Monday, May 09, 2011

Mostly Quiet

After our weekend off we were happy the thunderstorms that blew through earlier in the day had cleared up by the time Brian and I were both done with work. We headed out to the barn eager to see the boys.

But first we had to hang out with Whisper a bit. Since we're some of the most senior boarders around the place now, and Cathi knows and trusts us, we've been given special baby privileges. Mainly we're allowed to help socialize Whisper by going into the pen and petting him etc.. So this afternoon we won his momma over with a treat and then she was content to let me hang out and mess with the baby. Honestly I think she was glad for the relief. She never once started to seem like she thought I was taking things to far.

For Whisper's part, he was extremely curious and very mouthy, but that is to be expected of a 4-day-old, I suppose. He started off only letting me touch his nose, but after a while he was just hanging out while I put my hands all over his face, withers and even ears.

After hanging out with the baby for a while, we went out to fetch the boys. We found them both visibly chubbier, particularly Steen who really just looks like he put on about 100 pounds in two days. Luckily he's never shown any inclination to get too fat, so I'm not worried about it.

Steen was a bit distracted while we groomed and tacked, but once I reached the strip and I got on board he was much better than our last ride. He has really mastered the concept that he is allowed and even encouraged to stand still, and he loves hanging around doing nothing now. Even right after I mount, Brian mounts and then rides away on Bear, Steen is totally content to stay put.

This ride I tried to work on relaxing. I walked him for quite a while and he only tried to pick up the trot once. Our last ride was demanding and not highly positive, so I wanted to give him the chance to be calmer from the start today. After a fair bit of walking in various patterns, stopping, standing and backing, I asked for the trot. He picked up without hesitation but was then super erratic. He wanted to trot fast when we were heading towards the herd, and his turn away from where they were was sloppy and drawn out. Then he'd give me his ultra slow jog when we were going away from the herd. So I worked on trying to make his pace more consistent, and after about 10 minutes of trotting had achieved a more or less steady circle. Then we switched directions and had to do the whole thing again. Then I let him stand for a while and asked for the walk and, of course, he'd entered trot mode and that's all he wanted to do. I had to be very firm with him to get him to walk, but he only picked it up about three time before he left off trying.

I then put him through some walking exercises, first a figure eight in which I really got on him about letting his hind end trail in the turns. At first he was not happy about it when I used my leg to force him to bring his butt around in sync with his front, but after a few laps he was better. Then we worked on my leg-yielding on a diagonal up and down the strip. That was fun. He's definitely getting the concept and was really moving to the side with some energy a few times today.

But we were honestly all a bit tired, and it was windy and hot, so we only rode for 45 minutes. Still it's nice to have an easier, quieter day sometimes.

Horseback hours YTD: 21:30

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