Sunday, October 09, 2011

Quite a Few Rides

The weather has been beautiful and we've been riding but not blogging.

Our favorite local photographers have me work on their website from time to time, and we decided to do an exchange of services instead of payment. They came out on Monday and hauled their multiple cameras and lenses and boom out into the pastures while Brian and I rode around and tried to look pretty. They were so good natured about tromping around avoiding horse manure. The whole shoot was a blast. It will be another week or two before they finish editing the pictures, but I can't wait to see them. Steen behaved himself as well as I could have hoped. He did get a bit fast at the lope a few times and he's still pretty braced up at the trot, but these are things we're working on so it can't be helped.
Ride Time: 1:00

Brian and I had a fantastic ride in the big pasture. We started out just by walking the fence-line, and Steen was relaxed and willing. We wandered around for a while, then decided to trot back and forth along the bottom of the pasture next to the drainage ditch. This went well on the way out, but Steen got over-excited on the way back and actually charged through the bit into a lope. I got him back under control with a one-rein stop and after that he settled. We went back and forth several more times and he got more relaxed with each repetition. Also, I can tell Steen's understanding of the soft feel is increasing. He's always fast to give it to me stopping and backing, and during this ride I began to get it at the walk as well.
Ride Time: 1:00

Dutch and Cathy were in town for a visit so we went out to the barn in the evening. Brian and I did a quick ride in the outdoor arena and it was fun. We've been taking the horses out and pushing the limits of their comfort zone a lot lately, and it was nice to see how quiet Steen was in more comfortable circumstances. We walked, trotted and loped around and he was smooth about everything.
Ride Time: 0:25

Cathy, Brian and I headed for the barn in the late morning. Cathy has been taking riding lessons for several years now, but had never had a chance to ride Bear. Given Bear's historical treatment of new people, we weren't entirely sure what to expect. We rode in the tree pasture since the trees make it kind of fun and varied for the horses, and it is quiet and pretty. I must admit I was pretty surprised at Bear's stellar behavior. He was awesome for Cathy, quiet but energetic, never getting grouchy like he always has before with people who aren't Brian. We rode around for a long time. At first we played follow the leader. Steen was in a very relaxed mood and the weather was perfect. It was an utterly pleasant ride.

After I rode around with Cathy for a while, Brian and I traded places on Steen. Brian hadn't ridden Steen in a long time and they've both changed quite a lot since the last time. Steen wasn't quite as settled with Brian on board, but he was still really good. It was fun to watch them scoot around the pasture. I don't often get the chance to watch my horse move.

After a while Brian had had enough so we switched again and Cathy and I rode around for a while longer. She often has short lessons, so it was fun for her to really just trot around and feel out a new horse. When we finally stopped, the boys were happy to park side by side and get some pets for their excellent behavior.

Cathy is still getting comfortable at the lope, so we took her to the indoor arena to try out that particular gait on Bear. He was pretty good for her, but he does have a tendency to sometimes throw in some sharp turns and dig in on the corners. (There are some indoor photos on Brian's blog.) She did well with it though, and got quite a few good circles out of him. Then I loped Steen around a bit too. He was awesome. So it was a nice outing. It always feels really bad when your horses don't behave well for other people, but on the flip-side it feels awesome when they do.

Ride Time: 0:45
Horseback hours YTD: 78:35

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