Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Ride and a Trim

Today was Duke Day, and though we often end up not riding on days the farrier comes, the weather was so beautiful we didn't want to miss the opportunity. Also, Brian thought Bear might have an easier time with his feet if he was nice and limber after a light ride, so we headed out earlier than usual, tacked up and headed to the strip.

A thorough examination of Steen's back again yielded no evidence of soreness, but he did move a little when I got on. I corrected him and he then stood quietly for quite a few minutes. My goal for today was to keep things calm. Our last number of rides have been very fast and demanding, so today I started out just walking straight lines up and down the fence-line. Steen was pretty relaxed, and though he did try to pick up the trot once, he immediately dropped it when I corrected him and then didn't try again. After a few walks up and down, I asked for the trot. He picked it up without hesitation, but was clearly wondering whether or not I was going to ask him to run again. He was trotting in this kind of funny, upright way, like he was keeping as much weight of his front end as possible so he'd be ready to move into the lope the moment I asked.

So, I kept trotting him until he relaxed and stopped thinking so much about going faster. I spent a lot of time thinking about keeping my seat soft and deep, my shoulders relaxed and my breathing steady. For the most part Steen stayed mellow, though every time we got towards the lower part of the strip and turned back to the barn he would accelerate for a moment.

Then I started to feel like the saddle was riding a bit low and far back. I hopped off, and by that point we'd been riding long enough that we thought our turn with the farrier might be coming up. Brian had accomplished his ride goals, so I adjusted the saddle and we all went back inside. In the indoor arena, I remounted.

Indoors Steen was definitely thinking about loping, but I just made him trot around until he was dropping his head and relaxing. Then I called it a day. I groomed him and he was so mellow by the time Duke gave him a trim, it was almost comical. Steen is always great for the farrier, but today he was perfect. Duke complimented him for his behavior. Bear had a much easier time than usual, too, so perhaps we'll try to make this a habit.

Horseback hours YTD: 40:00

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