Sunday, March 03, 2013

And a Few More

The weather has continued to keep us confined to the indoor arena. While I am very grateful to have access to such a facility, it definitely limits our riding options. This time of year it often seems we start to struggle to come up with things to do and work on.

When that happens, it means we need some inspiration. So we've returned to working our way through our "7 Clinics with Buck" DVDs. I can't get over how great these are. They are almost as good as actually going to a clinic. You get to see Buck ride, and you get to see people learn and make positive changes with their horses.

The first time we went back to the barn after watching an hour or two of Buck, we had plenty to do in our tiny indoor. I have identified a number of quantifiable things I want to accomplish with Steen in the next few months. I have put together a list of what I plan to work on every ride until we have them pretty solid:
  • backing softly and with rhythm - while we're good at backing, and we're good at backing softly, we are not good at keeping the energy level consistent and the steps in a steady, even cadence
  • precise transitions - I have already seen some improvement with this but we still need to get better
  • speed variation within the gaits - I often let Steen default to going whatever speed he feels like going as long as he's in the gait I have asked for, which is inhibiting our progress
And then there are a few more long-term things I feel like I need to pay more attention to than I do:
  • finding the feet - I am so much better about knowing where my horses's feet are than I was a year or two ago, but I still make timing mistakes that come from not being aware enough of what foot is bearing the weight
  • always ride as if I can ride how I wish I could ride - it's easy to get lazy and just ride how I ride, but when I go to the barn inspired and wanting to take my horsemanship to a higher level, I'm a step ahead of the game before I even put my foot in a stirrup
With Laredo it's not quite as easy to make lists. I have continued to feel like we're entering a new zone of willingness and comprehension with him. We've continued to ride him in the hackamore, and he's showing more energy and try lately.

But as Steen starts to approach the level we were working at before his injury, I am finding the Laredo/Steen contrast to be increasingly stark. It's a challenge for me to switch between the two of them, and to stay fair to Laredo by not expecting too much from him while still challenging him.

He's also starting to seem older lately. It's still a few more months before he turns four, but the increased mental and physical maturity will hopefully mean we can get a lot done with him this summer.

Ride Times: 0:45, 1:05, :50
Horseback hours YTD: 14:05


  1. I really love the 'always ride as if I can ride how I wish I could ride'

    I think thats a huge confidence thing that is SO important in riding!

  2. Thanks Marissa! I was thinking of this in terms of precision and accuracy, but you are totally right that's it's an important aspect of building confidence on a horse as well.


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