Sunday, December 02, 2012

Working the Hilltop

Today was warm. Really warm. So warm we found all the horses standing around looking overheated and miserable.

I rode Laredo. I wanted to make sure we included some focused work in our ride. We've been just going from point A to point B with him a lot lately, usually in the company of another horse. He loves exploring, so it's easy to just take him out and poke around.

We rode out into the big pasture again, and after we'd walked around a bit we went to the flat spot on the top of the big hill and decided to work a little. We've never tried to do any "real" work with Laredo outside of his comfort zone. I started out walking circles and figure eights and Laredo was fine, if rather on the sluggish side.

After a while Bear and Brian went off to explore other areas. I kept working with Laredo in the same spot. He was a little interested in where they had gone, but not overly so.

After some good circles at the walk I asked for the trot. He picked it up, but was pretty crabby about it, and instead of going forward he started getting short and hoppy. I had his mad dash with Brian on my mind, so I didn't wait to see if this was going to develop into anything more serious or not. I brought his head around and shut him down, then asked for the trot again. He hopped around a little more, I shut him down again, asked for the trot again. Finally he conceded the point and gave me a beautiful little jog. He was steering off my legs, paying attention to me and not getting faster or more forward when we pointed towards the barn or Bear. Good boy.

We trotted a few very nice circles and then I stopped and gave him a good long break. Then we walked some circles in the other direction and I asked for the trot going that way. He got all wadded up again, I shut him down again, asked for the trot again and we were golden.

After that he was pretty well perfect for the rest of the ride. We trotted circles and figure eights all around on the top of the hill and he stayed very attentive. Then we practicing walking up and down some hills. He is making some progress on this. He still hesitates sometimes but he doesn't get truly stuck all that often. Finally we had all had enough of the heat (it just didn't seem like we should be wearing t-shirts in December, so we were as over-insulated as the horses), and headed back to the barn.

So, Laredo continues to be a super interesting project. I have never known a horse to go from totally relaxed to very upset and back again so rapidly. I think his hopping around at the trot had entirely to do with the heat and his low energy level. Sometimes he still backslides into thinking throwing a tantrum will get him out of doing something. Luckily he's so far had very little success with the tactic, and seems to catch on pretty quickly that he's only making things harder on himself. When he's paying attention and motivated, he's starting to feel like a horse that knows a few things.

Ride Time: 1:05
Horseback hours YTD: 145:55


  1. Laredo seems like quite the project. Glad he's coming around for you.

  2. Yeah he's a funny one! Thanks for the comment. :)


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