Sunday, April 22, 2012

Circles and Lead Changes

We got more rain in the night, and we headed for the barn in the cool temps of morning. The herd was frisky. Every now and then we head out into the pasture and they use our presence as an excuse to gallop off somewhere else. That happened today, but they always run to the winter lot, which is where we have to go back to anyway, so it doesn't particularly matter. It's always fun watching the stampede. Before they took off, Brian got this fun shot of Steen and Bear at the back of the pasture.

We rode indoors again. My main goal was to work on circles at all gaits. I never thought I'd say this, but Steen is on the chunky side lately, so I also wanted to lope a fair bit in hopes of helping him burn a few calories.

It was a good ride. Mostly we continued to work on all the stuff we normally work on. Steen was a little sluggish, but this made for some nice loping. We loped in a smallish circle for quite a while, and I managed to keep the circles almost the same size and a bend in his body most of the time, so was quite pleased with that.

Late in the ride, we worked on lead changes. After a few times bringing him down to the trot for a few strides, then picking up the lope again, I just started collecting him as we approached the point in the middle where we were switching. Of course when we'd get there I'd switch my legs and ask for the other lead. A number of times he'd trot on his own and then we'd pick up the other lead. But at the very end of the ride he gave me a genuine flying lead change. I wasn't really asking for it, but it felt very natural and balanced and neat. Steen was proud of himself.

It was a fairly long, demanding ride, and everything just went well. When I hopped off, Brian was working with Bear and a cone. Steen was happy not to have to participate.

Ride Time: 1:30
Horseback hours YTD: 44:30

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