Back and Forth

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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It was a somewhat disappointing ride for all of us.  Robin and Laredo had their own issues, and Bear and I were contending with what appeared to be his sore back and distraction as well as my general tiredness.  I’m pretty sure any distraction he was experiencing came from me, though I’m sure a sore back wasn’t helping him, either.

The day started a little funny.  We pulled Bear and Laredo from the gate up by the treed pasture.  We don’t do that too often, but that is where the herd was hanging out.  As we were coming out Steen decided he wanted to come with and crashed through the gate.  Literally.  I hit him with it, but he just kept coming.

Once out, he proceeded to run around in an antsy state.  Eventually he ran out of that pasture and over to the other stall herd pasture to horse around with the others.  I kept following him and did my best to play ‘the game’ from so far out.  It was working in the sense that Steen was paying attention to me and moving off when I increased the pressure, but it wasn’t working in that he never came towards me when he had a chance to.  Finally we cornered him in a dry lot and I worked him a few more minutes until he finally decided to come up to me.  Silly Steen.  He was really good when I had him haltered and brought him back to the pasture.

The running around did nothing to Bear.  As I borrowed his rope, he just hung out munching the grass near the hitching post.  But Laredo was a little stirred up. It was the most restless we had seen him at the hitching post yet.  Thankfully it wasn’t too bad, he was just more excited than usual.

Out on the strip things were not so nice almost right from the beginning.  It was only a minute or two into the ride before Bear picked up the trot on his own.  Occasionally I will decided to just go with it when he does that, and today I figured I would let him trot if he was feeling good and had some energy.  But I don’t think that was the case.  His trot proceeded to get rougher and increasingly forward as I let him go.

We worked a lot on serpentines in the hope of getting him bending nicely and using his haunches.  It seemed to work a little bit, but it was not a lasting fix.  We had to revert to them over and over again throughout the ride.

There were a few positives, though.  He is getting increasingly responsive to my legs, and I am spending a higher percentage of the time riding with one hand.  After a lot of bending work, we even had some good trots where I only needed one hand on the reins.

Also, he was exceptionally light when we were backing.  I could get him to back straight or bent in either direction with no problem.  He was always light to the bit and happy to move.  At one point I was even shooting pics of Robin and Laredo and maneuvering Bear around with my free hand.  He would stop and back up softly even with one hand.  That is definitely exciting.

Towards the end I decided to check out the lope.  We had been spending more time trotting with better balance, and I hoped a few minutes of loose rein running would help him, as sometimes it does.  Today was not one of those times.  He was very rough and forward in both directions, and again he gave me a lot of head tosses and hops.  So we ended that real quickly.

I was really hoping the reduced workload would be good for him.  I know it is still too soon to tell, as we have hardly spent much time getting a regular rotation going, but I guess we’ll just have to keep monitoring it.

The guys, very relieved to be done for a while.
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