May 25, 2012 3 Comments
I’m feeling pretty good about our upcoming outing this weekend. We’ve done some good work this week, and have made some real progress on our road back to respectability. My strength and endurance are ratcheting up, and I’m better able to carry myself. As I take more responsibility for myself, Derby responds by moving more correctly.
What has been really interesting for me has been to watch how changes in my riding are reflected in the horse’s body language, especially his mouth.
When I’m not balanced, not fully independent with my hands, and when I’ve not put the horse together, Derby goes around “smiling” but not out of joy. His lips are curled back and his mouth gapes. I think it’s the horse equivalent of gritted teeth.
But when I put myself (and subsequently, the horse) together, and he stretches into the contact, the mouth is closed.
I ride Derby in a plain cavesson, for two reasons. First, and foremost, a flash is not the solution to our problems. And secondarily, I simply don’t like the way flashes look, though I do understand the role they play in stabilizing a bit and helping to prevent a horse from crossing his jaw. But as I said, gaping resistance on Derby’s part is a direct result of poor riding on mine.
The aforementioned cavesson, and the rest of our tack, are in the garage, freshly cleaned and soaking up some oil. I’ll buff everything to a shine tonight, and then tackle my grimy boots. Then we’ll be ready – really and truly ready – for our outing tomorrow. We’re going out at Intro A and B – again – but hopefully we’ll pass the test and will be declared ready to start thinking seriously about Training.