Monday, February 9, 2009

Go, Speed Racer

Steve Holt! was in fine form this evening when I hauled up to the riding club. Typically, he begins at a nice, easy pace, walking all relaxed around the rail and not really caring much when we move up into a trot.

Not so tonight. He was ready to trot immediately, and from a trot he wanted to move into a lope. I let him, and he stayed fairly soft and easy. I'm finding it odd that a week ago he couldn't manage a soft lope to the right, but now it's the left that he's struggling with. But that's just the way he's operating right now. So to the right we went and things were good. He even whoa'd when asked, changing directions and picking up that left lead which was so elusive yesterday. Too bad it was taking him 5-6 strides to do it.

At first I let it go, happy enough that he was picking it up. But after a couple of circles and starting and stopping, I began suggesting a bit more firmly that he pick it up sooner. He insisted equally strong that it wasn't going to happen like that. Before long we were both having a melt down as we battled over the lope.

Frustration is never good. Before I'd begun to ride, I'd set up three pole bending poles in a tight V, as well as 3 ground poles to practice trot overs. I decided it really didn't matter if Steve Holt! had his act together or not picking up leads and doing circles if he wasn't able to negotiate the trail obstacles. One cannot make the finals, after all, if one can't do trail. So I rode him over to the upright poles and asked him to back between them, then around the point (which would be the bottom of the V), and back up through the top poles again. He did it with relative ease considering we'd never done anything like that before. I then began to do some trot over work, and a bit of side passing. His heart rate went down, as did mine.

I've been wondering if he'd tolerate me carrying something while on his back. Sandy freaks over fluttery stuff, but Steve Holt! appears more sensible with such things. There was nothing to nearby suitable for carrying, however...unless you counted the pole bending poles. I aimed Steve Holt! towards one, lifted it up and asked him to cross the arena. He was aware that something was there and that it was coming along with us, but he wasn't bothered. I picked up all three and transported them from one side to the other (one at a time, of course), and he stayed relaxed through it all. And in case you didn't know? Those poles are heavy! At least the base, and my arm is sore tonight from carrying them around.

Twenty minutes later I turned him back towards the center of the arena. I asked for a lope to the right. He stayed relaxed this time. I only made one circle, then asked for the stop. He did it nicely. I asked for the left lead, and again he took too many strides to pick it up, but his pace was slow and his whoa was there. I asked for a few steps backwards and got them, so I dismounted and called it a night. What started off as rocky ended well. I've just got to get the whole ride like those last few minutes!


Jeanette said...

What do they say..."all's well that ends well"?
That should leave a good impression...ending on that good note :)

Gecko said...

Good on you for not letting the tension get any worse, teach me how to do that! =P

blackfeatherfarm said...

I think we all have those days and when we do, it is great just to finish well. He is coming along so nicely, I think. LOVE the photo with this post too.

jme said...

he sounds like a really cool horse! sometimes changing the subject for a while is a great way to get past those frustrating spots. it sounds like you worked it out and made the most of you ride. i'm looking forward to reading more :-)