Monday, September 20, 2010

More Strip Time

This afternoon I should have been working.  My "to do" list is so long I can't see the end of it.  But when Brian called and told me he was going to stop off to see Bear on his way home from work, I couldn't resist.  I met him out there.

For once Steen was up near the barn and I didn't have to hike out to get him.  This was particularly nice since my foot is still having issues and walking doesn't help.  We all tacked up and retired to the strip and I worked mostly on walking with Steen, with some trotted figure eights and circles thrown in towards the end.  He was mostly good, though excitable at times.  I had the super soft, fat, hollow-mouth snaffle on him because Brian was using the more solid, thinner snaffle on Bear.  The funny thing about Steen lately is he's so unbelievably soft in the mouth but will do funny things, like start to trot then tuck his head as if I'm reining him in and then continue at a compact, lofty prance even though the reins are loose.  He'll also respond to a touch on the neck as if I've just yanked him around by the mouth.  Sometimes I'm not quite sure what to do with his ultra-sensitivity.  Most of the time I just give him his head and tell him he's being silly and then he relaxes.

Today my main focus was keeping my weight off my foot, so I was trying to ride with a very relaxed lower leg.  At certain points Steen was really responsive and tuned in, willing to respond to just my lightest cues even when working in the figure eight (which isn't his favorite thing).  Other times he'd sort of spin out and try to make a break back towards the barn, but even at these moments I never had trouble bringing him back on line.

So, it's always interesting.  I achieved some pretty awesome circles and figure eights today, and Steen has also finally (hopefully permanently) learned to stand and relax between exercises.  When I got off he leaned his head up against my torso and took a huge, long, deep breath - then dropped his head and sighed.  If nothing else, I sure do love him and I think he loves me back.

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