My Schoolmaster

derby and me

He’s as good as Christy at diagnosing what I’m doing wrong.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and since I’ve ridden for that matter.  Between travel for work, and a nasty cold, it’s been more than a week since I last rode.   And when more than a few days passes between rides, I tend to fell pretty out of whack.

“Out of whack” has been a recurring theme for me lately, as we’ve been doing more work on my position.  We also determined that my hands have become unsteady, causing Derby to object stridently. So regaining some semblance of independence in my hands has been at the top of my list.

For my first ride back (yesterday) I spent a lot of time in two-point, reawakening my riding muscles (and garnering a protest from them this morning.)  Then, once I was warmed up, I started to build some connection by not shortening the reins, but by working on riding Derby out and down into contact.  By keeping my hands where they belong, above his withers, I was able to create contact that Derby could start to trust not to jab him in the mouth.

Any time I erred, and started to draw my hands back to my hips, my schoomaster would let me know immediately, by inverting and flinging his head.  As soon as I would push my hands forward, back to where they belong, Derby rewarded me by rounding and moving nicely.

Today I was able to accomplish more.  I could feel things clicking into place and we had some nice work.  Best of all, the work on my position has paid dividends, in the form of more effective aids.  In addition to moving forward nicely, Derby is also responding very well to my requests for lateral movement.  Christy has commented that it’s our job to create the space we want the horse to fill, and I’m starting to experience that first hand.

I have one more ride tomorrow night before heading out of town for a few days, and I have more travel coming up over the next couple weeks.  Things will be spotty for a while, but the feedback from my schoolmaster makes getting back on track easier!


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.

2 Responses to My Schoolmaster

  1. Net says:

    Ha! I just posted on the AA group page about the fact Tucson has become a schoolmaster for me. 🙂 You can see his hollowing/head movement and neck twisting in response to me riding poorly at moments in the video I posted. Sensitive horses: Improving riders who will listen worldwide! 🙂

  2. I videoed our last ride before the mystery lameness. Upon reviewing it repeatedly, slow mo and frame by frame – not for the faint hearted – I realized how very unsteady my contact is. When I would (momentarily) get the straight line hand to bit, Val’s head reached down and forward + his back came up immediately

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