Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Working the Strip

Today Brian and I headed out for our (soon to be) traditional Wednesday afternoon at the barn. The weather was again perfect. I had an easy start to the day when I found Steen up by the waterer, so I didn't even have to hike out to the pasture to get him.

The boys were good while we tacked them. Bear doesn't seem sore on his newly bare front feet, so that's a definite plus. We then adjourned to the grassy strip next to the pasture which has been recently mowed and now has the benefit of being wide and grassy and long with good footing. It's a good place for Brian and I to ride together while both doing our own thing.

Brian rode Bear in a snaffle again, and other than letting him mount up first and making sure there were no immediate meltdowns, I mostly left him to his own devices. My goal for today was to make Steen tired. He's been so so so full of energy lately, he's always raring to go. So I had him pick up a trot fairly quickly, and we did pseudo figure-eights around two large round bales for a long time. At first he was going really well - only a little excitable when heading towards the barn. Then we took a break and he stood quite well, but when we started again he was showing an inclination to prance and want to go fast on the way home.

Nevertheless, he's so light in the mouth these days it is amazing. Even when he's being "resistant" I pretty much only need to move my pinky fingers to turn him - so it's all relative, I suppose. I tried to work him in an S pattern and that didn't go over well at all - he got very frustrated and did a mini-pseudo crow-hop. So we went back to the more familiar circle territory.

After we'd been trotting for a good half hour, I started to lope away from the barn and trot back. His lope was collected but really, really vertical. I felt like we covered as much distance up and down as moving forward. But he seemed to be enjoying it, and would stop willingly when asked. And the thing he was doing today that was totally out of character was standing. He'd prance prance prance until I made him stop, then he'd drop his head and stand quietly for minutes at a time. Then when I asked him to move again it would be immediately back to the prance.

So, it was an interesting ride. I got a good workout but honestly I don't think Steen was particularly worn out by the end. Nevertheless I think it was a constructive day.

For the most part things went pretty well for Brian on Bear - except that Brian took another tumble. I was loping in the opposite direction when it happened, so didn't see, but you can get all the juicy details here.

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