Saturday, November 02, 2013

Getting to 200

At the end of 2012, when Brian and I talked about our riding goal for the next year, we picked something that would be difficult. We agreed 200 hours would be a stretch. Of course, we're aware some people ride 200+ hours in a week, but considering we both have full time jobs that don't have anything to do with horses, 200 hours on horseback is a lot for us to fit in. (OK, maybe 200 in a week is impossible, but you get the idea).

Brian is on track with the goal, but I am a little behind. At the start of November I had 165 hours. In the true winter (once we're confined to the indoor arena) it is harder to really rack up the time, so my goal is to make the most of any remaining good weather we have. I'm hoping to get down to the single digits by the time December rolls around. This might mean riding every day, or close to it. But November is my birthday month, so I figure I deserve all the barn time I want.

Today, we made good progress. I logged over 2.5 hours or riding, starting on Laredo and switching to Steen.

The horses are all doing pretty well. Zoey is finally all healed up, and we have found she seems to make more consistent forward progress if we're not constantly changing riders on her. For this reason (plus the fact that she seems to be a bit more relaxed with Brian in general) Brian has been doing the bulk of the work with her lately. This means I've been riding both Laredo and Bear a bit more than usual, and that is fun.

I've also got some exciting new gear for Steen. We have finally purchased our first spade, and now have a complete two-rein set-up. In the near future I'll introduce that to Steen.

But since I know I'm not going to be able to make a 100% switch, and my experience with the roo-hide bosal I got to go under the spade bridle illuminated for me just how much Steen's old rawhide hackamore was inhibiting our ability to communicate, I also got a 1/2" roo hide bosal from Martin Black, and happened to find a gorgeous 1/2" Doug Kraus mecate on ebay to go with it.

I rode Steen in the new hackamore for the first time today, and it fits him very well. We had a nice ride on the strip. The most interesting thing I'm finding with the roo hide bosals is how much more willing Steen is to collect and hold collection in them. In his old hackamore, he'd get a bit upside down if I tried to keep him in frame for more than a few strides, but today we worked on staying collected for minutes at a time, particularly at the canter.

Even at the lope, he's softer than he's ever been before, and I'm looking forward to being able to focus more on simple lead changes, lateral movements, and the handful of other things I know we need to make progress on before we can really embrace the two-rein all the way.

Ride Time: 1:15
Ride Time: 1:20
Horseback Hours YTD: 166:40

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