Saturday, August 18, 2012

Laredo and the Rope

Last week, I had some really great rides on Laredo, so I was excited to get back on him today.  I also still had the rope attached to my saddle, so I figured I would start by seeing how Laredo handled it.

Like Bear, he seemed to recognize the rope, but he wasn't as bothered by it.  He really kept a close eye on it the whole time.  I started by quietly tapping at his sides with the coil.  He was very tense at first, but he never moved a foot.  So I worked my way around him, tapping various parts.  I would stick at one spot until his body visibly relaxed some, then I'd give him a break and a few soft pets with my hands.  I moved around his whole body like that until I could tap him anywhere and not get any reaction.  That only took a couple minutes.

Then I worked on swirling the rope over his head.  He was not quite as good with this as Bear, as he would side step around and want to walk away from it.  He never got as upset as Bear did, though. I know the guy who started Laredo last year ropes a lot, so he almost certainly got a little used to the rope.  But I didn't want him to think he could walk around when I was swinging the rope, so I would keep swinging and disengage his hindquarters to get him to stop, back him up a step, and then after he stood for a few seconds I'd give him some release by not swirling the rope any more.  We did this for a few rounds and then he stopped walking off.  Once that was working consistently I started to throw the loop around his legs and over his back.  He was also fine with this.

That felt like enough rope stuff for us today, so I hopped on his back and went to work on all our usual stuff.  He was exceptionally light to my legs.  This has been the biggest area of growth lately.  He is nowhere near as consistent as Bear, but at times I do believe he's moving off less pressure than Bear moves off of.

The rest of the ride was just mediocre.  Laredo was checked out and not all that keen on focusing.  I was trying to think what Buck would do in a case like this, as I know he would not tolerate having a horse only give him part of their attention.  And I'm pretty sure Buck would jump them out pretty good once they started looking off.  I'm not quite to the point where I want to fully jump Laredo out (hopefully soon, though), so I started moving in and out of the trot a lot.  It didn't completely solve the problem, but it did give us some things to work on and allowed us to get a lot of stuff done.

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