Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Little More Life

The weather has been beautiful lately, and we've had several good hard rains. The pastures have recovered from the drought to an extent that surprises me, and it is has been so nice to spend the days out at the barn and not get home feeling scorched.

Today we spent the morning over at Catalpa Corner, watching the cross-country part of an eventing competition. As much as I have no interesting in eventing myself, it is always neat to see a whole bunch of different people and their horses all at once.

After hanging around the course for an hour or two, we went to our own barn for a ride. Steen came to me in the pasture and he seemed from the start as if he was just in a really good mood.

I've decided now that Steen and I are getting pretty consistent about nailing the basics, what I need to work on speeding things up. When Steen is really relaxed he can get to a point where he doesn't put a lot of effort into things. There is a delicate line between asking him for more energy and getting him so revved up he freaks himself out, so it's not something I've been inclined to mess with much in the past. He's so much more solid than he used to be though, I don't have the same kinds of worries I used to about him getting too amped .

So today we worked on all our usual things and I asked him for some more energy while going through them. At times this worked well and I got him to liven up. At other times he just did things at his own speed anyway.

One new thing I am feeling is he's learning to stay soft on the hackamore through certain movements, instead of starting soft, falling onto my hands somewhere in the middle, and softening again when we're finished. I think doing certain things with more energy will help with this too.

I also have noticed lately that he does not hold a bend in his body as well while we turn to the right, and so we worked on trotting one large circle to the right, and then at intervals turning a tighter, smaller circle. I made sure he was breaking at the poll and giving me a nice bend through the little circles, which made it more natural for him to hold a more shallow bend in the larger circle. This is something I'm going to try to work on every ride for a while until we've fixed the problem.

We also did a lot of great loping. I'm feeling more and more able to steer him off my legs when we're running.

But perhaps the greatest thing about the day as a whole is Steen never lost that willing feeling he had at the very beginning of the day. He felt totally with me the whole time, and while a couple of times I would have been having to get a little more energy in some of his movements, in reality I'm just being picky. It was a great ride.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 101:30

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