Back to work

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We are officially back to work.  I don’t have any travel for the next month, and, well there are some schooling shows coming up …. but I digress.  We’re back to work, and Christy is approving – our work is consistently more correct, and it’s my fervent hope that we’ll see the results in the form of some more muscle on that skinny neck.

I added a lesson, so we worked with Christy four times this week – we have to keep up this momentum. After our nice ride on Monday, I got a little over-motivated and rode Tucker before my ride on Derbs, after a killer Pilates session.  Needless to say, I was almost out of gas by the time my lesson rolled around, but we had a few nice moments before I pooped out.  Then on Wednesday, it was Derby’s turn – the horses were inside due to pouring rain and wind, and after a few more strenuous rides, standing around in his stall did him no favors.  He felt blah and was really underpowered in his hind end, so we worked on some stretchy trot, and then rode the intro tests for variety.

Two point.  Ow ow ow.

Two point. Ow ow ow.

Today we were both back on form for the most part, so we worked on some canter – which at the outset is going to be focused on conditioning and really getting Derby to move out at the trot.  He still wants to duck behind my leg , which we need to fix.   We’ll be addressing

But we’re putting things together.  The pieces feel like they’re starting to come together.  I’m trying not to be too impatient, so Derby will get a day off tomorrow, and I’ll ride Tuck to keep myself going.



Moving forward … literally

Enjoying some treats after a good ride tonight

Enjoying some treats after a good ride tonight

It’s been an interesting couple days at the ranch.  Wintec Isabel #5 arrived safe and sound to its new forever home with me.  I swear I will never sell this saddle. I put the medium narrow (green) gullet in, and we had our first ride in it on Sunday.  It was a nice ride with pretty much none of the resistance I had experienced last week.   Great, I thought.  The other saddle didn’t fit well and we’re back in business.


Unfortunately the resistance returned in my lesson on Wednesday.  So I had some behavior I had to deal with.  Awesome.

Last night, the ride went well for about 30 minutes until a walk break. When I asked Derby to march forward in a working walk, he resisted, hollowing, throwing his head and even getting a little light in front, like he was thinking about going up. He was so far behind my leg it wasn’t funny, and when your horse won’t go forward, it’s not fun.   I tried to work through it, but simply put, I wasn’t ready to escalate.  I told Christy of my trepidation, and we struck off at the trot.  It’s easier for me to ride assertively at the trot, if only because I have more forward momentum.   Christy had me ride Derby through some tight serpentines, to get his braced neck unlocked and to get more control over his hind legs.  I had to ride it but it worked well – I got him more forward and we did some quality work.   But I left the walk alone, doing breaks and cooling down on the buckle.

I went home and hit the books, which all reinforced what Christy had told me during the ride – that (among other things) I have to keep control over the hind legs, asking the horse to step under himself.   So I resolved to not tolerate the resistance, and to correct it when when it first appeared.

Tonight we had a better ride.  A couple times when Derby thought about throwing his head up, I spun him around, with a strong kick from my inside leg.  His resistance disappeared for the most part.  I got very good contact and he was enthusiastically forward, which was nice because Derby was evading the bit in addition to being behind my leg earlier in the week.  The ride was fun and afterward, Derby got lots of cookies!

This is my creation and my problem to fix.  I think we’re headed in the right direction.