I won’t go into too many details, as I’m sure Robin will cover all of those, but Robin had a great time with Laredo today. He was easy to catch, great with grooming, and very relaxed under saddle. Since we just got him trimmed we decided to get the stick out and measure him. He didn’t mind it at all. It was a little tough to find the perfect spot to measure, but we’re pretty sure he is 14.2.
To compare I measured Bear in a few different places. The funny thing was Bear was not into the stick at all. I think he might have been snoozing when I approached his right side, and he gave a big jump and then stayed a little antsy. But I got him to come down a little and measured him all over. High on the withers he was over 15.2, which is totally not true. In the spot where we measured Laredo, Bear was 15 hands. I always call him a 14.3 horse, but maybe he is somewhere between the two.
We rode in the indoor, and it was a little hot. It probably helped with Laredo’s calmness, but Bear wasn’t excited about it at all. I can tell he has gotten a little out of shape these last few weeks. What riding we’ve been doing has been easy, and I’ve also given him lots of time off in between. I do think it is helping his back some, but he was also stiff today. Especially when we were walking or trotting in circles.
Thankfully he was really soft in other areas. I got lots of soft feels, great backs, and wonderful responses off my legs. This was the first time in a while I didn’t ride in my spurs. I had taken them off when I rode Steen, and I never put them back on. I suppose it makes sense as I have been using my legs a lot when riding, but not necessarily using the spurs. So this was an interesting test. We spent some more time doing serpentines and circles and figure-eights with me holding the reins on the saddle horn. We only had a few problems, and they occurred when Bear wanted to go say hi to Laredo (they appear to get along really well; I like to think that Bear sees his younger self in Laredo).
In the end we did do a little loping, but it was only OK. He gave me a big head toss and a hop when we got into it, which didn’t feel great. But then it felt like he settled in some. However, on the turns he was not feeling good. I could see his neck was out and very stiff. This meant he was leaning in very far in the turns and not bending at all. I tried to get him back on his haunches and encourage a nice bend, but it wasn’t working.
So we just finished the ride with some more bending at the walk and trot. We made some nice progress and I could feel some tension leaving his body. I thought about loping some more, but I figured we should end on a good note. And besides, Robin and Laredo had been done for quite a few minutes already.