12.06.30: Trot Steps at the Walk

After cleaning up from the raging winds and storm the night before, I decided it was going to be smartest to work Storm early. I didn't want to deal with the heat, and was expecting to end up pretty warm pretty quick. It was quiet around the barn that early, and so I was happy to take advantage of it. I dressed to deal with the heat and headed out the door to find that it was no where near as hot as I was expecting. Still anticipating that it was going to warm up, I decided against lunging Storm in favor of riding. I assumed it would be warm enough that he'd sweat up anyway and I could check sweat patterns after I untacked. 
I guessed wrong. Turned out the temp was in the mid-70's, and there was a comfortable breeze blowing. It was a tad warm in the sunshine, but not unbearable at all. Storm was in a good frame of mind, and so I asked him to do a little work along the fence stepping up with his hind leg. He felt better than he has before, and so we did a little work moving around the arena breathing to a stop to help solidify that lesson. It was good practice for me to keep breathing, and to be clear with my intent. It doesn't sound like much, but that was enough to keep my brain quite busy!
I decided to climb up and was pleased to find that Storm's frame of mind was as good in the saddle as it was from the ground. He gave me the saddle willingly when I mounted, and then waited for me to get settled before we moved off. Event being calm, he had a good energy in his step, and I could feel him shifting around. It was almost as if his energy was trotting even though we were walking. I experimented with calming that energy by breathing and adding energy in to produce the trot. He was having trouble maintaining the trot, and I am sure that it had something to do with me getting in his way in some fashion. I worked on asking him to trot, and then had to encourage him to continue trotting after the first half dozen strides in order to maintain the gait and produce something I could work with to find my balance and work on stabilizing his. It wasn't easy, but it was a nice challenge for us. We balanced the quicker trot work with focused walk work, and made sure that he wasn't leaning on my hands. In experimenting it seems to be easier for me to ask him to step up from behind than it is to pull him to a stop once he's on the forehand. I will need to talk this over with Kirsten to determine if asking him to step up is a better method or if there is some reason that I should haul him to a stop once he's done his nose dive. I don't want to excite him, but at the same time I want him to stay balanced on his own. He's to big to balance on me!!
We worked for a while to the left and then back to the right again. I found the same pattern that I did the last time I rode - we struggle to the left, and the right seems easier. I'm not sure if it is my imagination or not. We'll have to do more research. Since I didn't bring any extra equipment with me, I opened the gate and we rode up the hill. He maintained a level head through that, which made me happy, and so we called it quits for the day. I was disappointed to find that he was barely sweaty at all. The patches that he did have were concentrated under the rear of the saddle, and under the girth. I am very much looking forward to having Jeffra check both of us out this weekend to see who needs straightening! Its probably both of us...
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