Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mixing it Up

I hadn't been out to the barn in almost a week. There were a few factors involved in my absence. First, we were out of town all weekend and half of Monday. Second, I'm just really bummed about the whole saddle situation. Third, work came out of its early summer slump and I've got all sorts of projects to keep me busy.

But today it was time to get out there again. It was good to see Steen, but the moment I got on he started seeming restless and distracted. In my time off I've been thinking about how I need to find more ways to challenge Steen while I ride bareback, so today when he was seeming like he didn't want to focus on me, I started asking him to disengage his forequarters. I've done this tons from the ground, but never from his back. At first he didn't get it at all, but we worked on it over the course of the ride and he started to get it. We also did a lot of flexing and disengaging the hindquarters (two things he's  pretty good at).

The other thing I tried to hold onto was how comfortable I felt the last time I rode Steen (in Brian's saddle). And while a good saddle can certainly help you feel good on a horse, at the end of the day it's not the most important aspect of riding. Today I made a conscious effort to let go of the fear of falling that has been clinging to me since my hard tumble and concussion last year. I rode with one hand and let Steen neck-rein as much as possible. He appreciated this, and responded by being very soft for the majority of the ride. I also never reined him in when he started to trot fast. I just shifted into a posting trot and soon enough he realized he was just wasting his energy, and came back down to a sit-able pace.

When we weren't working on yields and disengages, we were trotting around, and I was making a point to keep him on his toes. I would weave around the strip quite a bit, never really settling into a pattern. This, of course, prevented him from anticipating what we were going to be doing, which had a positive impact on how much he paid attention.

All in all, it was a short but satisfying ride.

Horseback hours YTD: 36:00

2 comments:

  1. Hi thanks for checking out my blog. First of all I would like to say I love how your blog looks I haven’t seen a blog like it before and I really like it. Now on with the post not too long ago I had to go without my saddle while it was repaired, at first riding bareback was fun but after a bit I started longing for my saddle again, anyway I am glad you did have a nice ride. I was just wondering why have you not got a saddle is it broken? Sorry it’s just I am new to your blog so I don’t know. Now I must stop going on, I will be following your blog.
    Regards
    Edward

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  2. Hi Edward. Thanks for checking out my blog and for commenting on the design. I build websites for a living, so I can never resist having some fun with my own blogs. :)

    And the saddle story is just that my horse's saddle stopped fitting him some time last fall, and I spent most of the winter trying to decide what to replace it with. I eventually settled on a treeless saddle that I had to custom order. I waited for it for over three months. When it finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, I absolutely hated it. So now I've ordered a different (treed) saddle and am waiting for that to arrive. Bareback is great and I ride without a saddle plenty even when I have one. But I'll be really happy when I have a saddle that fits my horse again and I won't have to think about it so much anymore. :)

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