Thursday, January 17, 2013

Indoors Is Not So Bad

We spend so much of the year trying to get outside.  Last year the spring and fall were so mild we were hardly inside at all.  On a few occasions we even rode inside just to do it.

Now that the weather is truly wintery (albeit still mild), I'm not minding the indoor arena at all.  The last two rides have been fun and productive.  Also a little bit longer than I thought.

Getting some face pets after some really great groundwork.
On Saturday I rode Laredo.  Robin has been having some great rides on him again, but I'm still a little gun shy on his back after his running away antics.  He was good for this ride, but it took me a while to settle in, and I think because of that he was a little less comfortable than he otherwise would have been.

I did a lot of trotting and focused on steering with my legs and bending him into tighter and tighter circles.  We'd mix that up with transitions, short serpentines, backing, and pivoting around individual feet.  We never run through all of these things and nail them.  But each ride I am surprised at how good he can be at each individual thing.  We just need to keep practicing until he's got everything dialed in.  Thankfully the practicing is fun.

On Wednesday I got back on Bear.  He is always so comfortable after riding Laredo. 

There was a period in the late summer/early fall when Laredo started to feel surprisingly comfortable to me, but then I didn't ride him as regularly due to Steen's injury.  Hopefully we'll get back to that soon.  But that meant Bear felt amazing today.  We spent a lot of time moving around with no hands just because we could.

Bear again had a lot of energy.  His trots were big and was happy to cruise around at the lope.  At one point I was enjoying a fast, high stepping trot and just steering him around with my legs and Robin said he looked a little off.  I didn't feel it, but a few times later in the ride I thought I might have.

Then a little while later I definitely felt a few things.  Bear continued to move great at the lope, but occasionally at the trot he was noticeably uncomfortable.  While the indoor arena might not be too bad for me, it is definitely not Bear's favorite thing.  There is deep sand that covers a rather hard surface, and the sand gets moved around a lot.  So we are left with very deep sections, and very hard sections.  My guess is that the deep sand bothers his back and the hard sections bother his legs.  Loping is significantly less concussive on a horse's joints, so that might be while he has been itching to leave the trot lately.

As always, it will have to be something I keep an eye on and work through.  My whole goal with riding in the winter is to just keep the guys in a little bit of shape.  Generally Bear does better when he's fit, but I'll just have to make sure I'm not creating additional problems while working to keep him in shape.

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