Monday, July 9, 2012

Dawn Works on a Loose Rein and Red Grooms

They've been working on the well all day . . . keeping fingers crossed that it's fixed soon.

Since there's no way to rinse the horses off after a workout, I kept my riding time short today - it's a beautiful summer day with highs in the 80s and sun (but then we've had sun now for months - it's odd to be hoping for clouds and rain).  Dawn and I had a nice ride in the outdoor - the indoor is way too dusty since it can't be watered.  The breeze at the top of the hill felt nice.  We had an interesting work session - we did everything on a loose rein.  I got to work on my focus - Dawn will go wherever I look - and on my breathing and cuing by thinking the new gait, up or down.  Dawn got to work on carrying herself at the canter - since she didn't have my hands to try to brace on, she had to use herself and engage in order to carry herself upwards in the canter.  It worked like a charm - she didn't rev up and we did lots of work at all three gaits, including lots of trot/canter/trot transitions.  Riding her on a loose rein was an interesting experience and I'm sure one we'll repeat.

Then Pie and I also worked in the outdoor.  We did a good bit of cantering, and he's able to now canter all the way around including the downhill stretch - his balance and ability to carry himself at the canter is greatly improved.

When I went to bring Pie in, I got to see Red doing some very nice socializing - he groomed two other horses in sequence, including one who is well over 17 hands.  Red is barely 15 hands, so it was amusing - the big horse was grooming the very top of Red's butt while Red worked on the other horse's ribs - that's as far as he could reach.  When I brought Pie in, all I had to do to have Red come too (so he could have his morning medicine) was call his name and he came right along with us.  I did get to see Red do some trotting as he caught up, and he looked just fine - he was doing his really big trot that has a lot of extension and lift to it and he was perfectly sound.  Of course this was in a straight line and he didn't trot all that far, but it's encouraging.  I've always said that he "moves like a model" - his gaits have a lot of sashay to them, with a lot of hip motion up and down and his hinds, particularly the left hind, tend to come to the inside as they land and also well under his body.  Since he's built fairly wide in the shoulder and hip, this gives his gaits a lot of swing.  He's also got a lot of animation and "brio" in his gaits, even his walk.  It's fun to watch and to ride. This afternoon at the barn, I saw him trot and canter in without even the slightest hesitation or sign of soreness - whatever he has going on, it clearly doesn't hurt him that much if at all, which is a good thing.  So this afternoon, I took account of his desire to work and we saddled up and did some work at the walk in the indoor - he was happy and he walked out well.  When we were done with that, I dismounted, and led him around the mare pasture and into the outdoor arena - he'd only been out there once before - he led beautifully, although he did a lot of sniffing.  In the days after I'd got him, leading him anywhere at all was an exercise in spooking and bolting and general worries - this time, he was a perfect gentleman and led very well.  He's a star - in fact all three horses are . . .

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