Saturday, May 30, 2009

Brego is a Star!

Today we took Brego and Strider out to the North Fork of the Poudre River.  It was beautiful, lush and green, with lots of wildflowers.  I never managed to take out the camera, I just have "memory photos".  

Brego was a star!  He did great, I was relaxed with him, and we had a great time.  There were several river crossings and Brego went through like no big deal.  He kept up with Strider easily, and boy is that a switch from lagging behind and trotting on Cody to catch up all the time!  Occasionally I lagged back a bit, but easily caught up by running in his foxtrot, and what a delight!  It was definitely a more comfortable ride, between the smooth running walk and the slimmer saddle size.  On a few long, gradual uphill grades we both gaited the horses, and that was nice.  Brego likes going fast.  I could tell his little legs were moving a lot faster than Strider's long ones, just to keep up, but he didn't seem to mind.

As we ate our lunch, we heard some thunder rumbling in the distance, so started back at a fairly good clip.  There were a few times that Brego seemed a little out of control, and acting a little nutty/emotional, going faster than I'd asked and not slowing down when asked.  Tim was experiencing similar things with Strider.  I guess they were in "going home" mode.  I practiced slowing him and calming him down.  I realized at one point (after the fact), that perhaps when Brego was speeding up (and not looking where he was going) I may have been squeezing with my legs to hold on, and therefore giving him the mixed message to speed up, while trying to slow him with the reins.  I'll have to watch out for that in the future.  We both stopped a couple of times just to calm them down, and they got a lot better.

There were a few raindrops as we got nearer to the parking lot, and just as we reached the truck it began to rain more heavily.  We got back just in time!  

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful, successful ride.  Brego is a great horse, and a great fit for me.  I realized that he has really become my "partner", in the horse-partnership sense.  (Tim is truly my partner in life!!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Work and Planning

Oh, wow.  The last post was in April!  It's not that we haven't worked with Brego, we've just been very busy with our GARDEN and haven't given as much time to the horses.  Now that the garden is planted and just being maintained, there's room to breathe and time to spend with the kids.

I guess I'm going to have to get a new photo of Brego.  He's shed his winter coat and boy, oh boy, is he looking good!!

Brego is very cute--when I'm in the garden he usually comes and finds me there and stands outside the fence near me, just watching.  I'm sure he's waiting for a pet, or better yet, a handful of grass, but it's awfully nice of him to keep me company.

I've been wanting to canter on him, but his canter is so uneven and he's a bit rocky just getting into it, and I've been hesitant.  I told Tim recently that it would be good for me to canter Cody again, just to get used to the feel of it and feel more comfortable.  Today I got on Cody, and starting in the round pen worked on trotting and cantering.  Boy, it's been so long even since I've trotted!  On Brego, I get into his foxtrot gait often, but he doesn't really trot much (so why bother?).  Anyway, I got to feeling much more comfortable trotting, then cantering on Cody, then we went out to the pasture and cantered in the bigger space.  I must say it was nice to ride Cody again--he turns when I ask him to, speeds up when I ask, stops when I ask...very nice.  I've gotten accustomed to Brego's lack of respect.  I need to be more consistently tough with Brego, to get him to respond when I ask!  

Meanwhile, while I was on Cody, Tim worked with Brego on his canter (and other issues).  Later, I got onto Brego in the round pen with Tim there (and Cody standing in the middle).  I got him cantering several times and felt quite comfortable.  Yahoo!  I'm not experienced enough to notice, but Tim was pointing out that he often uses the wrong lead when circling to the left.  So, we worked on turning his head in (to the left) when cantering toward the left, to get him into the left lead.  Tim would have me canter a bit, then slow down, then canter again, and so on.  We will need to work on this some more, but it was nice to feel successful.

Brego still is not as responsive on his left side--he doesn't turn as well that way, I've already mentioned he doesn't pick up the left lead, and he also doesn't flex to the left as well for lateral flexion exercise.  He chews on the bit and resists for quite some time before giving in.  We will continue to work on that, and some day I'll read this and remember what it used to be like.

Today the horses all got their shoes for the summer.  We thought about leaving them shoeless, but after the last time they were trimmed, we took them out on the road, and they didn't seem to like the gravelly road.  We don't know what all kinds of conditions we'll be in on our rides, so Tim decided to go ahead and get them shoed as usual.

We plan to work with them some more for a bit during the day tomorrow (Friday), then take them out for a ride on Saturday.  Our first trail ride for the summer is coming up, June 12-14 in the Black Hills.  We're looking forward to it, and gradually getting ready.  This year we will be taking along Misha, the 15 year old son of some friends of ours, and he'll be able to ride Cody.  It'll be nice to take all three horses along and not leave anyone home alone.