Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Lope

The weather forecast predicted rain in the afternoon, so I headed for the stable this morning. Naturally, it started raining when I was about a quarter of a mile away. Luckily, this doesn't matter since I can do everything I need to do inside, including riding, though I really hope to start using the outdoor arena soon.

Things definitely didn't go as well today as they have been as far as standing quietly goes. We had a very scary trip to the barn owing to the dog that is tied up by the door we usually go in and out of and the gigantic thoroughbred that is now pastured up against the barn. I'm not sure if those few minutes of stress were the whole cause of the problem or if the day off caused some back-sliding, but Steen was more inclined to pull his restless stunts today than he has been in a while. So, I spent quite a while intermittently grooming and then taking a break and leading him around the arena to help him remember his ground manners. Tacking up went fine. I skipped the bridle again and the ride today was a move in the right direction, even if the prevailing ground manners weren't. We went a little longer than we had before, lots more work at the trot. His stopping is really good now, so it's just going to be a question of dialing in his gaits and working on his response to my legs and the reins on his neck.

Towards the end, I had him lope twice and went around the arena a couple of times. He wasn't inclined to pick it up at first, but I think this is just because he hasn't done it much in so long. Once he was going, he moved nicely and even seemed to have some fun.

I spent an equal amount of time grooming him after the ride as before since he was more relaxed after the ride and I wanted to reinforce standing some more. I also trimmed his tail so it shouldn't drag in the mud so much now.

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