Friday, August 10, 2012

Ride Medley

We've had a busy start to August and I've gotten behind on the blogging. So I'm going to do a quick catch-up post.

August 2 - Thursday

I rode Laredo. We didn't have a great ride. It was one of those days where nothing was bad, exactly, but nothing was great either. We did all our usual stuff and he was just spacey. It was also really hot because we went out in the afternoon, and I do think the horses have trouble concentrating on their work after they've been standing in the beating sun all day.

Ride Time: 0:50

August 4 - Saturday

We took Bear and Steen out again and hit the trails. We decided to try out typical route backwards, and for some reason Steen was nervous heading out. He was fine if a tad jumpy until we got to a house where several big dogs live in the yard and like to bark at passing horses. Steen is normally pretty fine with these guys, and he was on the approach to the house. But then we passed some large trees on top of a hill that blocked the dogs from view. Steen's anxiety ramped up a notch or two until he was borderline not paying attention to me. We got past the dogs without incident, but he proceeded to be wound up going down the grassy double-track following that house, and finally after we went through a little gate I stopped to wait for Bear and Brian to catch up, and he would not hold still. I "fidgeted" with him for a few minutes. This is Buck's cure for a horse that won't stand, and I haven't had to use it on Steen in a while. We rattled through every little foot movement we know in a very quick and demanding sequence. Sure enough, by the time I let Steen stop moving all he wanted to do was sigh, lower his head and lick his lips. From there, the ride was actually pretty great.

Ride Time: 1:35

August 9 - Thursday

We were out of town for a few days, so were keen to ride again. The weather finally cooled off, and it is nice for us and the horses. I rode Steen in the hackamore, and the ride was pretty fine. After so many days off, he was a bit stiff at certain things, but all in all it was a good ride. At the beginning, I had to run back into the barn to grab the camera and I left Steen standing out on the strip waiting for me. He didn't budge while I was gone.

Steen, waiting until I got back.

He's getting pretty good at sidepassing.

A bit of loping. 

Ride Time: 1:05

August 10 - Friday

I had a disrupted night (insomnia + noisy neighbors =  no sleep for me) and when we headed for the barn in the morning I was so tired I felt like I shouldn't ride Laredo because I was afraid I wouldn't have the necessary motor skills and/or patience reserves. I opted instead to ride Steen again, and I worked specifically on trying to get him to break more in the poll and loin when we turn. Steen does have a bit of tendency to stay straight when we turn to the right, and I have a tendency to want to reach way out to the side with my hand to correct him. Lately I've been trying to ride with my hands closer to my body. This causes a more direct pull with the hackamore, which means I have more strength and leverage. I've found if Steen ignores the soft ask, I can follow up with a quick pull that usually does the trick without encouraging him to brace. Overall, our ride was good. Steen felt softer and more attentive than the day before.

Brian was riding Bear in the hackamore, and it was our first time riding in our hackamores at the same time. We decided to celebrate by working on the routine some. We made it more challenging by throwing in a lope on the first straightaway, and working on extending the trot or collecting it depending on who had space to make up or cover. We got a few pretty good runs in. I think everyone enjoyed it.

Ride Time: 1:10
Horseback hours YTD: 96:10

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