January 15, 2013 5 Comments
My plans with Derby have come to a halt for the time being, as he’s busy brewing an abscess in his right front. The hoof is warm, and getting warmer, and it’s clearly tender. So as that situation resolves, I’ve been riding Manny and Tucker, and they’ve been giving me invaluable feedback on a bad habit of mine – allowing my hands to creep downward and back, instead of keeping them up over the horse’s withers. It turns out that Manny and Tucker, with their shorter, higher-set necks, are the perfect schoolmasters for this particular problem. They also helped me do a better job of using my inside leg to ride the horse out into the contact, another sticking point for me.
I started tackling the problem while riding Manny in a lesson. Christy caught me pulling his head in, instead of riding him out to the contact, so she had me focus on sitting up and carrying my hands correctly, keeping them quiet, while at the same time using my inside leg to encourage Manny to bend and soften. As I did so, Manny responded positively. His back came up and he really engaged for me. The lesson for me was “less is more, but ‘less’ has to be correct.”
I also had a very redemptive ride on Tucker recently. He’s well trained but he is really hard for me to ride. However, using some of the tactics from my lesson on Manny, I was finally able to have a decent ride on Tucker. What both rides really showed me is that I am very hands-y, and am over reliant (and flat out incorrect). I have rides on both slated for later this week – I’d like to get this bad habit fixed for once and for all before I get back on the Derbster.