Robin had a great ride on Laredo Sunday. After her energetic and surprisingly good ride on Zoey, she found Laredo decidedly lacking in the try department. She had already decided to try him in the snaffle again, and she was happy she did. It allowed her to correct and encourage him in a way that got him with her more than he has been lately.
I started our ride today with the same strategies. It has been easy for us to slip into a form of complacency and just let him get a way with things. He isn’t getting away with any outrageous behaviors, but he’s just going through the motions and not really trying. Ever.
So we’ve decided when we ask for things we will set them up softly, then add a teeny bit more energy, and finally if he has not responded, we will turn the volume way up. As Martin Black said many times at the clinic we visited, if you have to try a fourth time, it is only because you miscalculated on the third. But really, that fourth ask shouldn’t have to happen.
Early in the ride we had a few rough moments, but it did get Laredo paying attention to me. He was a little sullen about it, but he was watchful. I tried to be careful to not push too hard, as that is never good for any horse. So I mixed in exercises where I wanted specific outcomes (circles, moving the front end, transitions) with things that were a lot more relaxed and easy (moving out at the walk and trot and just hanging out sometimes and getting a soft feel).
After about twenty minutes I was noticing a lot more energy and effort in him than I’ve ever felt before. We decided to have a little game of cow, and I was definitely able to use this to my advantage. We were stopping and turning really well. Steen was of course beating us, but if we were chasing him, Laredo was moving after him with a purpose.
When we were the cow, we got to move into the lope quite a few times. He was having fun with it. My control with loping Laredo in circles is not the best. So we had moments where we’d drift into the newly planted fields or come close to cutting off Steen and running into him. But these were all good experiences.
We have learned so much from Laredo in the past year. And the more I see other horses, the more I think he was a rather difficult horse to take on as our first 3 year old. But after changes like these, we can see glimmers of the truly great horse he could become.
|Alert, and energetically backing up (which is a little hard to capture in a head on shot)|
We also spent a lot of time checking on our sick and injured horses. Zoey’s back side is staying closed. It is still swollen, but not looking bad. I checked Bear’s temp right when we arrived. I was disappointed to find it was 102, just the hint of a fever. But it was also the first 90+ degree day we’ve had. And at 3 PM, it was definitely HOT out there. After our ride I brought him in to cool down inside and gave him some cold water. When I checked the temp again it was 100.8. Definitely a good sign.