Saturday, November 05, 2011

Long Saturday Ride

We rode on the strip again today. It was windy and chilly and Steen was a bit restless during grooming, tacking, and even walking outside. I was initially afraid he was going to be spooky. I started out with a bit of groundwork as usual, and today he really wasn't interested in moving off the slobber strap when I asked him to back, so like yesterday I just waited. He tried to look over at something by the machine shed and then to where Brian was with Bear and then finally he sighed and tucked his head and took a step back.

After that he was great. For the majority of the ride he was as good as yesterday, and I rode one-handed for quite a while at the walk and trot, trying to involve my hands as little as possible. That went quite well and he was surprisingly responsive to the rein on his neck considering I've been mostly two-handing since the clinic.

Our only hiccup was when I started to to try introduce this exercise that is difficult to explain, but basically involve walking along, then bringing the horse's nose around so they step under and turn 180 degrees, then bringing the forehand around so they pivot on their hindquarters and end up going to same way they were initially. It's tricky to get both disengages at the right moment and Steen can get upset when I dwell too much on complex tasks he doesn't fully understand. Since I'm still learning how to ask for this particular exercise, it's no wonder he got confused. To add the final straw, I decided to work on this a ways down the strip, just a tad outside of his usual comfort zone. After a few minutes of him spinning out in various directions with little understanding of what I was trying to do, we headed back up to where Brian was riding Bear. Steen wanted to trot back so I decided to focus on things he knows a bit better. We did figure eights until he wasn't turning more sharply towards home than away and then we went back.

We did another little lope, too, and while it wasn't quite as good as yesterday it was definitely good. I threw in a couple extra transitions. There is no denying his downwards transitions still need work, but at least I can say they are getting better.

Ride Time: 1:20
Horseback hours YTD: 89:25

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