Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Working the Trot

I am definitely getting impatient for my new saddle. Granted, I can lope bareback and I have done so a whole lot over the course of my life, but Steen is still far from great at the lope and what he needs is to have a quiet, balanced rider while he gets used to it again. When I'm bareback and he's loping I am not at my most graceful. When he turns in unexpected directions I inevitably do something sloppy.

For now I'm trying to just bide my time and be content at the walk and trot. The problem is, Steen's trot is pretty placid these days and I think we both get a little bored just jogging around familiar territory.

So, today I decided to try to be a bit more creative with what I'm asking Steen to do. I figured instead of making him walk in a straight line, I'd try to make him yield to me laterally, so that we moved in a diagonal from one side of the strip to the other.

I perhaps got a bit ahead of myself and started asking for this at the trot first. Steen was willing to try, but ultimately got confused. I brought him back to a walk and we did our normal thing for a while, then I started asking for the yield with one leg, keeping him from turning with light contact from the bit and a little touch on his neck from the outside rein. Almost immediately he just started yielding to my cue, so he was moving forwards and sideways at the same time, executing this lovely little diagonal shift. We did it a few times at a walk and then I asked for it again at the trot. Before I knew it he was just zig-zagging happily up and down the strip. He was even collecting, flexing at the poll, and stopping on a dime.

Anyway, it was really fun. We shifted between doing our normal stuff, working on this new concept and standing around watching Brian lope around on Bear. Then at the end Brian and I did a little pattern around the cones, making our horses walk, trot, turn, and stop at the same time. Good fun.

We capped off the day by walking up and down most of the strip. Both Bear and Steen were more than willing to amble along quietly, neither one attempting to do anything but go where we pointed them. It was an awesome ride.

Horseback hours YTD: 19:45

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