Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Dun Rusty

Today we decided it was high time to get back on Laredo. Sure, we still have some ear stuff to work through, but our few intense sessions had a big impact. Lately it almost seems like his reaction to stuff around his head is more of a habit than a real issue. He "forgets" to react more and more, and when he does object to our touches its in a pretty mild way.

On the way out to the barn we were trying to decide who each of us should ride. This can be a surprisingly tricky question at times, but finally we concluded Bear needs to get back in shape and Laredo needs to get his education going in earnest. So that decided things.

I didn't have any trouble getting the bridle on via the method of unbuckling it and rebuckling it like a halter. I got on in the indoor at first, but it was hot and dusty in there and Laredo felt quite fine. After a few minutes of walking around, I got back off and we went out to the strip.

We definitely lost some softness in our time off. Starting out asking for flexes there were some pretty long periods of time where I just sat holding pressure on the bit.

He's such a mellow character. His default response to confusion or uncertainty is to just slow down. This can make for some pretty sluggish moments.

It's interesting riding a horse that genuinely hasn't learned to give to the bit. It's easy for me to see the faults in Steen, but seriously there is nothing like getting on an uneducated youngster to make me realize how much Steen knows and how good he is at most of what we do. With Laredo, you have to be careful not to pull too hard, because too much pressure just makes him lean. Of course I was trying to keep things light anyway, but once or twice when he was rooting I tried to fix the problem by increasing my pull. Yeah. That doesn't work at all.

The ride had several phases. At first I felt like I was riding a horse that was asleep or didn't have a brain. We moved from there into more mediocre territory, managing to walk around and more or less go where I indicated. We worked on short serpentines and those were horrible. We did some one-reins stops and disengaging the hindquarters, which were surprisingly awesome.

Once or twice Laredo got a little annoyed with me, and that was actually kind of nice. He started walking faster and the extra energy gave me something to work with. Since I spend so much time riding Steen, who never has any shortage of energy, I sometimes don't relate very well to the problem of bringing the life up in the horse. I think Laredo is going to educate me on that point.

We had a few periods where things switched over into going well. I started using my legs more (and by more, I mean using them with more force than I do on Steen) and that seemed to wake him up and help direct him a bit. As he woke up to my legs, he softened to the bit and for a while he was flexing and softening at the poll really nicely.

The other great thing is his feet seemed much much better today. His toes are getting longer, and his sole is wearing down a bit which is getting it off the ground a little. He's completely fine at the walk now. I trotted him on the mecate after the ride and he only took a few steps that looked a little off. Hopefully a few trims from now the tender tootsies will be behind us.

I rode for an hour, and although it was a lot of work for both of us, I think we got a lot accomplished. Oddly, he's not at all bothered if you touch him on the head and ears when you're on his back.

Also, the massive pasture is working its magic on him. He's turning into a bit of a chunker.

After the ride, he was super latched onto me. He was soft leading back in, and even when I got him back out to the pasture and took his halter off, all he did was follow me around until I left.

He's such a kid. It cracks me up.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 61:15

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