Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to Bareback

Brian and I were both feeling a bit banged up today. I stupidly fell down the stairs in our house, and he's dealing with the aftermath of tumbling off his horse. So, today we decided to take it easy and just do a low-key indoor ride. Then when we got to the barn and realized we'd forgotten to bring Bear's bridle back (we'd taken it home for a better rein-repair job) we were definitely limited in our options.

One of the less ideal things about Bear is that he's been trained and ridden to go in a tom-thumb. My opinions on bits have got narrower over the years, and I pretty much feel most horses should be ridden in a snaffle unless they are thoroughly trained and can go in a curb. We did test out the snaffle on Bear during our second test ride, and he was definitely confused by it, so we decided to get a tom-thumb to use with him for the time being, with plans to down-grade to a snaffle this winter after he's more comfortable with us and vice versa.

But today it was either ride Bear in a snaffle or not ride at all, so we opted to give it a shot. And since Brian has a sore foot we figured we'd dispense with the saddle as well.

Bear accepted the strange bit with his usual good humor. Brian did some flexing exercises from the ground and those went well, so Brian mounted and asked for some more flexes once mounted. Bear was less keen on these, but acquiesced. The ride that followed was quite good, from what I could tell from my spot on Steen's (bare) back. Bear softened up considerably during the course of the ride, and though he had intermittent moments of resistance, nothing cropped up that Brian couldn't easily handle.

Steen, meanwhile, was in perfect mode. Turning, stopping, standing. Hanging out with us afterwards:

We've had Bear for two weeks now, and I couldn't be happier with him. He keeps getting friendlier. He was obviously happy to see Brian when we arrived today after a couple of days off, and after just half an hour working in a snaffle Brian had him stopping, flexing, backing and bending around his leg. Very good signs. So we've got another awesome Friday afternoon at the barn to add to the books. We celebrated with a Coors in the lounge, and headed home.

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