Saturday, April 02, 2011

Loping in the Bear Trap

Friday was a busy day, so we postponed Brian's lesson. And since we've decided to leave Bear alone for a few days, this morning Brian had his lesson on Steen.

Steen left the bale to meet us. He's been so good about coming lately. I'll be curious to see if it lasts once the herd is out on the grass.

I left Brian alone as he tacked Steen up. Steen was so comfortable in the bear trap on Wednesday we decided to use it on him again. I watered the arena while Brian groomed and tacked, then watched from the sidelines as Brian rode. I noticed immediately that is a lot harder for me not to micromanage Brian when he's riding Steen. I know Steen so well by this point and I know exactly how to respond to all his little quirks, it is just a little hard for me to watch someone else ride him. But he was in a very mellow mood and he was great for Brian. His stopping remained a bit sub-par and his trot was actually quite erratic, switching from all-out jog to extended trot in a heartbeat, but he was never upset or anxious and so I think it was good for both of them.

Brian rode for 40 minutes during which time Steen looked very comfortable in the saddle, so I decided to climb on. I've been needing to work on Steen's lope for a long time but suspecting my saddle pinches him a bit and sometimes causes him to crow-hop has kept me from feeling super keen to try it lately. But the bear trap is nice and secure and Steen was all warmed up and in a fabulous mood, so I climbed on and walked and trotted for a few minutes, then asked for the lope.

And boy did he surprise me. He moved willingly into a smooth, strong canter. He felt balanced, getting the right lead every time. He never accelerated and got anxious like he has so many times in the past, but he also only dropped out of the gait once. The bear trap is pretty comfy with a nice high cantle. I'm sure it helped that I felt balanced and secure myself. We only loped for maybe ten minutes, but it felt fabulous.

Afterwards I trotted Steen and then walked him to cool him down. During my whole ride Brian stood at the edge of the arena and snapped photos, so here it is, proof that I do ride:

Steen remembers he can lope.

Getting a little excited about loping.

Settling in.

Cooling down.

Proud of himself.

Steen sporting the bear trap.

Horseback Hours YTD: 8:30


  1. "I noticed immediately that is a lot harder for me not to micromanage Brian when he's riding Steen."

    --I totally know how this goes. It sometimes takes a lot of effort for me to just let Nate and Trekker work things out on their own. The balance of "helping" vs. "micromanaging" is difficult to maintain.

  2. Yeah, it is really tricky to be helpful but not incessantly critical when teaching in any situation, but watching someone else ride a horse you've trained has to be about the most difficult of all possible scenarios. :)


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