Cold day, cold back?



I’ve had a few nice rides on Derby since switching to Christy’s Isabell, good enough for me to pull the trigger when I found one for sale – cheap – online last week.  It arrives tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to putting a medium-narrow gullet in it and seeing how Derby goes, and I hope the results are better than what I experienced today.

Who knows if it was the cold (possible). some sore muscles (unlikely) or (more likely) an attitude issue, but Derby was a bit of a cow today.  He was very resistant, head tossing and inverted.  He *could* go nicely when I really rode him into it, but we spent an inordinate amount of time being ridiculous.   He felt very tense, and a bit explosive – a far cry from the sedate creature of last week.  He was way behind my leg, and unwilling to go forward freely.

At Christy’s suggestion, I hopped up into  a two point, to get off his back.  While we had been working for about a half hour at that point, we hadn’t accomplished much, and he didn’t seem to be improving.



After about a lap, the quality of the trot started to improve.  Christy reminded me to use my core – even in the two point – to improve my balance, and the horse registered a little approval, relaxing a bit more.  I was able to put him together then, but he still resisted a bit.

It was a bit colder tonight, in the low 20’s by the time I mounted up.  It didn’t feel like cold weather silliness (he’s quite forward in those cases.) This was something different, and I think it was a cold back.  I didn’t detect any soreness after my ride, so who knows.  I’ll put a quarter sheet on him next time, and will do my warm up in two-point to see if that does the trick.

A bit more relaxed.

A bit more relaxed.




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.

7 Responses to Cold day, cold back?

  1. elizabeth says:

    I read your blogs regularly. Thank you for posting about OTTBs. Sometimes they just get so stiff and resilient. I believe they are always testing us….they learn that from am early age. And never get it out of them. Testing testing testing.

    • Sarah Skerik says:

      Thanks for the note, Elizabeth. I think you’re right about the testing, there are some around which you simply can’t let your guard down. On the other hand, you have to listen to the horse too. Derby was not himself last night. He did improve when I hopped into two-point and got off his back, though, which is what makes me think was a bit cold-backed. We’ll see how things are on Saturday, when I ride again. 🙂

  2. tbdancer says:

    I have an OTTB with chronic tight back (he reared and flipped over at the track and twice after I bought him–he does not want to be rushed and wants so desperately to please he’s fearful that he will be punished if he doesn’t do exactly what the handler wants–I know now why he was so happy to stop racing). I haven’t dealt with this issue for more than a decade, but the damage–the stiff back–is always there. The quarter sheet is wonderful. It gets cold where I live, too, and I ride him with it even today (he’s 19 now, I got him when he was 4) and he’s a happy guy. Fingers crossed it works for you.

    • Sarah Skerik says:

      Thanks for sharing your story! I have pulled out my thickest and warmest quarter sheet, and will try it on Saturday when I ride again. I also ordered a Back On Track saddle pad, which will arrive mid next week. The reviews of the pad on SmartPak’s site are full of TB owners raving. Back tension is a TB issue, so I hope this helps!

  3. Net says:

    Any chance he’s magnesium deficient? I do not believe in Mg as a calming supplement – but do believe it helps horses who carry excessive tension in their muscles, particularly back and over the haunches. I was telling the trainer working with T that when I put him on Mg 10 days later there was a sudden and drastic change in the feel of his body which lasted. Of course, it’s what allowed him to buck when stressed and naughty rather than “just” lightening in front and launching forward like he used to… 🙂

    • Sarah Skerik says:

      I don’t think he’s Mg deficient – he’s been on the same supplement (Mag 5000) as Tuscon for several months, then when the weather turned colder, I switched to SmartCalm Ultra, which has 10,000 mg of Mg per serving. I’m happy with the SmartCalm thus far – Derbs was a bit of a rocket last winter, doing stupid things like teleporting halfway across the arena when someone opened a door. (Knocking wood) I’ve not seen any of that behavior this year, since using the SmartCalm. 🙂

  4. Net says:

    I think I forgot to subscribe to comments with that post, so this time I’m checking the little box. 😉

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