my boot heel.  Also, the shanks were pretty long.  So we got a bigger spur with a slightly smaller shank, and today I wore them for the first time.  I am still adjusting to them, but I was significantly more comfortable than I thought I would be.  And when it came time to keep loping, it really only took the slightest bump with the spurs to remind Bear that he should keep moving out.  I really only had to do that in the beginning, too. Bear is such a funny guy, often I just need to show him I mean business once and then things are great.

We left the guys out in a slightly muddy pasture to hang out over the holidays.  We have been getting a lot of rides in (far more than I thought we would in December), so I'm sure they'll enjoy their days off.

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