Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back to Second Guessing

After a week off due to heat and busy work days, we got back to the barn.  I was disappointed to find that Bear was still not feeling the greatest.  He was inclined to really park out during grooming and tacking, and when I hopped on he felt stiff and distracted.  He also continued to swish his tail almost constantly.

It was a little tough for me to ride well in the beginning. I was really letting his distractedness get to me, and I'm sure that wasn't helping me help him.  Thankfully Robin was having a great ride on Laredo, and she asked if I wanted to do some walk/trot transitions in a big oval.  I was definitely up for that.

I'm pretty sure our first passes around the circle were more disjointed than Robin and Laredo's.  They looked great, and we still felt bad.  But I got things under control a little.  I worked on getting softer with my hands and legs and asking for collection more regularly.  It was going so well (and maybe distracting Bear from being distracted?) that I started holding collection through our upward transitions.  I've never done this before.  I know it is a place I should be getting to, so I figured this would be a great time to start.

All in all, it worked pretty well.  It did help that he was collecting nicely at both gaits.  Initially he would give me some big hops into the trot and also get rather stiff in the head and neck.  I would always make sure to keep a little pressure on him until he softened back up a few strides later.  As we continued with the exercise, he got to where he was softening up much quicker.  We never had a transition where he remained soft through the whole thing, but we got really close.  And for our first attempts at this, I'll take it.  Especially since his downward transitions were extremely soft.

After that Robin suggested we take Laredo on walk down the drainage.  I had done this with him a few weeks ago and he loved it.  He is such a curious guy, and he seems to have no anxiety about exploring.  So off we went, and of course, he was fine.  Bear was fine, too, except that he was walking quite slow and we had to trot a few times to catch up to the power-walking Laredo.

We ended up going a ways down the second strip before coming back.  Laredo wanted to keep going, so that seems like a good sign.  When we got back to the strip I pushed Bear into an easy lope and he felt really nice.  He gave me a soft downward transition and then we called it a ride and hung out for a few minutes so the guys could graze on the lush, strip grasses.

The one shot where he didn't have hunks of grass hanging out of his mouth.
I'll have to just keep a close eye on Bear's back I guess.  I'm not sure if it is stamping at flies or picking fights with the new horses in the herd.  Either way, there isn't much I can do about it other than ride lightly and hope to limber him up and give him time off when he might need it.  It is just extra disappointing since we are coming off a great summer where he had almost no soreness.

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