Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Long Day at the Barn

We went out to the barn excited to spend a long day with the guys.  I was hoping to repeat last Sunday and ride two horses.

But we were disappointed to find that Steen's sunburn was significantly worse.  We had to spend quite a bit of time cleaning him up and applying various ointments that a super nice fellow boarder lent us.  Her bay paint is just finishing the exact same sunburn issues Steen is starting, so she had all the goods and the know how.  We got Steen cleaned and gooped up, and he seemed to be feeling better when we turned him out in a rather ugly, blue fly-sheet.

All that kind of tired us out, but we did get a pretty good ride in.  We rode in the treed lot again since it was free of horses and a little bit sunny and warm.  Also, the strip was full of farm equipment and horse trailers.

Though I was tired walking out there, I quickly made up a plan of things to work on so that I would be fair to Bear.  I know when I just go through the motions, he does the same.  Then I can get a little frustrated with him, when in reality I should be frustrated with me.  So this time I hopped on, checked out our gradual serpentines and other movements, and then worked on some long trots.

There is a nice, long fenceline in the pasture that curves from the southeast corner to the northwest corner.  It is mostly open, but it does have a few trees scattered along it.  Bear and I just trotted out from one gate to the other.  I worked on keeping him in an even pace and steering around the trees, fallen branches, and random holes in the ground using only my seat.  Of course I couldn't accomplish that with every turn, but we did a pretty good job.  And things got better with each pass.

After we felt nice and warmed up we loped across the middle to meet Robin and Laredo.  They were doing pretty good, but we were both still tired.  We decided to work on exercises together.  We started with backing circles around one another.  Laredo was still slow, but definitely better than last time.

We stopped after a great round and decided to use the same skills in a different way.  We played cow.  Things started slow, but we quickly found ourselves speeding up a little bit as Laredo was starting to get it.  He was watching Bear a lot, and his stops, turns, and starts all improved throughout the game.  On the last round we decided to work things for a few minutes and let Laredo (the cow) win.  In reality, Bear and I stopped pretty late, and there was not much "letting" in their win.  If I really got on Bear we probably could have stopped them, but that's not how we want to play the game.  No point in sacrificing good horsemanship for the sake of not "losing."

The ride turned out pretty great.  We cooled down for a few minutes and then hopped off.  It is funny when you don't get the ride you plan on. But if you are open to it, usually you can get something just as good.

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