Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Great Weather

It was another beautiful day today, and our barn day started with a visit from the farrier. Steen got a trim but the other two didn't need it.

I rode Steen. I didn't do any groundwork at all because the door out of the arena was open, and I get a somewhat ridiculous kick out of riding through gates I normally have to dismount to open. But Steen is really to the point that I don't need to do groundwork every ride. I've been skipping it more and more often.

I mounted inside the indoor and rode out to the strip. One silver lining to the fact that our favorite spot to ride got torn up and turned into a driveway is Steen's comfort zone on the strip is effectively destroyed. I can't ride him there at all, period. So today I took him further down the strip to start with, and admitted to myself that it's was as much my comfort zone as his.

We started out with the set and turn again. Steen was stopping well from the start, really just softening and scooting to a stop when I sat deep. I was also applying my "no lean" way of thinking to how I handle the hackamore, and realized that sometimes when I'm asking Steen to step his forequarters around, I end up applying steady pressure. So I swapped that out for (very very gentle) bumping, and got surprising results. Steen started putting way more energy into moving his front around, which is great because we've had that movement down for a while but I've been unable to effectively speed it up.

So we had a day where we worked on extreme transitions. I'd pivot him around, collect him and launch him into a lope, then soften him up and bring him back to a stop. He was just on, ready to move out, ready to stop, ready to turn. At one pointed I loped him in circles around a tractor, brought him into the trot for a few strides, changed leads and loped around the tractor the other way. He was way softer all around today than he was on Friday. The only thing we couldn't seem to get right is he was disjointed with sidepasses, his haunches trailing well behind his front end.

We rode for about an hour, at which point Brian and I were both running out of things to do. Laredo was showing similar energy for Brian today as he had for me yesterday, and their ride was a tad rough at times. We decided to bring things down a few notches and walk a circuit through the big pasture. That was nice. I still can't get over how different Steen is this year when it comes to exploring new territory. He's just not bothered.

We got back to the strip, and I worked on some short serpentines with Steen. He's good with these, but we hadn't done them in a while. He got super soft, and very back on his haunches, and at one point we came out of a turn and saw Brian and Laredo parked at the top of the strip talking to a friend. I pushed Steen into the lope and pointed him for the spot between Laredo and the fence. He scooted right up there, I sat down and he stopped so hard he bounced. We ended the ride there.

Ride Time: 1:30
Horseback Hours YTD: 44:25

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