We’re on our way!
June 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Things are looking up for Derby. He seems to be settling into his herd, establishing himself as the low man on the totem pole. However, when I watched him interact with the three geldings with whom he shares turnout, they seemed to be settled into a groove, moving each other around with a nasty look – no real violence.
The bumps and bruises (and sore muscles) that unfortunately accompany introduction into a new herd seem to be subsiding. This week I rode Derby a couple times, and he moved out pretty well.
Because he had the winter off, Derby isn’t terribly fit. He’s in good condition – sleek and shiny – but needs to develop more strength, flexibility and endurance (as does his rider, frankly.) Right now, rides are short – I’m doing 10-15 minutes of warm up at the walk, working on his suppleness during that period. While we walk, I ask him to follow a direct rein, which he does nicely, turning his head quietly when I ask. I also move him around from my seat, using one seatbone, and then the other, to move in a shallow serpentine. He’s good at this and very responsive, which bodes well for us! Finally we do some shoulder in.
Trot work is a great way to build condition on a horse, and that’s where we’ll be focusing for a while. Right now, we’re doing about 3 laps of the indoor, both ways. Happily, Derby has a nice, rhythmic cadence to his trot, so we don’t have to work on that. As he gets fitter, we’ll emphasize stretching into contact, and moving out into a bigger gait. For the moment, though, what’s really important is building strength and correct muscle, to protect against injury and support our development together.
On Wednesday night, I got some very decent stretch from Derby, and he was working nicely over his back. Building top line is a key priority, and this is the way to do it.
On Thursday, I took the day off work, and Derby had his first farrier appointment since arriving at Silver Fern. It was a non-event – he’s a good boy, and stood nicely the whole time. Later that afternoon, we had our saddle fitting appointment with Kate Lamacki, the Master Saddler from Barrington Saddlery. We tried a few saddles on Derby, and I rode him in an Albion that we both really liked. It’s reasonably priced and hopefully we’ll be able to get one ordered soon. In the meantime, we determined that the Schleese I had on trial wasn’t a good fit, so that one went back. I’ll continue to ride in my Wintec Isabell until the new saddle arrives.
I’m going to be away for the next few days. Hopefully, Christy’s schedule will enable her to do a training ride on Derby. And then, on to next week, when the consistent work will begin!