Saturday, June 16, 2012


It was with some relief I haltered Steen today and tacked him up. It's going to be an interesting challenge for me these next few months. Steen seems to be hitting some kind of stride lately. Every ride I think things are fantastic, and then the next ride they are better. It's a hard act for Laredo to follow.

There's also such a massive personality divide between the two. Steen is flighty and sensitive. Laredo is quiet and mellow. When Steen is unsure or scared of something, he snorts and fidgets and bolts. When Laredo is unsure or scared of something, he shrinks in on himself, holds still, and shuts down.

I'm way more used to dealing with Steen's personality type, which is all the more reason Laredo is a good choice for us. He'll challenge me to get to know a different kind of horse while simultaneously not being too much nervous energy for Brian to handle.

Today we rode in the outdoor arena, and things were pretty much awesome from the start. I mounted without groundwork today. I've decided I'm going to start doing this at intervals, just to see if/how it affects the ride. There was a new family out at the barn, with a little girl getting a lesson. After I mounted I sat on Steen for a few minutes and chatted with the parents. While we talked I worked on moving his feet all around. Steen's a total champ about moving his front around his hind lately. We did a series of 180's in both directions without him ever moving his hindquarters.

From there we went to whirly-gigs, which were incredible. Short serpentines were spot-on too. One of the reasons we rode in the outdoor arena was because they took the round-pen out of it, so I availed myself of the circle this left in the grass and did a lot of collected work at the trot.

Steen was soft and balanced and 100% with me.

So we moved into loping. I did some big circles, and he was feeling so balanced and correct I decided to try a smaller circle. That went really well too, so I pushed him smaller and smaller, and as the circle shrank, instead of leaning in and dumping forward, he leaned back, raised his withers and collected. The best circles came at a time that unfortunately Brian wasn't ready with the camera. We tried the same thing later, and while it didn't go quite as well, it was still pretty good:

I was also encouraged that while I was having a great ride on Steen, Brian was also having a good time with Laredo. Although they started out with a lot of the same problems I was having on Thursday, Brian did a much better job working through things than I did. It made me happy to seem them getting on so well. Because even if I blew it my last ride, I did help Brian learn an awful lot of what he knows. That counts for something, right?

Ride Time: 1:10
Horseback hours YTD: 68:30

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