Sunday, May 13, 2012

Quick Study

Today it took about three minutes to catch Laredo. It's getting to the point that it's really not an issue. He walked away from me for a moment, then turned and stepped towards me and stopped. I walked up to him and started stroking his nose with the halter. He backed up for a little ways, stopped, and I slipped the halter on.

It was a beautiful day, and quite warm. We were not feeling very excited about the prospect of riding in the indoor arena, so we tried the outdoor arena. I did a little bit of groundwork before mounting, and at first Laredo was stiff to pressure on the bit, but he softened up quickly. He was also moving all his feet quite well when I asked for them.

I climbed on and after a few flexes we started walking around. I could tell immediately Brian made a lot of progress with him yesterday. Although he was slightly more distracted by the environment, he was giving to the bit much better in general and holding a nicer bend in his body through a higher percentage of turns.

Stopping and backing were also much improved. Sometimes I had to wait for quite a long time for a response to pressure on the bit, but more often he was giving me a soft feel without much trouble. My main focus of the day was to say soft. Last time I rode Laredo he was rooting and leaning on the bit a lot, which I'd never encountered before and wasn't sure how to handle. I ended up feeling like I pulled on him a lot more than I wanted to.

Brian got around the rooting problem by asking Laredo to walk in circles when he tried to drag his nose on the ground. To move, Laredo had to bring his head up. I employed this same trick today and it worked very well. I stayed focused on being as soft as possible at every moment. As a result there was almost no rooting or pulling today. This translated into him moving his feet better. It's amazing how much he's improved in just three rides. Also, he was significantly less touchy about his ears/head today. I got my hands pretty far up on his face and neck a number of times and he completely forgot to be worried about it.

I rode Laredo for about half an hour and in the meantime Brian rode Steen. When we were both done I took my saddle off Laredo and put it on Steen. Brian put Laredo back in the pasture and got Bear. I then rode Steen for another hour while Brian rode Bear.

Steen was awesome. It is so funny, switching directly from one horse to another.

Steen backing off very light pressure.

Steen was very soft today, and we moved through our normal stuff quite well. We got some more good loping in, and I worked on bending him into shorter circles. This was mostly pretty good, though he still gets stiff intermittently.

Brian and I worked on our trot/walk transition circle exercise. That was surprisingly mediocre. While the transitions themselves were great, Steen's circles left a lot to be desired. We'll have to work on this more.

But all in all it was a very satisfactory day at the barn. Having three horses is so far good in all the ways we'd hoped.

Also, tiny kitten:

Ride Time: Laredo - 0:30, Steen - 0:55
Horseback hours YTD: 53:45

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