Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Two Rides on Laredo

On Monday we went out thinking we might ride, but ended up mostly just hanging out with Steen. Cleaning his side and leg take a long time, and then he has to dry off a good deal before we can put the Thuja Zinc on again. Since he can't be in the sun, that limits our options of what we can do with him while he's drying. By the time we were all done with him, we were pretty ready to head home.

On Tuesday, though, Brian brought Bear and Laredo in, and got them groomed and tacked while I got Steen cleaned up. Then I stashed Steen in a stall for about an hour while I rode Laredo on the strip.

We had a pretty good ride. We've been working our way through our new Buck DVDs, and I had a lot of those ideas in my head from the start. With Laredo, my biggest challenge is keeping his energy up. Particularly with exercises like whirligigs, he just peters out before he can really bring the front through.

So I worked a lot on keeping him alive at the walk, and rewarding him when he moved out with energy by keeping my hands off the reins and my legs quiet.

I guess it had some effect because later we did a couple lopes up the strip, and he was super energetic. The first time I asked for the lope Laredo just took off. I've never felt him accelerate like that. I felt myself start to gather up the reins to pull, but thought to myself, "Just go with him." I lowered my hands, and we went. I still can't get over how smooth and balanced Laredo's lope is, even when he's going fast.

Of course he didn't go fast for long, and after the initial surprise of his speed he never felt like he was going to get ahead of me either.

Ride Time: 0:55

Today we went to the barn later in the day than usual, and left Steen in the pasture while we took Bear and Laredo into the newly plowed soybean field. This was a good change of pace. Laredo was perky by relaxed heading out, and I marveled at how comfortable I'm starting to feel on his back.


We trucked around for a while, trotting and loping up some hills and doing big loops. Other than his tendency to sometimes want to charge downhill at the trot, Laredo was great.


After we'd been riding for a while, a group of five riders from the barn joined us, and we went with them through the fields for a ways. It was a chaotic group, with several somewhat spazzy horses. Laredo was totally chill. He was fine with following them, but always ready to listen to me and not inclined to take cues from the other horses.

Brian and I turned back early, and right after we split from the herd we had our one hiccup of the ride. We were heading back towards the barn, and Laredo suddenly bucked. Or rather, he sort of tried to buck, but he didn't do a very good job at it.

I've never had a horse buck on me quite like that before. There was no build up, no come down. He just threw it in there. If something triggered it, I couldn't even see it after the fact.

But it really wasn't much of a buck. I was nowhere near losing my seat. I brought his head around, of course, but he was already over it (whatever "it" was) by the time we moved on. We headed back into the bean field and loped up another hill before calling it a day.

After the ride, we brought Steen in and cleaned him up. After days of making no discernible progress, his side has finally turned a corner. We left him without his sheet for the night so the skin can get a chance to breathe a bit.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 118:10

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