Friday, October 21, 2011

Temporary Reprieve

Today we rode on the strip for the first time in ages. It was nice out - sunny and 60. It felt great after our last uncomfortable ride. Steen was awesome. He's always his calmest when he's slightly too warm, and although he was stiff on the slobber strap in the beginning he softened right up with a few minutes of groundwork and was great the whole ride. I spent a lot of time working on steering at the walk and trot with minimal use of the reins. He's definitely understanding how to listen to my legs with more precision, and that more pressure on the outside forehand means turns sharper, not go faster, so I was able to really vary my circles without much use of my hands. We also spent a long time continuing to work on disengaging the hindquarters without the reins, and made a lot of progress. By the end of the day I could sit with my hands on the pommel, pick up a leg and touch him back on the belly with my heel and he'd just step under behind and go back to standing. I never thought this sort of precision training could be so fun, but somehow it is.

The other thing I noticed yesterday is Steen is stepping out a lot more with his front-end at the trot, particularly through turns. I think it's all the work we've been doing with the short-serpentines to get him to carry his weight on his hindquarters more and this leaves him free to reach through in front in a much more balanced way.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 84:35

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