Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Change Up

With three horses under our care now, there is a good chance we will be changing things up a lot.  Today was the first real day with Laredo, and we decided Robin would spend most of it working with him.  So in order to give Bear a little more rest, I opted to ride Steen.

But first we found all the horses scattered about the pasture.  Bear and Laredo were grazing pretty close to one another, and as we walked up they got even closer.

I don't see Bear engaging in the mutual grooming a lot.  He often looks annoyed when such things happen.  But not today.  Perhaps he is taking a liking to the young guy.

Of course, as we got closer to them Laredo drifted off to visit another horse.  We had to spend a few minutes convincing him he should hangout with us, but all in all, catching a young horse for the first time in a 13+ acre pasture was not at all difficult.

We decided to work in the indoor arena since the footing is good and it had the potential for the least amount of distractions.  I climbed on Steen and had the usual 'this feels totally different than my horse' thoughts.  They were actually bigger than I anticipated.  I know Steen feels different, and I was sure I was ready for it.  But I guess not.  I also realized I hadn't ridden him since early October.  That is quite a while.  Perhaps the longest I've gone since we have had him.

Overall he was good for me, but just like thinking I was ready for the different feel of Steen, I was also anticipating a slightly better ride than we had.  I guess it will just take us a little time to get to know one another again.  It is probably good for both of us.

I think the main differences and things I need to work on are just understanding how Steen moves and how my legs affect him.  He was inclined to pick up the trot on me, just like he has been doing to other non-Robin riders.  We worked around that, and he was very soft when I'd ask him to come down.  We did a lot of walking and trotting in figure-eights and circles.  Overall I was probably using a lot more leg than he is used to, and I think this confused him a little bit.  His response was to either over or under-turn, so I was trying hard to adjust my leg placement and pressure in response to this.

We were going better at the end of the ride.  Our transitions were smooth and our bends got more consistent, but neither one of us were as relaxed as we usually are.  We'll have to see how things go in the future.

Oh, and we rode in the hackamore.  I thought it would be great practice for me to feel another horse in the hackamore, but everything was so different, I didn't even really have time to think about the fact that I was using the hackamore.  I think I did a good job keeping the reins light and loose, because he never braced up on me.  Hopefully once I'm more used to the hackamore on Bear and the way Steen moves I will be able to learn more from riding Steen in the hackamore.

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