Saturday, August 13, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

I've fallen rather behind on my blogging. I don't even have a good excuse. Steen's actually been extremely well-behaved lately, and I guess that makes my rides a bit less bloggable. :) But, to sum up:

8/6: We rode in the tree pasture again for the shade. Steen was great. We played follow-the-leader, changing positions every few minutes. Both Bear and Steen were good for this. We also worked on taking them around independently of each other. I had some really nice trotting on Steen, who was paying attention quite well and only got excited on a few occasions when he thought I was going to ask him to lope. We worked on the routine a bit too, and they did pretty well in the irregular space.
Ride Time: 0:40

8/7: Duke came out to give the boys a much-needed trim. Conditions must have been just right for hoof growth because everyone was long in the toe. Bran and I went out early and got our our horses groomed and tacked, then did a quick ride in the indoor arena. Steen was absolutely great. I can't actually quite believe how good he's been lately. He was mellow during grooming and tacking even though there was loads of commotion with all the horses coming in and out and getting their feet done. During the ride he went perfectly at all three gaits, willing to go, willing to stop. Never antsy. He was again so good for Duke when he got his trim that he got a compliment and extra pets.
Ride Time: 0:20

8/10: The weather finally broke and we've had multiple days in a row that don't include innervating heat and humidity! We took the boys to the second pasture, where there is ample room to ride and good footing, plus a bit of varied terrain. Steen took the new venue in stride. I'd never actually ridden him in the second pasture in the new saddle, but he was happy to walk the perimeter without getting spooky and also quite willing to trot or lope in circles.

Steen is finally "getting" the lope. He can still get pretty springy going into it, but after a circle or two he calms right down. This ride in particular he just relaxed. I was able to give him his head and steer him with my legs, varying the size and shape of our circle without trouble. He's also gotten sooo much better with downward transitions, and I had him walking quietly within seconds of asking him to drop the lope. This ride was without a doubt one of my best ever Steen. The only bummer was Brian's ride wasn't as good as mine.
Ride Time: 0:45

8/11: Another ride in the second pasture. I was hoping for another great ride and got exactly that. Steen was good, and I transitioned between all three gaits several times. He is getting so much better at understanding that we can go fast, then go slow, then go fast again and it's not a big deal. He also feels fit and balanced lately. I think he's just comfortable in the new saddle, and it is helping him use his body more correctly. I worked on trotting him up and down some of the grades in the pasture and instead of charging ahead and gaining momentum he stayed in a nice balanced gait and paid attention to where he was putting his feet. Unbelievable!

But it seems we are destined to have only one awesome horse at a time. Bear was not great for Brian, even throwing in something when picking up the lope that was close enough to a buck to be taken seriously. I'm thinking the weeks of less consistent work got Bear used to doing his own thing again. Other than the mini-buck, he wasn't doing anything horrible, but he's just back to being a bit stiff and resistant. Not ideal.
Ride Time: 0:50

Horseback hours YTD: 51:45

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