There we were, loping up a beautiful grassy hill; Robin was on an energetic but attentive Steen, and I was riding a happy to be out but somewhat lethargic Laredo. The temps were in the 60’s and a strong wind was blowing out of the north. It felt like late September.
And then Laredo threw his head down and started bucking. I kept my butt in the seat and found myself hugging his neck trying to find an ideal moment to roll off into the long grass. But that never came. He got himself stopped, I sat up, and then we continued trotting up the hill like nothing happened. Silly kid.
The only thing we can think is that his feet are sore. Last week all four horses got their feet trimmed, and for the past many days all of them have exhibited some sign of tender footedness. Laredo and Zoey have been affected the most (or perhaps they are the wimpiest?). Anyways, Laredo was not spooked or bothered by anything that we could tell, but something got him started bucking. I can’t believe I stayed on, but I’m happy I did.
|Me and my crazy mount.|
The rest of the weekend was fabulous. Both days we woke up to temps right around 50. We took our time in the morning and got out to the barn when the sun was up and the breezes were cool. We spent the better part of the day there both Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday was when Laredo had his bucking moment. Thankfully I followed that up with a really great ride on Bear. We rode in the indoor so Zoey could enjoy the plush sand. Bear was his normal relaxed self, but there was a little something extra there as well. On our last ride I got on him a little bit for his lazy flexing and stepping under with his hind end. I’ve been thinking long and hard about our rides and what is working and what isn’t, and I feel like I need to just do all our normal things but really focus on energy and precision with the flexing and stepping under. I worked hard to get his attention on those things on Thursday, and I don’t think he was super happy. But Saturday and Sunday he was light on his feet and happy to respond. This also carried over into our backing, moving the front end over, softness to the hackamore, and upward and downward transitions. On top of that, he was happy to be doing it. Multiple times in the ride he’d stop for the longest lip licking sessions I’ve ever seen from him.
Today’s double ride started with us taking Steen and Bear out and about. We stuck to the grassy areas and walked, trotted, and loped around. Everything was great with them. We really wanted to keep riding, but Bear was showing some signs of sore feet, so we headed back after an hour and a half.
My second ride was on Zoey. Robin had a less than ideal ride on her yesterday. She seemed to be in heat and having foot issues and overall just not happy. I had no idea what I was going to get today, but it turned out to be none of those things.
We rode inside again, and we ended up having what I believe was our best ride ever. It is true she was still sore in her feet, so we only trotted a little and didn’t work on the lope at all. But I could take her feet anywhere I wanted. She was responsive to my legs, happy to stand, back up, or go, and she was just listening and trying. No antics, no squirrely responses. She was simply happy to be with me. And I was happy to be with her.
It has been almost three months since we got her, and I have been thinking our progress has not been that great. But today made me realize we have made good strides in catching, saddling, groundwork, moving off the legs, softening to the bit, not moving for mounting or dismounting, and looking to her rider when she gets bothered by external stimulators. That is a pretty good list. I think the fact that our other mounts are doing so well makes us think Zoey is coming along slowly. But those are extremely unfair comparisons. We’ve got a vacation coming up soon, but shortly after we get back we will be putting her up for sale. Should be exciting to see what happens.