Brian got home from work today and we were both keen to get to the barn. It was nearly 70° out. I slathered on sunscreen, put on one of my thin summer barn t’s, and as we drove we discussed which fantastic outdoor environment we would ride in.
Except then we got to the barn. And the sun was no longer out, a cold wind had kicked up, and it looked like they’d gotten a lot more rain than we did in town. We found Laredo lying in a pile of muck, more than a little filthy.
I keep a spare sweatshirt in the car for just this type of miscalculation. By the time we got the horses tacked we’d agreed we’d just rip the ground up anywhere we rode while being uncomfortably cold. Somewhat disappointed, we adjourned to the indoor arena.
But it actually turned out to be a great ride. We opened the big door for light and air. Laredo was in a fabulous mood. He was soft and willing with Brian, and they had one of their best rides to date, which in turn was making me happy.
Steen and I started out with more flag work. I did some groundwork with the flag attached to the saddle, and worked on continuing to help Steen understand the difference between when the flag means move and when it does not. I did the same with swirling my mecate. We’re making progress.
I got on and worked through a number of different exercises, then I grabbed the flag and rode around with it for a while. Again, we worked on the concept that Steen should only yield to the flag if he’s getting a signal from me to do so. He has the most trouble moving into it, but also tends to want to pull his hindquarters or shoulders away from it. Last week Brian rode Bear and walked, trotted, and loped with the flag. I thought, “I don’t know if I could do that with Steen.” Nowadays when I have that kind of thought, I file it away as something to work on soon.
So we worked on moving with precision at higher gaits with the flag. We had some funny, dishy moments, and one or two unplanned big stops when I brought the flag past Steen’s balance point while he was moving out. But overall Steen was trying really hard and he wasn’t being spazzy or spooky at all. I was pleased with what we got done. Brian tried to take some photos, but the light was horrible. Still, one is kind of neat. You can see the red blur of the flag, and the boot Steen’s still wearing to protect the split in his heel.
Later in the ride, we worked on a variation of cow we made up on the spot, which we were hoping would help Laredo start to put more energy into yielding his forequarters. Brian does a really job explaining it here, so I won’t rewrite it all. Suffice it to say, it was very fun and it worked nicely for Laredo. Steen was great. I’ve been working on having him move off while holding collection, so I’ll gather him up while he’s standing and not release the reins when I ask him for an upwards transition. He is getting good with this. When I pick him up he rounds up so nicely and then stands there coiled and ready to go. I loped him out of tracks quite a few times today. And once I got warmed up, I even took my sweatshirt off for a while.
But by the time we got home the temperature had dropped into the 40s. What gives, Iowa?
Ride Time: 0:50
Horseback Hours YTD: 36:50