Saturday, July 07, 2012

Good Obstacles

Today we rode in the tree lot again for the shade. This was my first time on Laredo out there, and things went very well. Laredo seems to be finally accepting the bit. His rooting habit is almost gone, and he's moving off pressure instead of leaning into it. He's also walking out with a lot more confidence, and when he's not sure about something he makes an effort to figure it out instead of just getting frustrated and shutting down.

We started out with simple walking exercises. Laredo is a laid back horse, and he was perfectly willing to go explore areas of the pasture he'd never seen, even when Brian and Bear were nowhere nearby. He was stopping quite quickly today, which is a nice change, and several times we even managed several consecutive backwards steps without any leaning on the bit.

The best part of the ride was near the end. I decided to work on some figure-eights around the trees, like I often do with Steen. The first few, Laredo had a lot of weight on his forehand, and was inclined to swing wide. He'd then get a correction from my leg, followed by one from my hand if he didn't bend. It's nice to have a solid physical object to work around, as it provides a more real objective to the exercise than just walking random circles over and over.

After a few laps around the trees, we had our moment. Laredo started to swing wide, I brought my leg in and tapped his shoulder. I felt him shift his weight and engage his haunches and suddenly he was balanced perfectly to make it through the turn.

His front feet became lighter, and he was lifting them up and swinging them in the turn, even breaking at the poll and collecting a bit, even though I wasn't asking for that.

So that was super neat to feel. Of course it's just a glimmer, and it's going to take a lot more solid effort to make it into a habit, but it's amazing how good these little breakthroughs feel. Our last few rides have been so positive. I'm tempted think we're over the first hump with him.

Brian rode Bear in his own hackamore for the first time today, so I actually spent quite a few minutes watching him. He's ridden Bear in my hackamore a handful of times, but we got him his own a few weeks ago. Bear started off great, got a little upset around the middle of the ride, and came back around in the end. I'm excited to see how working in the hackamore for a while changes things for them.

He looked good for sure, and at the very least I think the change forced him to pay more attention and try harder than he sometimes does on these hot days.

Ride Time: 0:50
Laredo hours YTD: 9:20
Horseback hours YTD: 77:15

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