Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Barrels of fun and a birthday ride

My birthday was yesterday.  Panama was anxious, impatient, and jumpy on my birthday, so I didn't ride — I'm not going to tempt fate in that manner!  But we did flank my birthday with a great ride on either end — a wonderful ride indoors on Monday, and a lovely trail ride this morning.

For Monday's ride I met Spaghetti's owner at the barn, and after turning the horses out to play, we tacked up and took them indoors.  It was evening, and we were literally the only ones at the barn, so we had the indoor arena to ourselves.  I took a couple of barrels down and set them up at one end of the arena, leaving the other as a "safe zone" for cantering.

Both horses did great!  Panama had had a head start on barrel work, so he wasn't as concerned about them as Spaghetti was at first — Spaghetti had to be hand walked around them and the top of each barrel.  He had a couple of spooks as we were riding, too.

Panama, on the other hand, was very good, with no spooks and very little nervousness.  His big accomplishment was allowing me to ride him to where my sweatshirt was hanging on the rail so that I could pick up the sweatshirt (something he has freaked out about in the past) and drape it across my lap.  Then I rode him up to one of the barrels and dropped the sweatshirt on it.  He jumped a little when I first picked it up, and was unwilling at first to leg yield over to the barrel so I could drop the sweatshirt on it, but he was much better about the whole thing than I expected.

But then he was afraid of the barrel with the sweatshirt on it.  Two steps forward and one step back, right?

We also worked a bit on cantering — Panama has been throwing his inside shoulder in a lot lately, so I'm trying to get him to pick it up.  Spaghetti's owner had him follow us in the hopes that he would canter, too, and it seemed like he came really close, but he wouldn't quite do it.  She thinks Spaghetti isn't sure about cantering with someone on his back, because the only way she's been able to get him to do it was early on, when she had someone lunge him while she rode.  It feels like she is close to a breakthrough with it, though, so maybe next time!

Today's ride was equally as satisfying.  I wasn't expecting him to be so good, because both Savvy's and Zans's owners had tacked up at the same time, and usually that gets him all fired up.  But we all rode in the outdoor arena, and he was really good — Panama was able to walk, trot, and canter with virtually no issues with rushing or acting buddy bound — so we all decided to do our "short loop" in the park.

Panama led almost the entire time, and didn't even throw a tantrum over not being able to graze (Savvy, who foundered earlier this spring, can't have any of the super-rich spring grass that the park is full of right now).  He startled a couple of times, but hardly moved his feet (if at all) each time.  He was calm, relaxed, and happy the entire time.  Wow!  What a wonderful birthday present, even if it was a day late!



At April 27, 2011 at 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday! Glad you got in a couple of good flanking rides.

At May 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks Kate! Too bad my birthday week ended with a fall, eh? ;o)


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