Saturday, January 19, 2013

And Back Outside

Just when I was getting used to the indoors, the temps get into the 50s.  I'm not complaining, though.  And as I type this I can hear the wind hitting the house, bringing in some frigid temps.  This weekend we should hit single digit highs and the rest of the week will be in the 20s.  Normal for January, really, but after the last few winters it feels kind of extreme.

But today we took full advantage of the warmth, sunglasses, unzipped jackets, no gloves, and Robin even left her winter boots at home.  It was my turn to get back on Laredo.  It was the first ride for us outside after the second runaway, so I had that in the back of my mind.  But we started off with some groundwork and he was great.  Really attentive.  He is starting to get to the point where I can put my arm out and he will just follow a feel right into the circle I want.  It's really cool.

Under saddle he was a little more distracted.  The horses in the herd were kicking up their heals, and thanks to the nice weather, we were joined by many other riders outside.  Laredo kept his attention on all of those things before he'd pay me any mind.

He was still good, though, and we were getting a lot of things done.  But halfway through the ride I kind of got a little sick of his lack of attention and stopped putting up with it.  I should have done this from the get go, but like I said, I had that last run away in the back of my mind.  It is funny how things like that can affect your decisions.  I didn't want to make him uncomfortable and thus lead to him running away again, but letting him get distracted was probably more likely to make him run away.  So funny how the logic of horses works.  You get scared so they get scared and then you get more scared and it keeps going.  Or, you get soft or lead better and they get more responsive and attentive and so you continue to be a better leader.  It has to be one of them.

So I firmed up.  We would be going along nicely, I'd ask for a turn, and he would keep looking at the horses off in the distance.  Once I made sure my leg and body were clearly asking for the bend, I took the slack out of the inside rein, and if he didn't give at all, I yanked his head right around.  I can't remember if I did that three times or four, but it was certainly no more than four.  After that he would still get distracted, but then my shifting weight meant a lot more to him, and if he missed that he certainly wasn't missing me pulling the slack out of the reins.

We got a decently long ride in, and it did get me excited for the upcoming spring.  Last year we started venturing out pretty early in the spring, but now we know so many more fun places to go.  So hopefully we'll be getting out and about even sooner.  But next week, it will probably be back inside.

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