Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lots of Running

Bear continues to feel a little off. He was not super interested in coming to me, and while he often lacks a little spunk, today he was lacking more than usual.

I kept things very slow in the beginning.  We went through all our usual things that seem to help loosen him up like walking and trotting in circles of varying sizes and serpentines and easy one rein stops.  These might have helped some; it was a little hard to tell.  Thankfully I could tell that he was not in serious discomfort, so I decided to spend some time going faster.  Oftentimes that will blast out some of the stiffness and really allow him to relax.

We ended up spending a lot of time working at the lope.  It was quite fun, and also quite demanding on me.  It took a few passes of the oval for us to work together through the turns, but we ended up settling into a really nice pace.  He was good off my legs, and I think he was having fun.

After some great running, we took a break to snap some shots of Robin and Laredo.  She was having a wonderful ride and decided she should lope him for the first time.  I know, we've had him for months and have not worked on the lope yet.  But really, we're in no hurry.

Of course, he seems to have an extremely balanced lope and absolutely no inclination to run away with you, so everything worked out fine and there was probably no real reason to wait this long.  But all this time has made us all really comfortable with one another, and I'm sure that had to help.

I went back to working with Bear and wanted to spend some more time going right.  We had mixed it up earlier, but spent most of the time going left.  Right was good, but I wanted make sure.  Wanting to make sure is probably the best way to ensure things are not good, and that is exactly what happened this time.

Bear was turning right just fine, but he was not into bending smoothly through a gradual turn.  Instead we were running in what felt like a big triangle.  We would run to the soybean field and then make a turn to the right, upon which Bear would lope at an angle to the opposite fenceline (ignoring my leg completely) and then dig in for a super tight turn up the fenceline before making a semi-nice 90 degree turn to head back towards the soybean field.

It was exhausting for me to push him out of this pattern.  You can see in the pic above that I've got my right leg on him and am trying to add a little bit from both the leading and supporting rein.  Trying to go up the soybean field while Bear wanted to cut over made it a little difficult for me to keep my butt planted in the saddle, but eventually we started working things out a little bit better and got some nice big ovals.  It is funny to project what the horse is thinking, and probably isn't all that useful, but I like to do it anyways.  In this instance, it really felt like Bear was just trying to go where he wanted to go, then all of a sudden he got tired of working against my cues and decided to just work with them.  In the end, he was neither more sore nor less sore, but I'm hopeful the running loosened him up some.

Also, baby Laredo shots.

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