Sunday, February 09, 2014

Down to Three

First, we got word that Zoey made it to her new home safely. Her new parents even posted a series of photos on Facebook that showed her meeting her new pasture mates and being fed apples. It looks like she is settling in quite well.

Today, Brian and I found our normal conversation on the way to the barn about who would ride whom somewhat simplified. With three horses, it's not that tricky. We've decided we want to put a lot of hours on Laredo these next few months. With all the time and energy it took to get Zoey up to speed and rehomed, the kid has been just a little bit on the backburner lately. And you can kind of tell. He's rather on the chunky side, and we've lost a bit of the softness and refinement we had working for us last fall. His loping had degenerated as well. We've been calling him 'rocket horse' lately, because of his explosive departures. Honestly, I think a lot of it is the cold and the pasture conditions. Laredo is a 'park at the bale' kind of guy, and when the weather is bad and there is plenty of food, he seems to remain totally immobile for long periods of time. Between that and the extreme cold we've been dealing with, he gets a little tight in the hocks sometimes, which does not lead to smooth locomotion under saddle.

Today was no exception. In fact, he came in about as wound up as I'd ever seen him. I turned him out in the indoor arena, and he was keen to romp around. Bear wasn't as willing a participant, in spite of Laredo's goading.

After the playing, I started to tack and groom. Chunks of snow kept sliding off the roof and falling past the windows, which would make Laredo raise his head and look concerned. There was also a noisy snowplow working outside, and another boarder chasing her horse around in the arena and clapping her hands. All of this combined into a Laredo brain overload, and he briefly forgot how to hand still. I had to do a little work to get him quieted down and able to stand quietly again.

In the arena, I did a little extra groundwork. I used the flag to push him a little, and he got a bit agitated once or twice, but he was quiet by the time I got on. We then had a mostly nice ride. We worked a lot on cadence and energy. He was lazy at the lope and stiff at the trot, but we got a lot of good stuff done at the walk. He started out not wanting to hold a bend to the left, so we worked on softening and stretching, and by the end of the ride he was feeling looser, and he'd settled in mentally as well.

I'm looking forward to getting Laredo out and about this year. He'll be five in the spring, and the indoor arena has never been his favorite thing. I'm hoping some more variety in setting will hope motivate him (and me) to work on some more advanced stuff.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback Hours YTD: 19:15

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