Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lotsa Lope

We had another beautiful day today. It feels so good to go out and spend some time in the sun. The boys were ultra relaxed during grooming, and the footing on the strip was much better.

I started out with loping figure-eights pretty early and my first session of this was fantastic. Almost every loop around Steen picked up the lope on the same stride I asked, and when it came to switching leads, we got it after one beat of trotting. Then we took a little breather and we did it again in the other direction, and that didn't go quite as well. Steen was a lot more jazzed up and not as keen to come out of the lope. He gave me another half flying lead change, though, so that was at least a try. I kept him at it until we got a decent simple change.

After that Brian and I switched to working on the routine. We did one circuit at the trot, but after that we switched to throwing in some loping on the straightaways. Well, that was the plan anyway. Steen was not so keen on coming down from the lope and we ended up loping through the turn more than once. On the third try, though, we managed to gets our gaits more or less correctly. And even the mistakes were fun.

From there we worked on trotting for a while and I tried to work on lope/trot transitions (as we clearly need some help with those) but Steen was having trouble with this. Something about trotting seems to turn off his brain, so working between the lope and the trot can push him into unthinking mode. At one point he kind of took off on me when I asked for the lope, trying to chase Brian and Bear down the strip. I got him under control easily enough, but then switched to working on quiet walk to lope transitions and back. That went much better and we got a couple good ones.

We wrapped up the ride with an amble down to the bottom of the strip and back up. Steen was more than willing to walk quietly the entire time. He was a bit sweaty and tired after the ride, and I think we got some good work done. I'm excited that we are now able to actually work at the lope, and accomplish things and have fun at the same time. It feels like it has been a long time coming.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 15:20

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