Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Adult!

I had to ride Bear today as it was his 18th birthday.  I was hoping I could write about our awesome ride and how good he was and young he still seems, but I can't.  He was kind of stiff and antsy.  I spent most of the ride trying to figure out if he was doing this on purpose or if he was not feeling quite right.  As the ride progressed, I felt pretty certain it was the latter.

I noticed Bear's antsyness almost right away.  He was somewhat reluctant to walk down the strip and was weaving all over, so when he doesn't want to somewhere at a relaxed walk I usually make him trot.  He was fine picking that up, but from there on it was a constant struggle to keep him from jumping into the lope or falling onto his front end and giving me a very jerky trot.

We spent a lot of time trotting in circles and figure-eights just trying to keep things steady and even.  We could achieve it sometimes, but not most of the time.  I also really wanted to check out his lope, so we kept working at the trot a loooong time until I could get some nice movement.

Finally we were ready to lope a few circles.  Going to the right wasn't too bad, but then it took us a long time to get set up to go left.  And once we did, it was not very good at all.  We only made a few circles before I noticed I was not going to be able to keep him balanced on all four feet.  The grass was dry and slick, and I knew we were pushing things.  The last thing I wanted was for both of us to fall down on his birthday.

So we stopped.  And I had to stop working on a few different exercises with him today because they were just going so bad and I was getting frustrated.  We couldn't back well or do serpentines well.  We just didn't have much going for us.  We finished the ride by just walking around a lot, and that seemed to go well.  He was much happier with that.  Robin said he had a not so happy look on his face for most of the ride.  Almost as if he was upset because he couldn't do the things I was asking of him.

It is pretty disappointing because we're coming out of the winter where we did a lot of good stuff and I thought he was feeling great.  We haven't had any sore back moments in months.  Thankfully he was still super happy to hangout with me.  When we put them back in the pasture he stood around for a while, but when I moved off to snap his picture he just looked at me and then came right back up for some ground level face pets.  Funny guy.

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