Today it was my turn to ride Laredo, and after Robin’s highly successful loping, I figured we would do the same.
The ride started out pretty good, with the only problem coming from me and my boots. My good riding boots are at the cobbler’s getting new heels (I knocked the rubber off one doing hard groundwork in the pasture with Laredo the other week), so I had to wear my old pair of boots. These have always been too big on me, and they are much cheaper and floppier. You would not think it would make a huge difference, but throughout the ride I was shocked at how unstable my feet felt in the stirrups. This had a pretty big impact on my leg cues and seat. I’m sure I’d get used to them if I had to, but thankfully my trusty Olathes with their excellent heels and solid, leather soles will be back in just a few days.
With the funny feelings in the feet and some tight hips, I almost didn’t lope Laredo. But with how good he has been, those were silly reasons not to. And all our normal stuff was going great. Like Robin, we did a lot of bending.
We spent a good amount of time at the trot. He is moving out very nicely and really seems to enjoy trotting.
Finally we trotted down the strip and then picked up the lope on the way back. It does take a little more effort to get him going than it does with Steen or Bear, but he seems to shift between the trot and lope much smoother than either of them do. And when you are in the lope, it feels great.
We loped up the strip six or seven times. A few of them he got distracted on and petered out rather quickly. Once it was the herd, and then when we tried to lope with Robin and Steen, rather than get really interested in another running horse and try to stay with them, Laredo was surprised to see Steen running and had to slow down to take it all in. He’s such a funny horse. Thankfully the second time we tried to run together he hooked on to Steen nicely and we had a great run.
In between our runs we worked on troting and bending and walking. He wasn’t exactly riled up from running, but he did want to keep going down the strip. He also has this weird tendency to move into pressure when things are happening a little bit outside his comfort zone. In this instance he wanted to follow his buddy Tate who left on a trail ride, but instead I was making him run and pay attention to me.
We’re pretty sure the person who trained him as a 2 year old was a little heavy on the bit. We know they started in a snaffle, but they also used a twisted-wire snaffle. Definitely not ideal as far as we’re concerned. Robin and I have been working really hard to not get into any kind of pulling wars with him, and when he wants to seek pressure we just keep him moving forward and throw him as much rein as we can.
The ride was really great, and in the end he was so relaxed he let me scrub the mud off his ears that he would not let me get in the pasture or when we were grooming.
Bear also seems to be doing good. All our running is keeping him lean for his lady friend.