Saturday, May 18, 2013

End of a Long Week

We've barely had Zoey a week.  It is kind of hard to imagine, as it seems like we've gotten to know her pretty well through the vet work and groundwork and riding.  It does help that she is a fairly easy horse to work with.  She has her anxieties and issues, but she is not dangerous and she is not overly reactive.

Still, it has been a tiring week.  We've changed our routine a bit and we've had to get out there a little extra to check on sick Bear and give Zoey her meds.  But when I got home from work yesterday afternoon, I knew I still wanted to go to the barn.

I decided to start with Laredo and just tool around on him while Robin worked with Zoey in the indoor.  It was a hot afternoon.  I thought the indoor would be relatively comfortable, but it wasn't getting any of the nice breeze.

Robin did some very thorough groundwork and had a nice ride, so I ended up riding Laredo longer than I anticipated, but we didn't ride hard.  Most of our ride was spent working on small things.  We've been walking rectangles a lot more, which involves side passing.  His side passes are quite good, but I do think it has had a negative effect on moving his hind end with legs but no hands.  Today I wanted to him to really feel and think about the subtle difference in my body between moving his hind end, side passing, moving the front end, and backing circles.  So we did all those over and over again in various order.

He was really good with all of it.  His energy levels were up almost the whole time despite the heat, and I really felt like I had tremendous control of his feet by the end of the ride.  This was good, because it was a rather busy afternoon.  Robin was working with Zoey, there was a lesson on a longe line, and another person was warming up getting ready for their lesson. But I never had to worry about Laredo as I knew I could take him anywhere I wanted at anytime. 

After that we switched things up for ride two.  I put Zoey back and tacked up Steen.  Robin would keep going on Laredo.  We went out to the strip and it was a really nice evening.  Steen was extremely relaxed with me.  He often is.  Until I get on.  Then we have to get used to one another again.

But not today.  I climbed on and he was thrilled to work with me.  We still had a to adjust to fit each other a little bit, but he didn't get bothered by it.  At all.  He just kept going where my body was telling him.  If it didn't feel right to me, I'd play around with my position or block him slightly with the hackamore and he would just keep hunting for the right place to be. 

Steen is so unbelievably light, and it makes it fun to kind of play with that lightness.  Robin was having fun watching me just collect him.

But then I could hold that and move his feet around forward, backward, left, and right and he never pushed against my hands. 

We also spent a few minutes loping some nice circles.  I had one spot in each direction where I got stuck.  I think I was missing a cue with my hip or dropping my shoulder.  But with how it happened, I know it was something I was doing.  Again, Steen was not bothered by this even though we got pretty close to the fence and went into the planted field once.  Oops. I didn't drill on it, I figured we'd come back to it again at some point.

So this was by far my best ride on Steen.  Not sure how it happened, but he is just feeling extremely different.  I think every couple of months we notice an improvement in our horses, but this new feeling in Steen is the most dramatic change we've ever felt.

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