Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Going Good

I wanted to do a hard, fast ride. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and Steen is chubby. When he's well-fed and warm is when he's at his most mellow. It was a good opportunity to work on encouraging him to move out but retain the ability to think.

I've been having issues with saddle fit again. A few weeks ago when I started introducing a lot of loping and stopping from the lope, my pad started to work its way backwards and out from under my saddle over the course of my ride. This is not great for any number of reasons. My old pad was getting a bit beaten down anyway, so I thought I'd try a different style before I went to the extreme of saddle shopping again. This is the pad I ended up buying:

Right away I could tell the saddle sits better on Steen with the new pad. I rode a few times without the ThinLine and everything stayed put. Today I put the ThinLine on again, just to see how that changed things.

After a quick warm-up, we moved into loping. When I lope Steen in a straight line (particularly if we're going away from the barn) he sometimes veers just a little from one side to the other. Today I worked on keeping my calves resting on his sides, and blocking these veers with my legs. It didn't take long before he was giving me a straight run down the strip.

I feel like something has gelled for me in the last few weeks. Moving seriously into the hackmore feels like starting fresh in some respects, and Steen and I seem to have left some of our baggage behind. I'm not spending much time worrying about what might go wrong anymore. Pointing him at a long, open expanse of grass and telling him to run feels awesome, because I know his attention will stay with me.

In spite of our all our work at high speeds, our stops were great today. We loped a lot and we trotted fast a lot, but every time I asked for a stop, Steen nailed it. Once he stopped so hard from the lope I popped up out of the saddle and fell way forward onto his neck. Then I was laughing so hard I could barely sit up again. That hasn't happened to me on Steen ever. So after that I prepared my seat a little better before saying "whoa."

Not long into the ride I noticed my pad had started migrating again. I stopped and removed the ThinLine, then got back on. No more slipping happened, though we did a lot more loping and stopping.

At the end I put my hands on my pommel and worked on figure eights at the walk with my legs only. This was tricky. I try not to use my hands much, but it is surprising how removing them entirely does change the equation. When I'd give Steen bumps with my feet to get him to bring his shoulder over, he'd start walking faster and I could practically hear his internal dialogue: "It doesn't mean faster. I know it's not trot. So what does she want?"

We made some good progress. I got a couple laps without needing my hands to correct more than once or twice, and we called it a day.

When I pulled Steen's saddle, he had an even sweat pattern. So that's good. It might not last, but for now hopefully the issue is resolved.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 45:30

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Archives


Popular Posts