Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Some Catching Up

Trips to the barn have become more consistent, though the weekly volume is still not high.  We have been very consistent at trading off our Laredo rides.  This has gone a long way to getting him back into work and feeling good moving around in the indoor arena.

I have also been making sure I get some not too demanding rides in on Bear.  No agenda, just getting on and feeling him out.  Some days he is stiffer than others, but overall he seems to be happy to come in and hang out with us.  The other week we had a short but low key ride while our barn manager put her first ride on her new two year old.  He was surprisingly all right with everything.


A couple of weeks ago Robin decided to see how Laredo would go in the hackamore.  It is something we have talked about for a while, but we never got around to trying.  She had a pretty great time with it, so then I had a go, too.


I know the hackamore is just another tool, but for some reason it has become my favorite horse tool over the last 8 months or so.  I find that I can communicate much more solidly and clearly with the horse.  Because of that, there is a lot less room for error when using it, so I have learned a lot about touch and feel and setting things up. This is not to say such riding cannot take place in a bit.  It totally can, but for whatever reason, I am understanding more with the hackamore at this point in my riding.

And all the knowledge I've gained from riding Bear in it most of last year translated nicely to working with Laredo.  Yes, they are very different, but we had a great time on our first hackamore ride.  As Robin mentioned in her blog, he seems to have some bit anxiety that is still lingering from when he was started.  We've come a long way in softening him up, but when he gets a little anxious, he can only think about the bit.  The hackamore seemed to free his mind up a little, and he was much more attentive to my legs.  We also had some excellent transitions and some fun loping.  I did have to pop him on the butt a couple of times with my mecate to get him going, but after that, he was more than willing to move out.  He even seemed to be having a lot of fun with it.

Oh, I should say that during one butt pop I got the mecate stuck under his tail.  I could feel him tense up as he clamped his tail down on the rope, but he just kept loping nice little circles the whole time and didn't freak out at all.  I slowed him down to a stop and tried to pull the rope out, but he was still clamping down pretty hard.  I almost got it by pulling on his tail some, but in the end Robin hopped down and freed the rope.  Everything went so well up to that point I didn't want to push things into scary territory.

When the weather is not so nice and the ground is frozen and lumpy, we like to let the guys move around on their own in the arena.  Bear and Steen really know the drill, but in the last couple of days Laredo has started to figure it out.

 Steen is a little dramatic sometimes. He also probably wouldn't tell you that he started it.

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