July 8, 2012 1 Comment
My riding has been on hiatus for a few weeks. Derby was back sore after the last show, and then I went away for more than a week. Between the two of us, we’ve had a bit of a vacation from work. Excruciatingly hot weather last week derailed my plans for Derby – I was going to put him into full training while I was away. But a week of 100+ temperatures really slowed down Christy’s schedule. So while I loafed on the beach, Derby spent his days sunbathing and enjoying attention from Caitlin and Hanna, who groomed him and gave him refreshing showers while I was away.
Thankfully, temperatures have swung downward, and today was a beautiful, breezy day in the mid-80’s. I started the day with a visit to Jag, who really enjoyed the vigorous currying and brisk shower I gave him. Then I met Christy at the barn to go look at some Thoroughbreds that are coming off the track. We saw some real beauties and some solid-citizens in the making. We were like kids in a candy store!
Finally, we made it back to Silver Fern. I fetched Derbs, cleaned him up and hopped on. There’s something to be said for taking a little break from riding – it helps still the chattering voices that tend co accompany most rides. I simply focused riding Derbs forward and out into the contact. That was it. I kept my hands still, and made a point of staying out of his face, focusing instead on inviting him to stretch into the bit. His back came up and we had a pretty decent ride. We cantered a bit too, and I almost got a canter-walk transition (Derbs threw a single trot step in) when I half halted and asked for the downward. I took it easy, only riding about a half-hour, to ensure we both have plenty in the tank for our lesson tomorrow.
Even though today was a lot cooler than it’s been, it’s clear that the heat has taken a toll on the horses. Jag, who has been in full dappled bloom, has lost some weight. So has Derby, to the point where I had the vet out to look at him and pull blood. Everything looks normal, so she’s having me keep him in at night, and keep up the supplemental feeding (extra hay, beet pulp, soaked alfalfa, etc.). We’re set to have cooler temperatures all week. I’m looking forward to riding, and I think we’ll all enjoy the more moderate weather.