Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

I no longer doubt.

A night of movement around a pasture and a warm sunny day have tamed the fire-breathing monster. Brego was his ol' self again, with a little more gas and more balance. He was in a good mood and he even talked to me a bit.

I started the day with some longeing and although I got a few head tosses, he was very obedient. Not quite as brilliant and sharp as with my trainer, but that's to be expected, and at this point, welcome. I can tune him up later when I have the skills to handle him. For now, I need him to be with me. I need him to work with me.

Since the longing went so well, I kept it short and tacked up with my dressage saddle. There were no jumps at this facility, so I couldn't see how his new canter handled fences. I thought I would just work on a nice forward trot instead, with some adjustment within the gait. This is something we have always struggled with.

We started the ride and his magnetic pull to the trailer was strong, so I worked a long time on him not dropping that inside shoulder and bending correctly in a large circle around the field. It took some convincing, but he started to understand he was not going to get back to the trailer that way. He did great on adjusting the trot, he's started to let me place his balance and then motor off my leg into a bigger trot.

I then asked for a canter and was treated to a wonderful ride across the field, big but slow at the same time. He was balanced and contained, it felt amazing. I started to play with adjustability within the canter, which is brand new for us. He finally has the strength and balance to lengthen ever so slightly without tumbling forward and then with a firm half halt, come back to me. He was still very heavy by anyone's standards, but I was very happy.

Turning to the left, I got two kick outs from him when I successfully blocked his shoulder from drifting to the trailer. His response was funny. "So you won't let me fall out to the trailer, eh, take this!" and out he would kick. His kicks were so big they knocked him off balance and he fell into the wrong lead. So I would collect, get my butt back into the saddle and do a simple change to get him back and around we would go again. When he got to the point of the circle closest to the trailer he again tried to duck out and my outside rein stopped him and he again kicked out. Foiled again!

A couple more times around and he stopped trying to duck and we stopped for the day. So still some resistance, but easily manageable and only half-hearted. A kick out is the mildest of Brego's angry displays. I can handle that.

After the ride, he talked to me again as I was untacking and I was remarking on the difference a day made. It was good Brego was back because there was a gorgeous Irish Intermediate eventing horse at the barn, nice and big, who was being sold for a very reasonable price (read: dirt cheap) because he didn't want to go advanced. He wanted to be a training level packer. Sounds about perfect for me, eh? I could just throw him on the trailer and be on my way.

But what would I do with Brego? He's come so far and we've had so much fun. And I really do love the horse he is and only half love the horse he will be. Plus, I am not good enough for some mid-level Irish sporthorse. That talent is wasted on me. Brego and I just fit and we'll get better together and then we will see where we go.


Funder said...

Oh, whew. After yesterday's post I was really worried about you two! So glad to hear Brego's back to normal.

Anonymous said...

I learn a lot about riding reading your blog. thanks!