Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Two Summer Rides

I have actually been getting out to the barn more than I've been blogging about getting out to the barn, but still not as much as I'd like. Last week I decided to saddle Steen up and take him outdoors for the first time in a long while. The results were a tad disappointing. I know I've been lazy with enforcing manners lately, and that Steen hasn't had consistent work for a while. I know our relationship has swung back a little too far to the buddy-buddy side of things, but I had higher hopes for having some fun out and about anyway.

That said, Steen wasn't bad. He just wasn't good either. He never spooked or bolted or even shook his head or fought the bit or did any of the things he does when he lapses into what I consider his truly "bad" behavior. What he did do was try to go home. A lot. It seemed like every few steps I had to pull his head back in the direction I wanted to go.

I know the reason Steen wanted to go home was because he hadn't been out and about for a long time, and I know the only way to get him over this particular hurdle is to take him out enough to get him to the point that he is comfortable leaving. Still, for some reason his turning around really got to me that day. I got off and did some groundwork with him, and he was very keyed up and energetic on the mecate. I got back on and did a lot of trotting in straight lines with light contact on the bit. He was better doing that, perhaps because we had a goal. Sometimes I think that is what gets to Steen about our the wandering route we take when we leave the barn. We don't have a pattern and we don't have a particular destination, we just sort of meander around all these different areas and I don't think he can see the sense in it.

At any rate, by the end of the ride we were both tired:

My foot was hurting and somehow the low points of the ride impacted me on a more emotional level than usual. We left town for the weekend, and in the end I didn't go back for several days.

I finally went out again today and decided to ride indoors and bareback again, and work on all the things I've been neglecting. Like circle work and flexing and stopping and standing (all things Steen was not doing at all during our outdoor ride). Things went better indoors, as they always do. He responded well to the circling, as he always does. I've noted before how bending him around a leg seems to both relax him and engage his mind. So, I don't know how I got out of the habit of reinforcing all this stuff, but I feel better after today. After just half an hour of work at the walk and trot he had suppled up a good deal and was more engaged with me than his surroundings. I just need to keep in mind that training a horse is really a life-long process, and at two years in with Steen, I could be doing a lot worse.

1 comment:

  1. Steen is quite different from Tranikla. Tranikla tends to get bored in the arena, and likes to get out and wander around even if there's no specific goal. Trekker, on the other hand, likes to stick with what he's comfortable with, although he'll follow Tranikla out without a problem.

    Good to hear your second ride felt better. Sometimes it's important to look at how far you've come, to keep things in perspective. :)


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