Bear has always been an extremely dependable horse. I can count on him to more or less go where I want him to and in the gait I want him to. He rarely spooks or gets frazzled, and he is always friendly.
What I do struggle with is getting him to move out with more life and energy. On our last couple of rides I’ve started with some more demanding groundwork, and that is having a nice carry over into the rides. I’ve been working hard to get him moving out of my space when I come in with energy, and we have also been putting more time in on the walking, half-circle exercise.
When I climbed on he was his usual, attentive self. He was moving off my seat well and my legs could send him wherever I wanted to go. But the backing on the ground did not have a great carryover to the ride, so I tried the same technique I was using on Laredo. For him it was a listening and paying attention problem, for Bear I think it is more of a ‘I’m an old guy and I’ve been backing slowly for a long time’ kind of thing. When I started asking for more, with more energy, I started to get more. We didn’t get to the point where our first steps were flying back, but I saw some big changes in him.
We were also able to build on our two issues from the previous ride. He continues to put more effort into rocking back on his haunches so he can bring his front end over, and today I don’t think he once jumped into the lope from the trot unasked. He was also happy to keep moving along after we had been running around a bit.
Robin was running out of exercises to work on with Laredo, so she suggested we do the routine. It had been a few weeks, so we figured it would be good to get back to it. The first round was pretty good for us. We matched each other pretty well, but Laredo was not really that into it. So we decided to see how he would handle throwing the lope into the straightaways. Both the guys were great with it. I was happy that I had been doing a lot of lope/trot transitions, as they clearly paid off when we needed them to. And Laredo might have been bored doing the routine at the trot, but he loved the challenge of extra running.
We finished up right when some other boarders were getting ready, which was perfect. Tomorrow the farrier comes, so we probably won’t be able to have the place to ourselves.