Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hitting the Hills

So far we've had a mild fall and Steen is still looking pretty darn good:

But we've started to supplement his diet with some chopped hay just to keep ahead of the curve.

The last couple of days Brian and I have continued our hill-hiking regimen.  Yesterday we were a bit disrupted initially because there was a massive (horse-eating) truck spreading something in the soybean field, so we had to relocate to a slightly different area than usual for warm-ups.  Steen and Bear were both a bit skeptical about this arrangement right at first, but Steen actually settled in quite quickly, with Bear remaining just a tad worked up which mostly reflected in his unwillingness to stand.  But Bear and Brian worked through the ansties while Steen was putting in more jogging time, and by the time the (horse-eating) truck was done in the field, the boys were pretty calm.

We decided to walk them up and down the strip a few times, which includes a fairly steep hill at the bottom.  Steen was relaxed and willing, and I do think we've already seen improvement in Bear's downhill motion.

Today we headed out again and this time warmed up on the strip.  Steen was great.  Soft.  Willing.  Relaxed.  Bear was also quite good from the start.  After circles and figure-eights from both horses and some more jogging for Steen we did a few laps around the soybean field, then returned to the hilly part of the strip.

Out in the soybean field, Steen had a pretty awesome moment.  We were crossing this sort of low overgrown area in the field.  There are big trees to the left and the wind really blows through sometimes, making lots of noise.  It's the same spot where Steen spooked a couple weeks ago.  Well, today Steen was crossing through the weedy area and he almost spooked.  I say almost because he sort of startled, then barely popped up onto his hind end and pivoted away from whatever scared him, but then he thought better of it.  I could see the little thought in his brain, going, "Oh right, it's nothing."  He dropped back to a walk and kept going.  I was so proud of him.

Bear also had one little moment of breaking into a trot in a semi-spooky way, but Brian had no trouble handling it.  He even says such little moments are good for his seat.  :)

Of course the melancholy end to the day was saying good-bye to Schooley.  He will be sorely missed.

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