Friday, August 31, 2012

Three Cheers for NF!

Bobby got new feet Thursday! And then I got on and rode him right after because he didn't walk off lame! That alone is worth the extra money. So quick NF run down:
  • He had his assistant pull the old shoes and spent a long time mulling over what's left of Bobby's poor feet. He asked if he's on a hoof supplement (he is), how long he's been on it (only four months), and then asked me if I ever watched the Three Stooges as the only way to describe Bobby's feet were "a messterpiece."
  • He decided to do aluminium shoes with clips on the fronts because the nails are smaller. He'll stay in these until his wall grows out enough to hold a steel shoe which "won't be this summer." Steel shoes also with clips on the hinds.
  • He declared Bobby "the only Thoroughbred in this barn that doesn't have a stifle issue." Happy dance! Bobby's stifles have always been his major downfall, but it looks like all the hill work has paid off.
  • He filled everything in with acrylic and sent him on his way. He took twice as long to do him as OF did, but it was because he actually took the time to study his foot instead of just slapping on a pair of new shoes--not even the old ones since they would have undoubtably fallen off by this point.

i gave into the ear net temptation on totd. i thought
this was going to be cream, and not so....buttercup.

We did yet another dressage school when he was done, this time in the outdoor. He was really good for the most part. Good walk and trot work, but at the canter I felt like my stirrups were too long. I put them up a hole and then they felt like they were too short so I lowered them again. Either way, my bum did not want to stay in the saddle. I tried for a flying change, but not even close this time. I ended with one over a little vertical just to "win".

I was going to finish with a little more trot work, but Spyder got let out from getting his toes done and Bobby was all, "Oh my gosh, that is my best friend and he is outside and he is calling out for me and I must go to him nowwwww!!!" To which I replied, "Oh fuck no" and made him pay attention for another fifteen minutes doing hard work to the left.

baby foams.

Today, as promised, was trot set day. We've been doing four five minute trots and two three minute canters with two minute walks, but I decided on a whim to switch it up today. We did two sets of ten minute trot, three minute walk, and six minute canter. It was brutal. Maybe a touch out of our league right now, although to be fair to my trusty steed Bobby recovered a lot better than I did. He did not, for instance, start groaning about how much his calves hurt after the first canter.

headed up the hill to the xcountry field.
He started off a little lethargic and distracted, due mainly to the dozen turkeys that were repeatedly throwing themselves into the boxwire fence we were walking by trying to get to the other side instead of just flying over. Seriously the most retarded animals on the entire planet.

He tried to convince me that he could walk up the big hill or canter up the big hill, but he was in no way capable of trotting up it. Uh huh. I set my hands into his shoulders and kicked him on. He quickly figured out that he could keep hitting himself in the mouth if he wanted to canter, or he could just trot up it pleasantly. He only need one lap to figure that out and the rest of the uphill trots were awesome. He was pushing from behind, his head was down, he had his teeth gritted and was ready to let out a war cry. Or something.

He was a bit of a tool in the canter, switching leads all over the place, usually as we were about to turn a corner and go down a hill where he really needed to be on the correct lead. I don't know if he was tired or unbalanced, or if I was tired or unbalanced and was shifting my own weight and causing him to change, but it was a hot mess. We had to do a couple of circles to regroup and not take a headlong charge on the wrong lead down a big hill. The second set was much better, but he still had two unasked-for changes.

washed out on most horses, for bobby it's just a
normal breastplate sweat on a hot day.
I'm sure we come down the hill looking like we galloped around like lunatics for forty minutes because Bobby is usually white with sweat, but this horse sweats like it's an Olympic sport. I gave him a long hose down to cool him off and he was in his stall alternating between mooching for treats and eating hay in no time.

Jump school tomorrow. Sunday will either be a day off or a trail ride. I'm going to do two light conditioning days next week just to get some more work in on hills, but I haven't figured out which days yet. It's a good thing Bucks has so little terrain or we'd be in serious trouble.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I've been in one of those moods lately. The type of mood where you don't want to do anything, which of course means that there's more to do than usual, and that makes you want to give the finger to all the things. Also, I'm about ready to shank Hubby's little spotted dog who can't seem to stay in the yard for more than half a second lately, even though she's lived here for two years and is well aware of her boundaries.

my dog is the good dog.
she may be slightly rabid, but at least she stays in the yard.

Hubby's family came down Sunday so I spent the day feeding them all the food in the house instead of going to the barn. Seriously, when you make a grocery list for two people and then have to feed eight, food disappears at an alarming rate.

Monday was a dressage ride in the indoor since Bobby's RF shoe was starting to get a little loose; the farrier did not come last week. We worked on halts from w/t/and c and broke up a few movements from the dressage test and practiced them in both directions. Bobby was going really great. He seems to really, really like his bit and we were getting a little bit of frothing at the mouth--even better than foam! Then I asked him to canter to the left and he was like, "I can't bend left!!!" Nothing new there.

I halted him and worked for at least ten minutes trying to get him to turn just his head and neck to the left. He stepped sidewways, he stepped backwards, he spun around in circles, but he wouldn't not bend the way I was asking. He finally got it for about half a second and I let him walk on. Tried the canter again and while not great, it was at least not crooked.

"horsez in the arena?! why iz there horsez up there??"
No ride on Tuesday as I was too busy being busy for once, then another dressage school Wednesday with an even looser shoe. No nails sticking out this time, it wasn't torqued in any way, and he wasn't lame on it so I did a full ride again.

More work on halts, and lots and lots of work on straightness. We were barely on the rail the whole ride. Lots of walking and trotting down the quarterlines, centerline, and across the diagnols. Bobby was a bit of a drunken sailor for the most part. I really have to hold him with my right leg because he likes to bulge out that way during pretty much every exercise we do.

We did a canter exercise where I had him pick up his lead on the quarterline from a walk to see how straight he was. If he was straight, he'd get the correct lead. Well, it took him about six times to get the right friggin' lead. What a mess. When he got it, I let him do two circles and we tried again. By the time we switched directions, I think he kind of cheated and just understood the exercise at this point and picked the correct lead up right off the bat. Of course, he also ran me right into the wall within two strides because he bulged out to the right so badly. Dang it. Keep the right leg on!

We finished with another attempt at flying changes. He switched up front without fail every time, but that's no good. I brought him back to the trot for a stride and he picked up the right lead before we tried again. I was about to give up when the little tanker truck that cleans out the port-a-pottie rolled in. Bobby has some strange aversion to the most ridiculous things trucks with trailers attached and he went flying sideways across the arena before I managed to pull him into a circle. He was snorty, prancy pants so I walked him across the diagnols a few times before picking up the canter again and doing a couple of simple changes. Finally, we came across the diagnol and he switched behind at F, two strides to get through the corner, and switched in front. Yay! Kind of, sort of a real change! I gave him a pat and let him take a victory lap before calling it quits.

srsly worried the truck will eat him while get my water bottle.
The farrier will be here this afternoon! I'm going to try to make it out, but I have so many boring things to do for the first time in forever. Boooo. Trot sets tomorrow for sure, then hopefully some jumping this weekend.

replinished my stock of braiding wire. i lose things too easily.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Real, fun work.

he looks bay in his stall at least.

Friday was finally the return of trot sets! After loosing his shoes, a show, and having to be driven to the barn by Hubby for two weeks whom I didn't want to torture with me trotting around in circles in a field, I headed up to the xcountry field first thing in the morning. Bobby needed the hill work. He seemed to have forgotten how to trot down a hill, let alone canter. I had to use his elevator bit to its full extent a couple of times to lift his front end up from the ground. I didn't even attempt a canter down the big hill, instead trotting/halting/trotting.

ignored by the ladies.
He was uncharacteristically spooky the whole ride. Keep in mind that Bobby Spooks don't even register on a normal horse's spook meter. However, he was snorting and bending his body away from things along the fence line that have been there almost as long as I've been at the barn--a pile of old shavings, a gate in the fence, and a teeny tiny pile of footing off one of the banks. He also had a giant Bobby spook that involved snorting and taking a step sideways at a tree branch that had fallen in the path of the hill. Of course, we had walked by the same tree branch on the way up and he didn't so much as glance at it. Baby Event Horsie is ready to do some real work again.

pony on the move! the mares had a minor mare-induced freak
out that involved them calling to each other and galloping around
for no reason whatsoever.
Hubby was volunteered to volunteer for a charity for his work today so I went to the barn before lessons started to get in a jump school in the outdoor with getting in anyone's way. Without Hubby there to take pictures, I'm going to have to show you by other means. You know what that entails, right?


It's been too long....

Today was about doing more than one jump without falling apart in between. I had to give myself a small pep talk to start off: Get Bobby going forward and don't choke him back! I started off with the tiny striped vertical to the 2'3ish swedish oxer (blue line).

I felt like we were going too fast, but Bobby was taking the jumps so well I didn't touch him. Same old lesson: too fast is just right. After a couple times around, Bobby started to get strung out and I had to actually start riding again and rebalance him between the two fences without slowing him down. It wasn't the smoothest of riding, but it did the trick and we were still nailing the distances. Hallelujah!

We did the big X to the gate (red line) in a forward six with the goal of landing on his left lead. Bobby gave me a perfect flying change during our last canter set yesterday so I knew he still knew them. Frustrated OTTB riders: your horse was taught auto changes as a 2yo. Do not let them fool you. Somewhere in there is a flawless flying change! A stride out from the gate, I took a firmer hold on my left rein, sank a little deeper in my left stirrup, and on take off turned my body to the left. Bobby nailed the change every single time. I let out a "Woo hoo!" the first time.

We did the other diagnol line (green line), but it involved going from the left lead to the right so that was pretty much a given that he'd get it. I strung together a course with those six fences a couple of times and, with some fussy hands between fences to get him back together, he did pretty well. Not perfect, and plenty of room for improvement, but he's getting there. I'm getting there teaching myself to let my horse travel forward.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Things.

New Feet

Fingers crossed, New Farrier is supposed to be out today and Bobby is finally on his list! He only got done three weeks ago so I'm not expecting him to do too much actual work, but his shoes are already a little loose (!) and he's getting hind shoes back on as he's getting a little ouchy behind. I really, really hope New Farrier can help him out....and help him keep his shoes on. NF is more expensive, and hind shoes are going to up the current cost even more, but I'm literally throwing my money away using Old Farrier at this point.

New Rockin' Bod

For me! Well, that's the plan anyway. Hubby is in a wedding in two weeks and my first recognized event is in two weeks, so we're trying to tone up a smidge. I'm not concerned about losing weight (though I certainly wouldn't complain if I did), but I do want to be stronger, especially in my legs and core. I keep reading about other bloggers getting in shape, too. Exciting. Hubby and I are joining the forces.

New Bit

After a few more rides in the Dr Bristol, I decided I wasn't one hundred percent on board with it. I dug through Sarah's locker (love having friends that don't mind you digging through their things!) and in the black hole that routinely eats her things I found this Happy Mouth. I haven't had luck with the Dee sides on most bits with Bobby, and he didn't like the bean thing in the middle of Kidd's loose ring bit, but I'm running out of options so I figured, Why not? I liked it. Bobby seemed to like it. We'll give it another week of rides and see if we both continue to like it.

New Helmet

Is it pretty? Eh.... I wanted a Charles Owen because they fit my dome piece; I wanted a skull cap because I don't like the look of regular hemlets on xcountry (I don't know why) and I can also use this in dressage for now; and I wanted something around $100. So it was in my price range and it will work for the time being.

New Video

Of some of yesterday's ride:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I had a chat with one of the BMs last night and she said her daughter did the same clinic last year and was left feeling totally clueless and as if she hadn't gotten anything out of it. Sound familiar? Glad I'm not the only one. I may or may not have incited an eventing movement amongst fifty percent of the riders in the barn, and hopefully there will be at least three or four people coming with me to try their hands at eventing in the end of October at Burgundy Hollow. It's seems I'm also not the only one not content with BO's "training".

"did you bring the cookies?"

Anyway, on to Robert. BM also reported that Bobby looks forward to going out now instead of hiding in his stall as he was doing when going out with Bennie. I haven't seen any new marks on him since the new arrangement. Yay!

grazing in the rain.
The weather was pretty miserable last night so we were stuck in the indoor doing a dressage school. Bobby started off really nice and soft, but as we went on my reins got longer and we started pulling on each other. Hrm. I think I'm going to try switiching back to the short rubber reins that came with the Micklem and see if they don't help me keep my fingers in place a little better.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at recreating a flying change, I gave up before we both got too flustered and settled for a nice simple change before moving on. We ran through the BN B test twice as that's the one we have to do for our next show. I think I remembered it correctly, but I haven't so much as glanced at it since practicing with Red October of last year. I guess I'd better print it out one of these days.

Disclaimer: Hubby, as always, is keeping himself amused by commentating. Oh, Hubby. Sometimes I get embarassed for you.

I don't like the free walk at all. We're also not as forward as we could be. Is that a suprise? Not at all. I think I'm going to get a bridle nameplate engraved with the word Forward and screw it in to the crown piece. Brilliant, no? Hubby is away overnight for a two-day meeting so no barn until possibly tomorrow evening. Hopefully it will be nice out and we can do some more jumping and outside dressaging.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Sher Gillespie Clinic

Wednesday afternoon BO asked if I had enough money to do a clinic on Sunday with one of her former students. I said no as I couldn't procure clinic money out of my bum on such short notice, and I didn't even get a name on who the clinic was going to be with. However, a couple of the girls from the barn were excited to be riding in it so I figured I'd watch them and take some notes and pictures.

The clinician turned out to be Sher Gillespie, a H/J rider and head trainer at SGA South. She started riding with BO before moving to NC and she comes up once or twice a year to do a two hour clinic at a ridiculously discounted cost.

I got to the barn as everyone was finishing tacking up and BO was like, "I really want you to ride in this clinic. I'll float the cost until you can pay me because I think you'll really like it." Well....okay. It's not like I wasn't in dire need of some jumping tips. I was, of course, dressed in jeans and a rather obnoxious t-shirt so that was a bit of a bummer, but at least my horse and tack were clean.

We started off with the usual introductions of horse and rider and what our goal for the clinic was. She looked a little taken aback when I said I was an eventer. She had a look on her face that was either, "What are you doing here?" (good question) or "Oh, great. One of those." It's all about overcoming adversity though, right? My goal was to have a smooth round over a course as things fall apart quickly if we have a bad fence and I can't get my shiz together to finish like a decent rider. Sher nodded thoughtfully then poked at my bridle a bit before calling it ugly and moving on to the next rider.

bobby was happy to tool along aimlessly.

Our instructions for warm up were to not worry about headset at all and instead focus on keeping an equal distance between the rider in front of you at all times. No circling allowed, just adjusting the stride as needed. With nine riders in the arena this was tricky but managable, especially with a horse that has a naturally big stride when called upon but who likes to go slow. We alternated between half seat and full seat at the w/t/c and worked on extending and collecting the gaits.

trying to collect the giant beast.
Sher said Bobby had a very big, bouncy canter that probably got us good marks in dressage. BO has said this to me too and I've yet to see anything above a 7 on our tests. Fail. She tweaked my two point a little and told me to sit in the saddle a little more with a more open chest as I'm a tall rider and Bobby is narrow. She also said that because I rode xcountry my stirrups were going to be shorter than everyone elses. I gave her a rather sideways look because I think my stirrups are pretty friggin' long for jumping. Eq riders--what length do you ride at? Pretty long or pretty short?

We did flying changes across the diagnol a couple times each way. I told her that Bobby didn't know his flying changes yet, but she said we'd get them anyway. The first two times we didn't. Sher said that he wasn't paying any attention to me going across and only switched in front when he was about to fall over. So we got to go twice more and she told me to let him go and stop protecting him by letting him do a simple change. We got it once with zero effort from me which I didn't count as a success because I have no idea what the change was that got him to do it.

thank goodness for release boot camp.

We split into two groups and started off trotting in two point over a tiny oxer. Sher told me to keep my hands low and quiet as I approach the fence as I want to lift them up and that makes Bobby get a little quick. After trotting and cantering over that a couple of times, she rolled out a ground pole and had us repeat the exercise.

We watched the second group go, and then did a line of a vertical to the barrels before halting in the corner, turn on the forehand, canter off, circle over two ground poles to make ten strides, and halt at the gate.

that's not pretty.
Bobby backed off a hair at the first sight of the straw bales, but he wasn't forward in the slightest as we had a fifteen meter circle to get a canter and then about five strides to get to the fence. Bobby's a big dude and I usually use one short side and one whole long side to get him revved up before starting a course. His first halt was good, we got the ten strides, and his final halt kind of fizzled into a walk. Feed back? "Ok, good. Next rider."

i love this pic. kidd tried to canter mid-air over this and killed the jump.
olivia took it with good humor and got it right the next time.

The next exercise was a big xrail to the other straw bales then turn left and go over the tiny vertical.

The line rode well for us, but Bobby almost always lands on his right lead no matter what direction we're headed. He swapped in the front when I turned him left. Sher had told another rider and a green horse very similar to Bobby that she should let him go on just a front change because that was better than nothing for now, so I did the same and didn't get a correction or comment on it.

The other group went and then we strung all the jumps together for a course. On the left lead come up to the tires, go down to the barrels to straw bale line, turn right and come up to the oxer, xrail to straw bale line, turn left to the vertical. It was flowing pretty well for us because I gave Bobby a lot of room to get going. He chipped in to the xrail, but I put my leg on and kept him moving and we finished so-so. He gets better as he goes along because as long as I leave him alone he picks up steam and obviously jumps better going forward. Feed back? "That was good. You thought he was going to chip into that X so he did. I bet he jumps a lot better xcountry, doesn't he?" Bingo! No advice though.

pm bm and her very green but very game pony pebbles.

bennie the bully wanted nothing to do with this jump so sher
dropped half the rail and chased him over with a big growl.
jen, who i took up to the xcountry field awhile ago, and her
greenie kaluha.
katie's big tb mare threw a shoe so she rode dreamer.
We finished with each of us making up our own course. Everyone seemed astounded at this suggestion. I guess riding only under a trainer means you have no independent brain cells? That's definitely what it means when you ride under BO as your trainer. It's her way or no way. Fortunately, I jump by myself all the time and I made up a rather nice, flowy course if I do say so myself. Right lead down the tires, turn right to come up to the oxer, xrail to straw bale line, left turn to vertical, barrels to straw bale line.

please land on your left lead....
The turn from the tires to the oxer was a little tight and I had to give a pretty sharp tug to compensate for the lack of steering power a running martingale gives you. Everything was going smoothly until the very last line where I failed to look past the first fence and completely blew my line, doing some crazy scrambling to get Bobby on track and over. Feed back? "Not bad. I liked your two point. Who else is ready?"

bobby's girlfriend tasha was rather enthusiastic to the jumps.
She gave some final feed back for each rider and asked when our next show was and gave some pointers for that. Her comments to us? "He's cute. (Which is always code for, I have nothing nice to say about your horse but I'll keep that to myself.) Work on getting that xcountry canter in the arena or you're going to have a hunter horse."

I don't want to sound ungrateful, or like I didn't enjoy myself--because I did--but I don't feel I got anything out of the clinic at all. I liked her teaching style and I liked how encouraging yet no-nonsense she was, but it was geared for the hunter and eq riders and I was just kind of there taking my turn around the jumps.

Something that bothered me was that Hubby started off sitting in the bleachers with BO and a couple of moms and she was giving a running commentary the whole time; I could hear her a few times too for the other riders. Hubby said it was like an episode of Dance Moms. Her comments for me? "She doesn't have enough money to take regular lessons with me so she's doing such-and-such wrong."

bo's star rider: i don't want to ride like this.

Honestly, I made the decision pretty much as soon as I moved into the barn that I was never going to take a jumping lesson from BO. I don't like the way her riders jump and I don't think she has anything to offer me for a jumper round which is essentially what a stadium course is. Not to mention the fact that she teaches from her booth or the bleachers and if you knock a rail, you have to get off your horse and reset it yourself. After that comment, I'm even more solidified in not taking any more lessons with her, period. I don't want a trainer that thinks her way is the only way and you're not a good rider if you don't take twice a week lessons with her.

So while it bothers me, I'm going to shrug it off and be secure in the knowledge that I somehow keep coming home with top-three ribbons and high dressage scores, don't I?

Release Boot Camp.

Saturday was set aside as "Figure out how to release again, you silly person" day. I gave myself some options with all the suggestions from you guys and set up a tiny vertical, another tiny vertical with a ground pole 9' out, two 2'6 verticals, and a 2'6 oxer. I was determined to find something that was going to work!

Things didn't start out too smoothly....

"let go of my mouth, woman!"
I was so pleased with how nice his canter was, and how well it was taking it to fences, as soon as I turned in I completely forgot about the whole point of why I was riding: to release! The ground pole in front of the jump did not work for us this time around unfortunately.

serious saddle pad issues all day long to top things off.
Occasionally, I pulled my head out of my ass and got lucky enough to look semi-normal.

I took a few minutes to regroup because things were definitely not going according to plan. Pole in front of fence? No go. Grab mane? Grab anything? Well, that wasn't working because I couldn't get my ADD mind to focus long enough to actually move my hands towards something to grab once I got up to the jump. After whining to an unsympathetic Hubby, I finally commandeered his belt and buckled it around Robert's neck. I headed back out and began chanting to myself, "Reach for the belt. Reach for the belt."

reaching for the belt.
Aha! We're beginning to get somewhere! I told Hubby that I wanted to be reaching past the belt now, and it was his job to tell me whether or not I was doing it.

That was the final piece of the puzzle. Once I got a feel for where my hands should be, they just went there all by themselves.

came in a little funky to this one, but doesn't robert look adorbs?
So my overall equitation isn't great, but I honestly don't care at this point. My horse's mouth isn't gaping open! I don't feel quite so guilty jumping the poor dude anymore! Mission accomplished.

i might have been a tad overzealous at the end...
Sunday I got signed up for a clinic at the barn literally ten minutes before it was about to start so stay tuned for that....escapade.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to the grind.

So good news and bad news. The bad news is that shows cost a lot of money and I'm out of my budgeted gas money for barn time (I am a  budget whore--there's money in the account, but it must not deviate from the budget!), but that's pretty much par for the course when you're a broke twenty-something so I guess it's not actually bad bad news. The good news is that Hubby has begrudgingly cheerfully volunteered to take me to the barn when he gets home from work and now there are riding pictures instead of "Here's Bobby in the wash stall" pictures. What a good Hubby.

working on the dreaded left inside bend.
One of the comments the judge gave me Sunday was that I really need to work on Bobby's weak left side. The left side is where his neck was injured so he's not only weak on that side, but also just a general mess. I'm bad about letting hard things slide, so Wednesday was left side boot camp. Bobby was not pleased.

wringing his tail in  his signature "i hate you" fashion.
I started him off with a good longe in side reins (which remained attached to my saddle because I'm incapable of unbuckling them because apparently I'm retarded), then let him do a little trot to the right and some long and semi-low trot to the left to warm him up. Back to the walk where he pretty easily came up into the contact. Down the longsides was really nice work, and then I put him on a circle. Suddenly he didn't know what inside bend was. He'd never been asked to do it before ever. Oh, wait. Yes he has! I was very insistent with my inside leg and he finally got tired of being poked with my spur was soft and bendy.

To the trot, not so much. In fact, not at all. We had a lot of these moments:

"zomg, cannot put my head down or bend or trot like a normal horse!"

After many minutes of this nonsense, I brought him back to a walk and thought to my trainer-less self, "What now, self?" Self reminded me that Bobby seems to work on contact better after we've had a full warm up with cantering. So we did a long, strong canter that Bobby was pretty boss at and then tried normal horse trotting again. He was fabulous. Self, you are so clever.

I let him have some fun cantering over this insane course of ground poles set up, then we ended with the easy work--a canter and some trotting to the right.

Yesterday, I set up the last grid we did (2' vertical, 1 stride, xrail bounce, 2 strides, oxer) and a 2'6 vertical. After a brief warm up, I cantered him over the single vertical a few times. The first time through he was lovely. The second time I didn't have a big enough canter going and he chipped in a stride. To be perfectly honest, when he did that I felt like puking. My confidence definitely took a hit from Sunday's fall and I was a little bit terrified even if it was only a little rail that would have been happy to go tumbling to the ground if Bobby hit it.

really not that scary.
Other things I'm irrationally afraid of:

1. Driving somewhere alone at night in the dark woods and having someone step out in front of me with a bloody axe and breaking into my car and killing me.

2. Drowning.

3. Falling while ice skating and running over my own hand and severing it. Especially irrational as I've only been ice skating twice.

both hands still attached. bonus.

 The third time over the vertical, he was perfect again so we started working through the grid. Once again, we ran into "Where the fuck do I turn in?!" to the first fence. There's no room for error with so little space and it was pretty much hit or miss.

We started with the oxer at 2'6. That was all well and good. I actually released over the stupid thing instead of ripping my poor horse's face off.

you're welcome, baby horsie.
Then we raised the oxer to 3'. Bobby was all, "Wait, what?!" and I was all, "Let me rip your face off again!" I don't know how I went from a perfectly acceptable auto release on Red to not even being able to do a stupid crest release on Bobby.

red and i in december, knowing how to ride.
bobby and i in august, not knowing how to ride.
So, Bloggers, help me out here. Any suggestions on how to get any sort of release back? Neck strap? Grab mane well before the fence? The problem I have with grabbing mane is that it make me feel like I'm too far forward before I need to be.

Also, I'm really going to focus on getting a dressage canter before starting jumping. On such a gargantuan horse, he's got to be way more packaged to make it over 3'+. There's no reason he can't do dressage work in a jumping saddle. There's no reason I can't do dressage work in a jumping saddle. This is first and foremost on the upcoming workout list. I don't know why I'm so broken at jumping now.