December Training Update – (yes late, I know)

Difficult GirlIt’s always darkest before the dawn.  One of my favorite clichés and one I tell myself every time something seems like it will never get better.  Here’s another one I hear a lot with horses: things always get worse before they get better.  After my emotional breakdown over Savy and our seemingly sour relationship, things have gotten better.  My last post prompted much advice and support from friends and family, and it’s always nice to hear that someone else has felt the same way.  My trainer was beside herself with worry, but things got better almost immediately.  Savy always knows when I’ve reached my limit.  I’ve also changed a few things.  Savy only gets treats at the end of the ride and when I first greet her, I don’t let her walk off at the mounting block, I make her stand still at the end of each ride.  Basically I’m trying to find easy ways to show my leadership without a conflict.  If I want her to stand still and she moves, I just move her back to where she was and ask her to stand still again.  Savy is OK with me being the boss, happier even, but she needs me to actually act like the boss. I’m also learning there’s a difference between insisting and arguing.

Under saddle I’ve been alternating my regular lessons with lunge lessons.  Lunge lessons are brutal and not very exciting, but the difference in my seat, legs and communication with Savy is noticeable after each lesson.  I’m realizing that Savy is very sensitive, and thanks to Nicole, very technically and correctly trained.  Savy wants me to keep my position very still.  At all times.  She gets pissy during transitions because unknowingly I lean forward, or move my legs, or raise my hands.  She wants to do her job without much fuss from me.  The lunge lessons help me ride with more awareness of my body.

bubbleAnd in the middle of writing this post, I get a phone call that Savy has hurt herself, pretty bad.  Seriously, I’m not joking.  That’s why I’m just now getting around to finishing this post.  Savy went crazy in the field and managed to tear up her legs, including a 4 inch gash down to the bone on her left hind leg.  Surprisingly she missed anything major, actually missed anything at all.  There was no swelling, no blood, no dirt.  She was centimeters away from tearing her tendon and she even missed the tendon sheath.  The girl was never even lame or sore on it.  She was incredibly angry with being stuck in her stall while her friends got to go outside.  After a week she needed a daily dose  of Ace to keep her calm and happy.  I am so lucky to have a trainer like Nicole.  She handled the situation perfectly.  Before I even knew about the injury she had clean it, wrapped it, called the vet, and walked the field to find the culprit (which of course we never found).  She also provided daily care including washing and wrapping.  My job has been to provide Savy moral support (read treats) and hand-walking.  Through all of this she remained a perfect lady.

After two weeks of stall rest Savy was approved for full work again, so she’s riding in the Afredo Hernandez clinic my training is hosting soon.  I would have loved to ride here but since I haven’t been on her back in a while I feel unprepared.  Nicole will ride and I will take pictures 🙂