The second-half of the summer, and into this fall, I’ve been battling a string of bad luck and some difficult times with Miles. While I don’t think our issues are 110% resolved yet, I can finally take a step back and say we’ve made significant progress on all fronts.
After our last farrier appointment, the best farrier ever changed Miles’s shoeing just a little bit to hopefully give us more time between resets. So far, it’s been holding up great (*knock on wood*) and Miles is moving really well. He got his second shot of Osphos earlier this month as well, and part of me feels like it’s really working to keep the big guy comfortable. Maybe that’s just my wishful thinking though, since we have no scientific proof. At this point though, I don’t care if it’s science or magic, my horse is sound and I’m ecstatic!
So with all of that taken care of, we’ve been riding. I was worried that with the additional two weeks of stall rest, we’d be starting all over. Luckily though, Miles seems to have remembered his time in boot camp and has been much more agreeable lately about going forward. Things aren’t perfect, that’s for sure, but I’m not experiencing the histronics I was before. What really sealed the deal for me was our last ride. We set up some lines with ground poles to begin working on finding the correct pace.
The hard part for me right now, is I don’t have an innate sense of what the correct pace is. I equate it to an NFL quarterback (sportsball, anyone?!) for my non-horsey friends. Those QBs stand in the pocket and wait, wait, wait to find an open receiver. But while they’re doing that, they need to have this internal clock going that tells them ‘get rid of the ball now!’ because eventually the pocket will collapse and they’ve either got to hit a receiver or throw the ball away. Otherwise they get sacked. In riding, you need that same internal feel for the correct pace (or at least, that’s what I strive for). When you’re going down a line of jumps, you need to be able to know whether to add leg, whoa or stay the same. I have that feeling for the add-stride pace. I don’t have it for the correct stride pace.
At first, this was
difficult nearly impossible for Miles and I because I didn’t have a “go button.” Even if I saw a distance, or knew I needed to add leg to make it, I didn’t get the response I needed from Miles to make it happen. So I’ve been working my ass off to re-install the go button and get him to respect it. Last night, it finally came together for me. We set up a ground pole line for five strides and it wasn’t always perfect — sometimes I got 5, sometimes I got 5 and half. But one time we came around and I purposely did it in 4 strides. I’ve never done that before — gone fast enough to purposefully leave out a stride. And it was easy. We galloped down, I kept my leg on, and it was fine. Go? We’ve got that now.