Last week was a sparse one as far as horse-time goes, but my mom did get to come out to meet and ride Steen, so that was excellent. They seemed to get along well.
After my week of traveling, visitors, extra-long hours at the gallery and some impromptu night-time socializing, I threw a sleepless night into the mix for good measure. So, when I finally dragged myself out to the barn Saturday afternoon I was feeling pretty worn out. That, combined with the fact that I hadn’t even seen Steen since Monday led me to decide to spend the day on groundwork instead of riding. And it was great fun. I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of groundwork. As Steen learns the exercises better, he can do them faster with subtler cues. He pays such good attention to me when we are working, and seems to really have fun waiting to see what I am going to tell him to do next, and trying to do it right. At times he is so receptive to my body language it almost seems like magic. I pulled some poles out into the outdoor arena (it was a beautiful day) and worked on making the exercises more difficult by using them as obstacles and guides. It was a great deal of fun, and just what I needed to unwind.
Yesterday, I went out in the morning, and it was another absolutely beautiful day. I decided to use the saddle again. Although my heart will always belong to riding bareback, I am trying to keep myself from settling into a pattern. I noticed as I rode in the saddle yesterday that already my bareback tilt is back – just a slight tendency to lean forward – and as Steen can still be a bit clumsy while carrying a rider, it is important for me not to throw extra weight on his front legs. So, I just need to keep changing things up on myself to keep from forming habits, and concentrate on posture at all times.
Anyway, the ride was good and Steen was very well behaved – I think more relaxed than he’s ever been in the outdoor arena. Also, he is getting oh so much better at standing still when I’m mounted – though not so much when other people are mounted. Still, I read back through this blog the other day, and I can’t believe the distance we’ve come in less than six months.
Now, I am looking forward to a few weeks of highly enjoyable horse time before it starts to turn cold.