Fix it — NOW

As you may imagine, I’m pretty happy that Derbs didn’t need surgery after all.  While I would never hesitate to put the horse first, nonetheless, I’m really glad that we’re not heading into weeks of stall rest – especially as others are prepping for a schooling show at Silverwood in early May!

I really dialed things back pre-surgery, figuring that if he was going to be stallbound for a while, it would be better to not ramp up his fitness levels immediately prior to the time off.  So we did easy rides.  Now, however, it’s officially go time.  We need to balance getting to work with not over-doing things.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, and I took the afternoon off to deal with the logistics of returning Derby to Silver Fern, and to hang out and enjoy the day.  I watched Christy take Remy for a spin while Derby had some turn out time, then I brought him in and tacked up.   I decided to try using my Perfect Balance saddle pad with the new, thinner inserts I had purchased recently, but after about 15 minutes of really crappy work with no forward, I hopped off and put my old fleece pad on, and took Derby outside.

Things improved but by that time we were full on into feeding time – the other horses were being brought in, everyone was calling to everyone, and the parking lot was filling up.  It turned into a good test of my ability to deal with a distracted horse.

In my lessons, whenever Derby catches me out and pops his nose up, inverts or lets a shoulder bulge, Christy is on my case, insisting that I “Fix that! Fix it now!”  I practiced “fixing it” with Derby, getting busy with my inside leg, and really concentrating on not restricting him with unyielding hands.  It took some doing but eventually I had a much more pliant horse, and got some decent trot going both directions.

Tonight I had lesson, and things went pretty well as we warmed up.  As we got going. Christy started to ask me to “fix” certain things.  Get a decent trot. Make him rounder.  Add more bend in the corners.  Get those back legs going!   I knew I had to up the ante on the quality, so I went back to a key lesson from the Dover clinic last year.  Every corner is an opportunity to half halt and rebalance.

Going into the short side, I half-halted, applied inside leg, softening the inside rein while making sure not to throw the outside rein away.  “Better, that’s better…” the boss commented, as I held a smaller trot gait down the short side, half halting again before the corner, then adding bend.  “That looks good!” was the ensuing comment.

Derby started to run out of gas as we did some circles, so Christy asked for a canter to see if it would wake him up.  I sat, and asked, and happily, the canter quality was decent, my lower leg stayed still and when we transitioned downward, we had some nice trot.  A few minutes later, we did it again, then switched directions. I was really happy that we got the right lead correctly both times (that had been a little sticky for us) and that over all, my position was decent.  I’m glad that’s not fallen apart in the time off!

We’re doing another lesson tomorrow, and I’m going to try to get out to the barn early on Friday morning for a ride, before taking the next two days off.  I’m just so glad be riding, versus nursing a bored, ouchy, stall-bound pony!




About Sarah Skerik
Sarah Skerik is an experienced digital business executive and strategist with a long track record of success in team leadership, employee development, marketing and business development.

One Response to Fix it — NOW

  1. Net says:

    I’m glad Derbs is back! Fix it NOW and don’t allow evasions was my #1 takeaway from my clinic with Jeremy Steinberg. Even as we were working to deal with Tucson’s massive tension that makes him get airborne at times, it was don’t let him get above the bit, don’t let him swing haunches out, drop a shoulder, etc. Keeping on top of those little things was what it took to get his mind on me and his tension out. For me it has become a survival thing, which has him improving ridiculously quickly as a reward. (My position, on the other hand… not so much. I need him to correct me every time my leg is in the wrong place, I lean forward, I roll onto my crotch… he’s more forgiving than I am!)

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