Sunday, March 24, 2013

Um, Spring Break? Hello?

Today we woke up to snow, and it continued to snow throughout the morning.  So we just headed out for the barn right away less we lose motivation or get stuck in the afternoon crowds.

The guys were all tucked up against the windblock.  I grabbed Bear and then got Laredo for Robin while she fed Steen some additional chopped hay.  He's started his annual spring weight loss, so we're trying to get him a few extra calories.

A little different than the last few days, but at least Laredo scored a premo windblock spot.
I started off working with the flag again.  From the ground Bear was a little better with it than he was a few days ago.  He moved off of it nicely (without over-reacting), and he tried hard to not let it bother him when I would randomly wave it around and not ask him to move.  I was also getting some great disengages and front end pop overs.  He's really great at rolling back on his haunches.  However, he was quite sticky rolling from right to left.  I've written before about his right side, and I just don't know if he sees as well out of it.  I really had to get the flag in a lot closer to get him moving, and he always had a look on his face like the flag just came out of nowhere.

We did work on it, but I didn't press it too hard.  I wanted to climb on and keep using the flag, so we relaxed for a few minutes and I rubbed him all over with it.  When I climbed on he wasn't bothered at all. 

But then the tiniest movement of the flag had him dancing around a little.  Even having it on his left side he was more reactive than I would have liked.  So I rubbed him down some more, and then we walked in circles with me just holding the flag out.  When we had that going well I moved it back and disengaged his hind.  And when that worked out I used the flag to get some really nice, energetic steps over on the front end.

And finally we switched hands and started over on the right side.  Again, much more hesitant with it on this side, but we worked through things slowly.  We got to the point where I could get him to disengage his hind, then roll the flag over his head and get him to move the front end over.  No spooking or shying, just very attentive movements, and both directions felt about equal.

So we set the flag down for a while and worked on other things.  Again he had nice energy, so we worked on keeping a big trot going and then periodically I would soften him up and slow our pace down to about half of our fast pace.  When he felt really soft I threw him the slack in the reins and went back to some big posting.  He was great with it.

After a while I thought about going back and getting the flag, but Bear was not happy with me side passing him against the arena side to reach over and grab the flag.  So we had to work on that for awhile.  I had to ask pretty firmly to get him close enough to reach the flag.  I knew he was really tense and jumpy, so I didn't even go for the flag.  I just reached near it and made some noise on the wood with my hand.  He shied away maybe five or six times.  And each time we had to work really hard to get back in position.  Eventually we got it.  He stayed still while I moved some dust around and patted the small platform near the flag.  I gave him some big pets and then we moved on.  No reason to push it all the way and grab the flag today.  Also, I was asking him to approach the wall with his right side.

Meanwhile, Robin was having a great ride on Laredo.  He had some really nice energy despite exhausting himself on yesterday's trail ride.  We finished things up by running through the routine a few times.  We threw in some loping on the straightaways again and both guys were quite good with it all.

It feels great to have a nice rhythm going with the barn again.  And I love having so many things working for us, but also having so many things to keep working on.

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