Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Spring means flowers, warmer temps, mud
 & getting back in the saddle after a winter layoff.
Sometimes the horses aren't as enthused
 about it as the riders.
 So we take it slow, getting the horses
 and ourselves back into condition
and the right frame of mind.
First off, tack adjustments are made,
as the horses sometimes gain or lose weight over the winter.
Last fall's cinch may be a tad tight
after standing around all winter eating hay!

Then we do some suppling exercises
 with the horses,
bending their bodies and necks, 
kinda like pilates for horses.
We look for any soreness or stiffness
 while getting them ready to carry their rider.

And we warm them up by lunging them on a rope in circle.
Just like humans,
 their muscles need to warmed up before exercising.
 Sometimes this is when we see Spring fever
 erupt in our horses with lots of bucks & kicks! 

Rocky looks pretty calm about it!
Maybe that big hay belly is weighing him down!

Finally, back in the saddle.
We opted to stay in the arena today,
 since the winds were pretty brisk.
Horses tend to be unsettled in windy weather
since they can't hear any approaching predators
 and will jump & startle easily in windy conditions. 
Instead, we worked on speed control, transitioning up & down through various speeds 
and just making our horses listen to us.
And we did some drill team maneuvers and games,
like shown above. 

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