Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good Booties

I had two things on my mind as I started my ride today. One, I wanted to lope enough to see how Steen's new booties affect his ability to relax at that gait. Two, I wanted to keep my booty in the saddle -- no bouncing at the lope. Not even a little. I've been riding for over 20 years at this point. I should be able to sit a horse.

Brian rode without me yesterday, and borrowed my hackamore. He used it again today. So I also wanted to watch him and Bear and take some photos of them as well.

We started off slow, starting on the ground with backing off the slobber strap and moving individual feet. Once mounted I worked more on the three steps forward, three steps back exercise I tried our last ride. That worked very well and Steen immediately started collecting and backing off my seat alone. Brian got a photo of the same thing a little later.

Here Steen is collecting and moving backwards on a loose rein.

We moved from there into some trotting exercises, and they went well. Again I was super focused on riding with my weight on my butt and using my legs and my seat and not my hands. I know I have blogged about these concepts before, and they certainly aren't revolutionary ideas for me, but today something felt different. I think I was just doing a better job, and Steen responded by listening to my body really well.

We walked and trotted for a while, then moved into the lope. At first Steen got the wrong lead going left again, but only once. After that we changed directions frequently and he had no more trouble. He kicked himself twice, but I could feel his boots absorb the bulk of the impact. The first time he stalled just a tad when he did it. The second time he didn't even break stride. So that is a big improvement as always before the kicks have led to stumbles and some emotional upheaval.

I was disappointed to see a few shots on the camera in which I was leaning forward. But I never saw any air between my tush and the seat, so that is something.

And my efforts were not in vain. Today Steen stopped several times from the lope with no pressure on the reins at all. That's huge for us, considering all the stopping issues we've had over the years.

We also had some slightly discombobulated stops that did involve pressure on the reins.

In spite of the overall speed increase, the boots stayed in place. I think they are a few shades of grime away from blending in quite well.

Brian and Bear had a good ride, but it wasn't quite as magical as yesterday's. Still, Bear looks pretty darn good in the hackamore. We might have to get him his own.

In other news, my husband has logged almost 5 more hours of saddle time than I have this year. I need to hit the barn on my own a few times or I'm going to be left in the dust.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 35:40

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