Sunday, October 14, 2007

Serts @ Percy Warner

This morning, I took Serts out for a good ride at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, TN. I arrived early, around 7:45 AM, to find the place hopping. Apparently, there was a big horse show going on and I could hear the announcers already going. Wow. Fortunately, I was able to get parked in the gravel lot.

I unloaded Serts and proceeded to saddle him up in my Abetta endurance saddle that I normally use for Tanna. (Serts danced all around trying to see and talk to all the other horses!) My saddle appears to fit Serts as well. Last week at Yellowhammer, I purchased a new blue breast collar for him from Teddy of Running Bear. I used a halter/bridle combination (also from Running Bear).

Serts has an issue with throwing his head up and running too high-headed and hollow-backed. I don't like this posture, so instead of using a Little S hackamore, like with Tanna, I had Serts in a simple low port curb bit. He already knows the head down cue (pull and release the reins to get the horse to lower his head), but I needed something that would help him remember for longer. With a hack, Serts will bob his head instead of leaving it down. Once he learns to go with his back rounded instead of hollow, I hope to outfit him in a Little S hack.

We went a little over 12 miles over the trails, repeating some of the loop to get in all the miles. Serts did great. I adopted a trot for 7-8 minutes and walk for 2-3 pattern. It wasn't totally rigid, but a guideline to help keep him moving without neglecting some walking breaks. I also threw in a canter or two for variety. We also took an 8 minute (or so) break for me to have a pit stop and adjust Serts' tack a little. And when Daniel called while I was on trail, we walked for an additional 8 minutes or so.

Serts did an excellent job at going with a rounded back. I didn't ask him to lower his head too far, just not to have it up too high. I was very pleased and plan to keep him in this curb bit during his training period.

All in all, it was a very successful ride. We went just at 12.5 miles which is 1/2 of an LD ride at an overall average of 5.4 mph, which is also back of the pack speed. I have my eye on getting Serts in shape to do some LD (Limited Distance: 25 - 35 mile rides) rides next season if presented with the opportunity for such. He has great recoveries and seems to trot out (in hand; necessary for vet checks) better than Tanna. I just have to get his muscles in shape.

I'm having so much fun riding Serts, which is honestly a bit of a surprise to me. I attempted to ride him a few years ago, but we were always at odds somehow. But the last few rides with him this fall have been just lovely. Looks like the "old man" (at 18 years old) now has a new job.

Here is our ride over at MotionBased.com:

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