Monday, March 12, 2012

You Can Do a Lot at the Walk

I read this from Ray Hunt, somewhere.  And it is what I had running through my head during today's ride.  I've had great momentum and excitement to get out to the barn lately, but I don't want my exuberance to overcome what my soon to be 17 year old horse can handle.  The next few days are supposed to be in the 70s, and this morning it rained.  So I used the wet ground as an excuse to just get out and walk around.

We started on the strip, and I asked for some serpentines and leg yields to get Bear with me.  Then Robin and I decided to take a grassy drainage that bisects the field north of the strip and use it to get to the larger, second strip.  Bear showed no hesitation when I pointed him down the slope.  He was willing and attentive and even walking at a good clip.  We managed to lead the whole way.  Usually nervous Steen is setting a rather brisk pace, but not today.  Robin was thrilled with how relaxed and calm he was; they were both totally content to let us lead.

When we got to the second strip (our first time back there since last August), I just focused on minute movements and drills that would help with mobility.  I figured a day where we walked around, did some bending, and had to think about things would be perfect for building on the momentum we got from the last two rides.

It wasn't exciting, but it was fun.  We did lots of serpentines, backing in circles, moving of the hind end, the front end, and whirly-gigs.  At some point he was great at all of them, but he was not always great at all of them.  Robin and I were mostly doing our own thing, and at times we would get pretty far away from one another.  Neither Bear nor Steen were thrilled about this, and sometimes I could feel Bear's agitation to get back to his buddy, but I would always take that energy and direct it somewhere else by moving his feet.  He wasn't happy with that, but during these moments he always responded very well.  Almost in an automatic kind of way, but if I asked for a string of things, then he was more likely to get back with me and relax a little more.  It was pretty neat stuff.

Then we walked up and down a hill a few times, stood around and watched Robin and Steen work through their fidgets, and then we walked back up the drainage for home.  Like I said, not at all exciting, but it was the perfect ride after some days that were full of running.  And it was a great confidence booster for all of us as it was the first time we ventured out from the barn since last summer. It should make it easier to do that in the future.

Oh, and I did play the game again when I got Bear out of the pasture.  It was rather uneventful.  He didn't come to me write away, but I would say he came to me after a 2 minutes. Definite improvement, but certainly worth working on some more.

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