Yesterday the guys came to us in the pasture from pretty far away. Steen even trotted the last bit. Bear actually lost some momentum and had another bite of grass. But overall it was a good effort. This morning, however, he showed no inclination to come over to us. They were eating in another far corner of the pasture, he looked at me multiple times as I walked up, and then he went right back to eating.
So when I got up to him I pushed him off a little, figuring I would do what I normally do when he doesn’t come to me, which is make him move until he wants to come. Today he walked off up the hill, then he gave me a look like he was considering coming to me, but I pushed just a bit more. He kept walking along nice and easily. He kept walking so nicely I just walked in right behind him. We went all the way around the middle pasture, and then on up to the gate. He gave me a few confused (and perhaps mildly uncomfortable) looks, but for the most part he was just happy to be walking in.
We rode out on the strip. It started out cool and breezy, but very quickly the sun came out and it got kinda warm and sticky. Bear was good in the beginning, but then he stopped being good. He didn’t seem to be paying a lot of attention, and he was constantly over-reacting to my cues. Not in an awful way, just things like when I’d ask him to turn a little bit, he would turn and then keep on turning. If I wanted him to stop turning he would turn the other way. That kind of frustrating stuff.
But to be honest, I was tired and woke up with a headache that morning, so I was certainly not being the best rider. Robin suggested we work on one of our exercises and I said I would rather do walk/trot transitions. She said she has been neglecting those since she has been loping a ton, so we decided to work on them together. We just set up a nice area to circle around and designated two spots for transitions. Very simple.
We worked on it for over 20 minutes, and honestly, I could have kept going. It was perfect. I was able to really think about my seat, legs, and hands, and Bear knew exactly what his job was. This isn’t to say they were all perfect, cuz they weren’t, but overall things went very well.
We ended the ride with some easy walking down the strip and back. Bear was much more with me after all the transition work. I just have to remember what I blogged about a few months ago, when things go wrong, simplify. Today was a perfect example of things not going well and then focusing on a very simple exercise to make it better. Worked like a charm.