|while i love and fully advocate for ground work, i'm not big on longeing down a horse.|
however this thing is so fucking lazy i can pop him on the line for five minutes and have
his full and complete attention under saddle right away. #winning
The intense warm up we got at the end of last week reportedly made everyone hot and tired while it seemed to do the complete opposite to Opie. He turned into a certified sass machine and was full of himself under saddle.
His trot work continues to be his strong point. He's pretty maneuverable at this gait, and if I buckle down and ride him for what I want, he usually responds. His walk is naturally pretty nice, but he's naturally
|default walk right off the bat. not the worst.|
The canter. Ohhhhh the canter.
I should feel grateful that it's even where it's at now as it took Bobby a full year to be able to canter a twenty mete circle. That's not an exaggeration. It does, however, vacillate between "Wow, I've really got something here." to "Wow, how are you still cantering while you're essentially doing a hand stand?"
The end of last week was the latter.
He struck off into the left lead squealing in exuberance every single time, and while a lot more bargey than I would have liked, it wasn't too horrible. On Saturday with his new bit (more on that in a second), he was magically not ripping my arms out, but also finally seemed a little tired. Right now I'll take flat and controllable over giant and pulling.
To the right, on Thursday we switched directions and he immediately got anxious. I went through the routine of doing some circles, some serpentines, and some transitions to settle him down, and he finally stopped chomping. I asked, got the left lead, brought him back, and tried again. He was not having it to the point where I finally told him to get over himself and get on with it. I wasn't being unfair. I wasn't asking him to do something out of the realm of his experience. I was setting him up for success.
Right then BM walked into the ring and told me he got in trouble the night before for being a little stud coming in at night. That was exactly the feeling I was getting. He was no longer anxious, he was angry. He tried bullying me out of what I wanted by rooting the reins out my hands and diving onto his forehand insanely bad. I finally got it, but every time we turned he tried ripping the reins away and turning the opposite direction. He wasn't successful, but we ended on me winning the turning battle after he struck out at the wall with a front leg as we were turning and almost falling over.
Attitude. The Side Eye King has it.
On Friday I stuffed the right lead in within the first five minutes of my ride. I didn't let him build up to it, got it over with in a flash, and moved on. Which left him the left lead to try all his midget baby horse tricks, and at which point I made the executive decision the friendly copper eggbutt is momentarily getting kicked to the curb in exchange for a slow twist until there's a line of communication at the canter that doesn't involve bodily pulling me from the tack.
Saturday he landed off the jump in good spirits so I asked for the right lead straight away. He willingly gave it, then took a wonky step on the short side that you can see in the video and pulled up the slightest bit uneven. He was completely sound the next day, so I'm assuming he stepped on a buried frozen manure ball or clump of frozen footing. So long as he's not lame tomorrow, I will refrain from freaking out. Probably.
|why yes, i do treat the shit out of him. |
i also beat him when he's bad, so it evens out.
The thing I like about this horse--well, to be fair there are several things, but the thing that keeps me from braining him at the canter--is that there is a brain in there. He's not a spooky horse, and he stands up to pressure. I think he's just reached a new comfort level and is starting to test things out. I'm okay with that. I like that some real personality is coming out, and hopefully I can figure out how to channel it for good instead of evil.
Despite how I wrapped up my last post, I really want to focus on not being a passenger. I need to ride him like an experienced, trained horse even though he's not yet. If I never teach him the things I want him to know, if I never ask anything hard of him, then he's most definitely never going to be able to do them. I need to stop being so cautious and up my expectations--of myself almost more than the horse.
|he's pretty fucking cute.|
I started in on my second de Kunffy book last night (The Athletic Development of the Dressage Horse), and right off the bat found this quote that fell right into place for me:
The rider and coach should often do what the horse enjoys doing but they should also like to learn what must be done. Thus, the virtuous rider knows both the pleasures of harmonizing with the best of the horse's achievements and repeating successful lessons that give both his horse and himself pleasure. But the rider must also learn of the pleasure that comes from a decreased threshold of pain. The virtue of greater endurance for what must be endured.