Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finding the Holes

Another weekend out at Bartley working in the arena. "Cowboy Bob" wanna-be Natural Horse guru and his clueless girlfriend where there again. Just us three on a somewhat windy late-Sunday afternoon. This was the first kind of "bad" weather I'd ridden Dig in that I can remember. I didn't really lunge him at all before riding this time, he was being really relaxed and there wasn't a whole lot else going on. Just a few circles around at the ends of my reins and I hopped up on. Thoughts from this weekend's ride:
  • He's really solid at the walk, just putters right along where I point him. Working on some light lateral movements off my legs, he seems to be catching on to the idea of that. He's working well off my weight/seat bone shifts as well - all at the walk.
  • Good solid stop and a very nice back. He caught on VERY quick to the "back-up after you stop" request and now will back very softly and readily, sometimes without waiting for me to ask - so need to go back to just whoa and "hold" now so he's not second-guessing me.
  • Still balking at times - I'm not sure what's causing this. I want to figure out WHY he may be doing it before I resort to something like carrying a crop or switching out to my split reins to pop him with. I think sometimes it's because he's not sure, and other times he's being stubborn.
  • Speaking of stubborn - we had a little "NoIdontwanna" moment today which involved planting his feet and refusing to move forward. He started backing up to evade me so I backed him in a full 360 then stopped him, turned his head and asked for his hip. He took a couple of steps around and I found that "forward" gear again.
  • I think we're both VERY bored with riding in the arena. =(

Worked on trotting some more again today. He gave me about 2 good laps around in between several 1/2 to 1/3 laps that involved stopping and such. Not sure if he's just being lazy and unmotivated or still feeling unbalanced/not sure of himself. Probably need to spend some time in the round pen so I don't need to worry about him bolting off or having to steer around corners and just let him (and me) get the feel of things.

Cowboy Bob was as amusing as last time. His horse is such a quiet dead-head, I don't get what he's doing really. He spends a lot of time on the ground just walking around with the horse following him on its leadrope. They were going to go on a ride around the park, and I *almost* asked if I could join them, but then I watched him spend 15 minutes (literally) getting ready to mount his horse. They then rode down to the end of the big field (still within eyesight, about 100 yards or so) and sat on the horses down there for another good 15+ minutes. Then turned around and came back. Okay... Chatted with him briefly as we were getting ready to leave, he claims to be from Texas and was upset because there were posted park/arena hours and the ranger came around and very nicely asked us to start getting ready to go so she could close the main gate at dark as planned. Considering the arenas are supposed to close at 4:30 and it was probably around 5:00 when she came by, I was already untacking. Cowboy was upset because there were hours - I told him "at least we have this really nice arena to ride in for free." I guess back in TEXAS where he's from - it's all private arenas/ranches and you just get in with someone and ride at their place whenever you feel like it??? Whatever. There is a private ranch with a covered lighted arena in Washoe Valley, but you have to pay $5 to use it. I'll take the free one, thanks!

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