Monday, January 16, 2012

Borrowing My Husband's Horse

We went again to the barn on Saturday. Steen's cut looked good, but the swelling above the ankle was back just a tad. Not enough to be alarming, but enough to convince me not to ride him. I brought him in and groomed him and gave him a snack, then put him back outside.

While I was doing this, Brian was riding Bear. When I got back from letting Steen loose, he offered me a ride.

I really haven't ridden Bear very much, and when I have it has usually been because we're trying to determine if some odd behavior is due to discomfort or just butt-headedness. In the last few months, though, Bear's butt-head moments are down considerably. He's behaved like a gentleman for a couple of unfamiliar riders, and I can't actually remember the last time Brian needed help handling him. Brian's also been doing a lot of work on getting him softer and more responsive to light cues, and while I can see Bear's progress I hadn't actually felt it.

So Brian rode for about half an hour and then we switched places. Brian had already done a fair bit of loping and trotting and I was physically quite tired from a long cross-country ski that morning, so I wasn't inclined to push things. Bear was also not super excited to learn his ride was not over. He didn't want to go at first and I had to administer some kicks, but once he got moving he went very nicely. Until I asked for the trot, which he didn't want to give me at all. After a couple kicks I just gave up and gave him a pop on the butt with the end of the mecate.

After that he stopped being so grouchy about going and treated me to a pretty great ride. He is both more fit and more attentive than when I last rode him. When I asked him for a lope he picked it right up and moved out smoothly. His lope is a lot more compact and controlled than Steen's, and it was interesting to feel the difference.

At any rate, it was a very fun little ride and it was good to spend some time on a horse. So far my year is off to a definitively pathetic start as far as riding goes. But oh well. We got a lot of bonus hours in December so I suppose I can't complain.

Ride Time: 0:15
Horseback hours YTD: 0:35

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