Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Early Morning Heat

The heat has been so oppressive, we decided the only way we were going to get a ride in was to adjust. So on Wednesday, we moved our schedules around to free up time in the morning, and out we went.

We found Laredo has a fairly large chip in one of his front feet. (You'd have thought he was the one that spend 45 minutes on gravel a few days before.) I don't think it's anything to be concerned about. I am sure he's still adjusting to the new angle of his feet since we got his long toes trimmed down. He's got a similar crack starting in the other hoof. He wasn't sore on it and his sole is intact and in good shape, so we concluded light riding is probably ok.

But geez it was hot. We rode in the outdoor arena for a change of pace, but the sun was unrelenting and it was humid besides. We started out well though. Laredo has really hit a phase where he's learning fast. It's neat to feel. We walked around, did circles and figure eights.

I had two sections of the ride that were particularly noteworthy. The first, I was working on moving his front end around his hind. I have noticed increasingly with Laredo he will give off featherlight pressure while he still might lean on a slightly more firm pull. So I was playing with how light I could pick up the reins and ask him to step over. Buck always says, "Ask so lightly you don't think it will work." And this is why. Sometimes it works. Laredo would collect and bring his front end over. At one point we got three consecutive steps around without him ever rocking forward.

Unfortunately we didn't get the best moments on camera. Here Laredo is trying to step over,
but he's not got enough weight on his haunches to really get it done well.

The other great part of the ride was riding the circle where the round-pen used to be. I was trying to use my legs to keep him in the circle, and leave my hands on the pommel except when I needed them for a correction. We got this going pretty well, then I started reversing through the middle in a yin-yang shape, picking up light pressure and asking for a bit of collection while I did this. Again I was surprised at how Laredo would rise off the bit and roll onto his haunches, freeing up his front end to move lightly through the turns.

Of course, we had plenty of more mediocre moments in between these magical ones. And we spent a fair bit of time standing in the sun watching Brian on Bear.

As Brian pointed out, it's funny how goofy and teenaged Laredo looks in this shot, but his noble
and striking his shadow is.

After about 45 minutes, I started to feel Laredo shut down mentally. I pushed it for a few minutes longer, but I could tell he was hot and fatigued and I should quit while I was ahead. I hopped off and stood with him a while, working on getting him to lower his head and accept touches to the ears. He's much better about his head these days. Both Brian and I are now in the habit of slipping the bridle off without unbuckling it. But he still gets upset if you try to handle his ears. He was tired and relaxed, though, and I got some good touching in with minimal reactions. So I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we can slip the bridle on the normal way.

We hosed both the horses down after the ride. Laredo is already a pro with the hose. He'll shove his face right into the stream and drink.

Also, larger kitten (fly mask included for scale):


Ride Time: 0:50
Horseback hours YTD: 82:15

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