Saturday, February 9, 2013

Frozen Pastures and Energetic Horses

After Thursday's all day rain and yesterday's cold temps, we found the guys safely tucked against the big bails.  The area surrounding the bails was the only solid footing in the whole pasture.  The rest was a mix of frozen lumps of ground and frozen puddles.  It was a slow, careful walk getting them out of there.

Today was my day with Bear and Robin's with Laredo.  As is our habit we turned them loose in the indoor to spend some time on solid ground.  They moseyed about for a  few moments, then Bear rolled.  After a few good back scratches, he sprang up, kicked out, threw his head around and started running.  Laredo immediately joined him.  The two proceeded to play around for quite some time.  I'm sure all the eating and lack of movement left them full of energy.

Once calmed down they came to us, and we brought them out for grooming and tacking.  I could tell Bear was a little stiff when he was romping around, so I took it really easy on him in the beginning of the ride.  I spent the first 30 minutes of the ride just walking.  It sounds boring, but it was actually quite fun.  We worked on bending through various sized circles, moving the forequarters and hindquarters, staying loose at the poll, backing, backing circles and much more.  I thought of it as pre-hab type work.  Stuff to get him moving and feeling good.

And I think it worked.  When we moved into the trot he gave me a few little hops, but he very quickly settled into it.  His steps were full of energy, and I had no problem directing him around with my legs.  We then moved into the lope and got quite a few nice, balanced laps around the arena.  He felt like he wanted to just keep going, but Robin and I had plans to work on some transitions.

So we proceeded to walk half a lap and trot half a lap like we often do.  Laredo seemed to be doing great.  Bear, well, Bear just wanted to spring into the lope.  Every time.  There was not a single lap when we were going to the left that Bear didn't move into the lope.  And he wasn't just kind of offering, he was powering into it.  I felt bad bringing him down lap after lap, but he had to know that loping wasn't the answer. 

I had no idea why he was doing this.  Of course I thought I might have been bringing too much energy into my ask.  I didn't really think this was true, but nevertheless, I decided to go into each upward transition and ask for the trot with as little change in my body as possible.  It worked in some ways, he wasn't wanting to rocket off into the lope, but he was still picking it up.

It was not until we switched directions that I started getting him settled into some nice trots, and that was nice.  I just never know what to think when I encounter this.  I've written about other instances where I think he is having a little trouble trotting and would prefer the lope (the lope is such an easy gait for Bear), but today he just felt so at ease in both gaits.  So I really don't know. 

At the end of the ride he was not the least bit tired, so I'm just going to be happy with the (overall) good ride that we had.

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