Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Birthday Season

Like most horses, all of our guys were born in the late spring/early summer. Bear's birthday is the earliest, and today he turned 18. He does pretty darn well for his age. Other than being slightly more prone to getting stiff and sore than our other two, he really doesn't seem like he's in his late teens.

It was hot today, so Brian wasn't going to wear his chinks. He offered to loan them to me. I've been curious to see how they feel. They are custom made for him, so aren't an ideal fit on me, but luckily with chinks that's not a huge deal.

It was windy as well as hot, and walking out into the pasture the fringe was blowing around my legs. Laredo was way off in the distance, but after a detour around the windblock (following Steen) he came to me. So that's good. It appears his little bout of not being inclined to come is behind us.


I was afraid the heat would put a serious damper on Laredo's motivation levels, but he surprised me. His attitude has been undergoing a subtle shift lately. He seems a lot less inclined to get sullen about work, and seems to be really 'getting' that there is always an answer, and all he has to do is try to find it. Not that he was ever an unpleasant horse, it's just he's feeling more and more willing and engaged with the work. This is making him a whole lot more enjoyable to ride.


I started, however, thinking about his recent antics at the lope. On the one hand, it's a good thing he's showing some inclination to put energy into things, so we don't want to discourage him too much. On the other, we don't really want him running away with us every time we ask him for some speed. Like most horses, he stiffens up when he runs, so I started out working a lot on lateral flexion. We worked on an exercise where I'd move him out at the walk or trot, then gently bend him into a turn and finally ask him to step under behind, and stop. He got so soft, so fast working on this, and he was moving at a steady (if not exactly energetic) trot with consistency. So that made me happy.


From there we worked on short serpentines. These are getting better and better, and I was able to get him to  move evenly with all four quarters most of the time. We also worked on our teardrop shaped turns, when I would walk down the fenceline and turn him into a bend deep enough he would have to roll back on his haunches and move his front end across.

By the time we finished all that, he was feeling very attentive and very soft, so I went ahead and checked out the lope. He was great. He never even felt like he was thinking about taking off with me. I loped some nice circles and he was steering off my seat and legs. Only once did we come around a turn and he wanted to veer towards a new horse and rider who had just come out of the arena. I picked up one rein and he turned so sharply he got a ahead of me a little. So, that was a good reminder to work on shallow bends as well as sharp ones.

At the end of the ride we meandered down the drainage. He just loves to go out and explore, so after a really good ride it seemed like he deserved a little jaunt through the fields.

All in all, I liked riding in the chinks. I can particularly see how they would be comfortable in the cold or wet. I will probably acquire my own pair before too long.


Ride Time: 1:20
Horseback Hours YTD: 45:45

2 comments:

  1. I never knew what the difference in function was between chinks and chaps.

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  2. The difference between chinks and chaps is mainly in the amount of protection they offer. Chaps usually zip up the back of the leg, covering the whole leg in a layer of leather.

    Chinks are open in the back except around the thigh, so they protect the front of the leg but not the back. We don't ride in a lot of extreme conditions or rugged country, so chaps would be kind of overkill.

    Another variation on the theme is armitas. These are like chinks except they have a solid belt and an extra row of fringe at the waist. :)

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