Friday, April 12, 2013

A Friday at the Barn

We almost didn't make it out to the barn today.  We had some good mid-week rides, and I'm often tired at the end of the week.  Plus it was cold and wet.  Again.

But we rallied, and like always, I was happy we did.  I was even happy to be out when Laredo ran away from me and continued to run around the winter lot for many minutes.  I could not figure out why he was so agitated, and then all of a sudden he just disengaged his hind end, looked at me, and trotted through some big puddles right up to me.  Strange.  But later in the day we were chatting with the barn manager and we learned they were all pretty fired up when they put new bales in a few hours ago, so maybe that was it.

Our ride was really fun and varied.  Things have continued to go well for me and Laredo these past few weeks.  I was particularly happy with how well the ride went since I was still quite tired when I climbed on, and I really had no ambition or agenda.

We started out by just walking around and working on steering with my seat and legs.  I do this almost every ride with Bear, but with him I can put the reins down on the saddle.  If I do that with Laredo, I need to pick them up too frequently.  So I keep them in my hands and steer legs and seat first, and then come in with minimal rein if needed.  And if I really need it, I'll follow up with direct reining, but we don't need that too often with this exercise.


We also spent a lot of time moving out.  I got him into some big trots and smooth lopes.  The loping was probably the strongest and most relaxed we've ever had in the indoor arena.  That is until he got a little tired and started having opinions.  He expressed these by periodically slamming on the brakes or kicking oup.  One of the kick outs felt moderately big, too.  I just told him I didn't appreciate those responses and we kept right on loping and trotting.  He also got a few extra kicks and smacks on the butt with the end of my mecate. 

After that he was great.  Back to being attentive Laredo and listening to my body.  Of course, this couldn't last, either.  We were joined by the barn manager who was riding a large paint that stays in another pasture.  Laredo was extremely curious about this other horse.  So curious he would consistently stop listening to me just to stare at it.

One good thing about Laredo is that he has given me a lot of practice in working on not getting mad, because really, I kind of get mad at him a lot.  This time I handled my not getting mad by focusing on simple exercises that we know really well and just moving through them.  I would ask softly, and if he didn't respond, I got to practice making it happen.

It took a surprising amount of effort to get him focused on me, and I don't think I really got him with me 100 percent when the other horse was there.  Sure, he is a young horse, but I am not asking too much.  And there were times in between when I would take a break, set the reins down, and let him look off wherever he wanted for a moment or two.  Then we'd go back to work.

Like I said in the beginning, it was a fun ride.  Despite the kicks and distractions, we got a lot done, and we spent over an hour in the small indoor arena when initially I didn't think I'd last 40 minutes.

We put them out for one more night of blankets.  I also gave Bear his old man vitamins.

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