Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wet Backs and Baths

We started our barn visit today with more baby time. I am rather astounded at how quickly Whisper is growing and becoming physically coordinated. He now spends a fair bit of time trying to get his mother to race around with him. I have yet to see him succeed, but he's pretty entertaining to watch when he's trying.

We pulled the boys from the pasture, and my first thought when I saw Bear was that he's looking lean. I guess all the loping has induced a metabolic shift, because he's really not carrying much a gut these days. He looks great, even though he's eating as much as he wants. This is very encouraging and makes me hopeful that he won't be likely to get tubby again as long as we can keep him in decent work.

Steen, on the other hand, is actually getting chunky. Certainly he's nowhere near becoming overweight, but he's really filling out in a way I've never seen before. I think consistent light work is encouraging him to really build up some bigger muscles in his legs and particularly his haunches. I'll be curious to see what happens once I get my new saddle and we start having some more demanding rides.

Today I was still bareback, and again I focused on working on riding the walk and trot very well and getting a lot of focus and cohesive movement from Steen. He was very good. We hardly had the butt trailing problem at all, and his trot was not nearly as inconsistent as it was yesterday. We worked on lots of legs yields, both at the walk and the trot, and precision in our circles. Of course we practiced a fair bit of standing, as well as backing and stopping. My latest strategy with Steen is if he stops nicely, I just let him stand. He stops slowly, I quietly make him back up six or seven paces.

Meanwhile, Brian had a mostly great ride on Bear that included lots of good loping to the left and some not great loping to the right. The strip is a little slanted, and Bear was not picking up right lead, so he was having a whole lot of trouble making it through the downhill turns when going right. Since he was being good in every other respect, we didn't push this. Probably the thing to do is build up that lead in the indoor a bit before asking him for it in more challenging situations.

It was a warm day, and Bear worked hard, getting quite sweaty. So afterwards we hosed them down a little. Bear enjoyed this. Steen had to be convinced, but once we got started he did well enough.

Now we're going to be out of town for a while, so the boys will get some well deserved time off.

Horseback hours YTD: 23:50

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