Friday, January 30, 2009

Weathering the Winter

My barn average is definitely down the last few weeks. For one thing, I've been working a lot, and for another I've discovered that days where the high is less than 5 degrees, the trip just isn't worth it. Even going bareback doesn't help on such days. It is just too cold to be bearable, much less enjoyable.

Lately my rides have mainly been trying to focus on teaching Steen that getting ridden is no big deal. You would think he'd have figured this out by now, but he still is significantly more restless with a rider on his back than with a person standing next to him. Of course, I haven't used a saddle in months, so I am at least sure his restlessness isn't due to any fit issues. And while he is not bad, he just isn't genuinely relaxed either, and so I'm trying to do rides that mainly include non-demanding forms of walking, trotting and standing.

Of course, making any progress when only riding once a week is very difficult, but I do think I have seen some small improvements lately. He's getting better about the mounting block (which I've been using because he is scared of it, and I figure it's a good thing for him to be alright with, partially since Brian's mom likes to use one and she is likely to ride more in the future, and partially because it's just good to get him used to as many things as possible). My last ride he was also stopping faster than usual and showing a greatly increased willingness to stay standing still after stopping (he usually starts getting fidgety after around ten seconds).

So, in many ways he is still very rough around the edges, but at least we are seeming to make it through the winter so far without losing ground. That might be about the best I can hope for.

1 comment:

  1. I've found horses are often remarkably good at "bouncing back" after periods of no work. At least my guys usually are...could be an Arab thing.

    Not sure what exactly you do during your rides, but you may try making them really, really laid back. I mean like get on and just sit there and let the horse do what he wants laid back. Maybe without the bridle too, if you think Steen would be ok with that (or maybe I'm just getting more and more lazy about tack :) ).

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