Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Smooth Ride

We found the herd all wound up today. Laredo came walking right up to us initially but then got swept off with a group of passing horses, after which he decided not to come  back. We haven't had to reinforce the idea that Laredo should come to us when we look at him for close to a year, but suddenly its three times in quick succession. Unfortunately the footing is so bad in the pasture right now, it's hard to keep the pressure on him when he's moving away. Today one of my muck boots got so deeply mired down that I stepped right out of it and into a wet heap of hay and manure. Big time yuck.

Fortunately Laredo remembered his manners and came up to me shortly thereafter. I got him inside with the intention of doing some pretty intense groundwork. But then he was just great on the rope. Like soft, light, paying attention, moving with energy, not invading my space. There was nothing to get after him for, and I've worked with horse's long enough that you can't teach them about anything other than what is happening right at that moment. So I turned him loose in the indoor arena with our other two while Brian and I brought Whisper in, because he was three-legged lame. We helped our barn owner get him hosed down. It was unclear what the exact cause of the problem was, though it seemed likely he was either kicked or he strained a tendon.

Laredo was good for grooming and tacking, and when I got on he was moving nicely. I worked again on systematically keeping him in one gait at a steady cadence. Whether it was walk, trot, or lope, I would move my hips at the rate I wanted him to go, and if he fell behind I'd give him one nudge with my legs. If that didn't produce an immediate effort to speed up, I popped him on the butt with the end of my mecate. Overall, this worked quite well, and he was putting definite effort into his forward movement most of the ride. I didn't have to pop him very often at all.

We also worked on coming out of the lope into the trot and staying there, then moving back into the lope again. Laredo really likes to slam on the brakes coming out of the lope, and while that is a good thing sometimes, at others you want him to keep going. We saw improvement with this as well.

The other funny thing was working on our rectangle. Laredo is so quick to pick up on patterns. He has already learned that if we go to the middle of the arena and sidepass, that means we're going to back up, then sidepass the other way, then go forward. He will even get ahead of me asking sometimes. So funny. But his sidepass is gorgeous lately - soft and even, with good reach.

Overall, it was one of the smoother rides I've had on Laredo recently. He never got fussy or grouchy, and he had a lot of good energy for most of the ride.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback Hours YTD: 39:45

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