Saturday, May 4, 2013

Taking it Easy

We had another big, cold rain storm come through.  Robin was nice enough to run out to the barn Thursday night to blanket the guys and let me get a workout in.  Things were still wet on Friday, and we didn't have much end of the week motivation.

But today we got up in the morning and went out to the barn early. It was still cold and wet, but we were happy to be out there.

I decided to ride Bear again just to keep checking him out.  We rode inside, and I had no intentions of working on anything fast.  Our arena has some kind of mixture in the sand that soaks up moisture and keeps the dust down.  We had a new treatment not that long ago, but with the new storm, the sand was holding a lot of water.  So Bear and I spent a long time warming up by just walking through the puddles and mixing them into the sand.  It was kind of fun, actually.

From there we did a lot of bending.  Like the other days, he was much stiffer going left than right.  Often he would move his feet when I asked him to flex to the left, and other times he wouldn't move his feet at all when that is what I wanted.  We worked on both of those things a ton, and they did get better.  But even still, at the end of the ride the left side was lagging behind the right side.

I didn't want to aggravate him too much with me making the decisions of where his head should go, so we started walking some circles and just trying to get a nice, even bend.  This was going so well I put the reins down.  From there I decided to make each circle smaller than the previous one and just really take my time encouraging Bear into tighter and tighter bends.  All without reins.

I was surprised with how small of a circle we could get in each direction.  He was bending nicely and reaching evenly with all four feet.  It was some of the best no hands riding we've ever done.  I never picked up on the reins once, and he was very soft to me encouraging more bend or keeping him from collapsing too soon.  I think he enjoyed it as much as I did.

By this time we had been riding for a while, and I was running out of slow things to work on.  Robin was having a good ride on Laredo, and she suggested we just switch.  We hopped off, pulled our saddles and jumped on the other horse.  It took about 90 seconds, and I don't know why we don't do this more often.

I had fun watching Robin and Bear.  They don't ride together very much, and it is rare I get to see the expressions on Bear's face while he's working.  They both looked rather cute.

Laredo was good, and had nice energy, but he was also touchier than I've ever felt him.  He was moving out a lot, but he was going back and forth between being too responsive off my leg or dull to my leg.  I can only think he was so attuned to Robin that my riding style and leg placement was jarring to him. 

Over the next half hour we were able to work through it.  We got some nice trotting and loping in, and we also worked on the same circle exercise, but I needed my hands with Laredo. 

By the end I think he was enjoying working with me.  Over the past year it has been funny working with him.  We often try so hard to keep him interested in what we're doing.  All of a sudden he is just a whole lot more into it.  I'm not sure if it is a maturity thing, and improvement in our riding, or what, but I do like it.  And I hope the trend continues.

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