Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lots of Running

Today I hoped to build on some of the work Bear and I did at the lope on our last ride.  We again rode on the strip and in the hackamore.  We warmed up with lots of meandering without hands and then some nice trotting.  The whole time I couldn't help but think how responsive Bear felt compared to Laredo.  It is not a fair comparison, of course, but since I've spent so much time working on these things with Bear it is nice to feel a pretty big difference.

Then we started loping up and down the strip.  Bear does love his patterns, so he started trying to guess where I'd ask for the lope based on where I had asked for it previously.  I had to keep changing up the way we were doing things to make sure he was listening to my body.  It was kind of fun, but also a little annoying at times.  But he was always smooth transitioning up into the lope.  I only had to give the smallest cue, and we would go rolling down the strip at a comfortable stride.

We did have a little time in the middle where he got a little chargey.  It occurred after we took a brief break to chat with the new boarders.  I guess he was just feeling like we were done, but we still had a lot of time left to run.  After just a couple minutes of mixed trotting and loping with a few sharp corrections in the turns, he started listening to me again.  I wonder if because he is the head of the herd when I'm not there that he just gets used to making his own decisions, because he is constantly sharing his opinions with me.  I always work through them pretty quickly, but it is just funny to feel him keep trying.

Once we got back to my plan, he was really good.  We spent much more time running up and down the strip than we did last time.  He definitely got a good workout.  He was also really attentive to my legs in the turns.  The only downside is he was not as attentive to my legs when we were going straight.  He was often running up the strip on an angle.  I'm sure some of it was his desire to get near Laredo or near the pasture herd, but I also think some of it was my fault.  I really haven't spent a lot of time loping long sections of straightaways, and I think I just don't have my leg position and rhythm figured out for it.  But that is why I'm practicing it.  At least I know one of the major things I need to work on.

I am also continually amazed at how well Bear is taking to the hackamore.  I have done rides like this in the snaffle, but we have never been this relaxed.  He always wants to be on the bit, or he just charges out as fast as he can possibly go, thus making me bring him in with the bit.  But these past few rides we've been able to cover a lot of distance on a very loose rein.  Occasionally we get going a little faster than I would like, but all I have to do is begin to take the slack out of one rein and he just checks his speed.  I have always been a little jealous of how loose and relaxed Robin and Steen can run around, but now I think Bear and I are starting get a little bit of that.

But just when I think I'm catching up, I see that Robin has Laredo trotting around in a very smooth and relaxed gait.  It seems they were able to build on the last few rides quite a bit.

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