Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nice Weather

At least for the past two days.  The middle of the week was down right yucky.  I ended up giving Bear three days off because of the weather, and just general tireds on my part.  In fact, it was a little hard to get to the barn Friday afternoon because the week felt so long and tiresome, but we were glad we did.

We found the guys aimlessly wandering the pasture as the bales were gone.  This was great for Bear.  He has been eating too much, and I was worried I would find him even bigger after his three days off.  Instead he was in a good mood and looking trimmer.

We had an easy ride in the arena with lots of trotting.  For almost 20 minutes (not completely in a row) all we did was trot around with me asking for a soft feel.  He was awesome at it.  He would give it to me almost instantly, and since he was so tuned in to me he was listening to my legs and seat.  I could speed him up or slow him down with my thighs.  It was great.

Then Robin asked if we wanted to lope.  I said sure.  I did, really.  It is just that right now it takes some effort.  But the only way to get back to it is to keep him going.  So I got him into the lope.  He picked it up very quickly.  It was so smooth and relaxed I was all prepared to just go with the flow.  But then after two strides he dropped it.  This became a pattern.

So I got into a rhythm of asking him for the lope, riding out his sloppy transitions in and out of the lope and doing my best to keep balanced so I could kick him when necessary (sounds harsh, but trust me, it wasn't).  At one point I kicked at the perfect time and he just went into a nice easy lope.  From then on things got easier.

All in all we loped longer than we did last time.  He is not good at staying on the rail, and while I'm getting better at using my legs to direct him at this speed, I've got a lot of work to do.  I also figured this was maybe the fourth or fifth time I had loped him inside.  Bear doesn't love it inside, so I'm hoping things get better with time.

Today the temps were supposed to be even warmer than yesterday.  Robin and I ran some errands in the morning and then got to the barn just after lunch to hit the peak heat of the day.  We weren't the only ones with that idea.  Within in a 20 minute period Robin and I and three other boarders arrived.  Plus the barn owner and the women doing chores were both there.

Thankfully we had already planned on riding outside, so we didn't have to vie for any arena time.  We quickly tacked up and then headed out to the big pasture.  We hadn't ridden out there in over a month, so I was excited to get back there.  The sun was shining and felt very warm.  There was a slight breeze, but it never felt cool out there.

Things started out great.  Bear was walking out and giving me the soft feel regularly.  After a long warm up we made our way to the hilltop, and things deteriorated from there.  Bear was edgy, stiff, and not paying close attention to me.  He would shy away at his own shadow.  His stops and backs were awful (very un-Bear).  And at the trot he was very fast and rough.  I rubbed a bit of a sore spot on the inside of my right knee from riding it out.  The new saddle has been great, but I guess it isn't great enough to allow me to ride poorly through some really stiff and fast trots.

We did work through things some.  The trotting got better in time.  Bear was unbelievably gassy and bloaty since they did get new bails last night, so he was pooping like a machine.  I'm sure that wasn't helping things.  In between trotting sessions we would work on our short serpentines (these got to be pretty good) and soft feels.  In the end, we got a good workout. 

I was getting tired of riding when Robin asked if I wanted to go in.  There were some hunters in the distance, and being on a hilltop not too far away from woods and open prairie grasses made us a little uncomfortable.  We walked back and discovered we had the arena to ourselves, so we rode a little more.  Robin worked on some loping and I checked in with our trot.  Much better inside.  Serpentines were good, too.

I do wonder if he was a little touchy because of our last ride on that hilltop.  We did ride in the pasture about a month ago, but the last ride on the hilltop was over two months ago when I fell off.  He definitely got a little scared in that fall.  I had never seen him take off so hard before.  He was galloping up and down steep hills that he doesn't even really like to walk on.  So maybe we just need a little time up there. 

Trying to redeem himself after a highly mediocre ride.
I rode with the camera in my pocket the whole time, but we only thought to use it at the very end. I guess that is what happens on difficult rides.

No comments:

Post a Comment