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Novels for Horse-Lovers

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We’ve been waking up to really cloudy days lately. It hasn’t helped us get to the barn early.  It might have been better if we did today, because by the time we got riding the sun was out and all the moisture in the ground made for a very sticky day.

It wasn’t that bad, but it was surprising in that we haven’t had a day like this in a really long time.  Most of the summer was unusually dry, so these humid days really stand out.

It may or may not have affected Laredo.  I could tell he was tired, but that could have been from the physically and mentally challenging ride he had yesterday after a week of no rides, or it could have been the heat, or possibly a mix of both.

But overall he was good.  He continues to relax into everything we do with him.  At one point, though, he showed more anxious excitement than I’ve ever seen from him.  Robin and Steen had gone loping down the strip, and Laredo was certain we had to go with them or we would miss the exploring portion of the ride.  I kept him down at our end, but his mind was out on the trails.  It took a little while to get him concentrating after that, as he kept wanting to head off between the soy bean fields.

When we worked on the walk/trot transition exercise he was much better.  I know our upward transitions were the best yet.  I could roll my hips forward slightly and open up my legs and he would move into a smooth trot.  The downward transitions were also quite good.  They could have been a bit more consistent in terms of how quickly he gave to the bit, but overall I was really happy with how things went.

Since Laredo was so keen to head off down the strip, I decided to take him down there and actually do some work.  We’ve been up and down it quite a few times, but we haven’t worked in any of the far spots.  So we started with some circles and figure-eights and quickly moved in to the trot.  This was not so great.  He was pretty balanced and fairly relaxed in terms of how his body felt, but he was not interested in listening to me AT ALL.  This made me a little angry, but I got over that and focused on slowing things down and riding with quality.  That got a little better, but it wasn’t a great fix, so we slowed down more and worked on short serpentines.

He kind of hated these at first.  He was so stiff, and I was trying to ride through them in a way that didn’t seem punitive, but I really had to bend him at times and encourage him with my legs.  Within a few minutes we got our serpentines going really nicely; he suppled up and started reaching evenly with all four feet.  When we went back to our other exercises he was much, much more attentive to me.

We finished the ride by trotting back up the strip and working in big circles and figure-eights a little more.  There is no doubt he is more attentive in our usual place, so we will have to keep pushing the boundaries of where we work.  Of course, he can be bad in the usual area, too.  Shortly after we got up there Robin dismounted because she was done.  Laredo did not think it was fair at all for me to keep working him, and I had to remind him about my legs a few times.  Riding him is so fun because of all these changes.  It really forces me to stay light and constantly adjust what I’m doing.

Bear seemed happy in the pasture today.  His back was a teeny bit stiff to the touch, but not as bad as it has been.  I couldn’t find any knots.  We gave him his vitamins and I put his fly-boots on.  I’m hoping those will reduce some of the stamping and possibly help him feel a little better.

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