Friday, December 2, 2011

Out of Shape

Since I fell off Bear almost eight weeks ago neither one of us has been in great shape.  I have been able to keep my riding up pretty well, so Bear still got out for some nice walk/trot rides, but we haven't been doing much more than that.  I've also been feeling somewhat stale from not being able to lift weights or ride my bike.

But in the last couple weeks I've been getting back to things and feeling much better.  Unfortunately that coincided with a vacation in Tucson and Bear had almost ten days off of riding, which also meant ten solid days of eating.  Judging by the look of Bear's belly, I'm pretty sure he treated each of those days like they were all Thanksgiving.

On our Wednesday ride he was so happy to be out and about he was continually giving me the trot without my asking for it.  And it wasn't the kind of leap into the trot that horses do when they are defiant or pissy, he was just saying, 'you know, we could go a little faster at this really nice trot pace if you like.'  So I indulged him.  Things were going so well that he started doing these floaty little hops with his front end that felt oh so close to a lope.  If he was up for smoothly transitioning into the lope I was going to let him, but things didn't get that far.

So today I was thinking we might get back to loping.  We did a long warmup with mixed trots and walks and backs and neck reining and Bear was very quiet and willing.  Then Robin and I played a mirroring game where one person chose a gait, when to stop, turn, go, etc, and the other person had to follow.  It was fun.  Bear was good in the beginning and then his turnarounds got a little worse.  Steen was good in the beginning and then he got a little better.  Go figure.

After that game we did a little loping.  We had a nice trot going and I just pushed Bear into a lope with my legs.  He picked it up easily, but I'm not sure we went any faster.  We were certainly more vertical, but the gait was so slow I had a hard time getting into rhythm.  We only kept it up for a very short amount of time.  Robin was laughing at how lazy he looked.

When we tried to do a little more, he was very resistant to picking it up.  He felt stiff and just, well, out of shape.  Really out of shape.  I did get a couple more lopes out of him, but I didn't want to push it.  So we went back to other things.  I'm hoping to get back to working on the lope in almost every ride. Bear has such a wonderful lope, so it will be fun.  But I know we need to work on the soft feel and smoother transitions.

The highlight of the ride was definitely trotting around with me steering on a loose rein with one hand.  I do this at the walk quite a bit, and we're getting better at it.  Occasionally I'll try it at the trot, but it has not gone well until today.  At one point I gave him a strong leg cue to get with me on a turn and he moved into the trot.  So I followed that through.  He neck reined very nicely and I only had to correct him with my other hand once or twice.  Then, after trotting for many minutes I pulled my hand back slightly and sat deep in my seat and he stopped on a dime.  I had no pressure on the bit because my reins were so long, but it didn't matter.

These are some of the great things we've been experiencing together lately.  We're also getting better at starting from a stop, moving up into the trot, and turning off leg cues.  It is really cool.  Months ago I thought we were getting along much better, but when I compare that to now, well, it just doesn't compare.  Now if only we could both be in shape at the same time . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment