Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shivering Horses

We're in the midst of a long, cold, rain storm.  It can make it tough to get to the barn, but we also knew the guys would be pretty uncomfortable.

And they were.  Pretty much the whole herd was lined up against the wind-break shivering.  Steen was wandering around on his own and walked right up to Robin.  I grabbed Laredo and Bear, neither of which were happy to see me.  I was a little surprised, but I think they were just uncomfortable, because as soon as their halters were on they couldn't wait to go inside with me.

We did our best to get the water off them and towel dry them a little.  We gave them a snack and then Robin blanketed Steen and put him back outside.  We tacked up the other two for a ride.  Bear was super fidgity for the grooming and tacking.  Laredo was handling everything the best.

In the arena, Bear was still really lively.  We did a bunch of groundwork to make sure he was loose and moving well, and then I climbed on.  And we had one of the liveliest rides I've ever had.  He was extremely sensitive to everything, and he was putting a ton of energy into all movements.  It made things very fun.  I'm sure this was due to his cold and discomfort, but the more we worked the better things got.  And the more warm and dry he got.  By the end of the ride he only had one little wet spot on his butt.

Still pretty damp, but looking more content.
We spent some more time playing the cow game we started yesterday, only this time Bear and I got to be the cow.  This was fun.  Bear was stopping hard and turning great.  As the game went on, he got really into it and started turning faster and faster.  Many times we made a hard turn and just took off in the lope.  We were all having fun with it.

The rest of the ride we worked on softness at the walk, trot, and a very little bit at the lope.  This is something I just haven't been focusing a lot on.  We work on it every ride, but lately it seems to have taken a back seat to other things, and really, there is no reason for that.

We mixed that in with getting some nice backs and then jumping out at the lope.  The first few were not too great, but then we got in a nice rhythm with them.  Robin was working on the same thing with Laredo, and she suggested we have a little race to the end of the arena.  We'd back five, solid steps, and then jump them out.

Bear and I won the first round, and then the kid came back to win the second round.  They were pretty amped up at that point, so we settled them down a bit.  We had to have a tie break round, but I said we should be back them five steps and then make them walk.  No use getting all that life if you can't bring them back down.

They both did great with it.  We still tried to race to the end of the arena at the walk, but each horse gave a single trot step, and were therefore disqualified due to the rigorous rules of the competition.  We did get them walking out nicely, and I guess technically, Laredo won that round, too.

We were glad we got out there.  We got everyone warm and dry and snuggled in a blanket, and we had some fun riding.

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