Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You're doing it wrong. Again.

I have a few rides to catch up on, from Sunday to today. I would have been all Posty McPosterson, but Blogger has been all Deletey McDeleterson, including this entire post. So here it is again.... hopefully.


I went up to the outdoor to jump around a bit. Most of the jumps had been bumped down to between 2' and 2'3. I kept them there to have an easy on Robert/tough on Carly's position ride.

Warning: Hubby was fooling around with camera settings so most of the pictures look like this:

part of robert's paddock in the background.

What Sunday basically came down to was reaffirming the fact that I suck at riding now. I felt really good cantering around, including before and after the jumps. Bobby found a good pace on his own for these little jumps (and even the two 2'6 jumps) and I was pretty consistent in seeing whether or not we were going to make our distance. However, once over the jump, my leg went swinging off to its own little world.

I filed that away as the key thing to work on because I was pretty pleased with how the rest of the ride went. I wasn't getting flustered when things weren't perfect, and I rode the shit out of my lines. Bad first fence? Whatevs. There's another fence straight ahead that I can ride well on. Now if I could just carry this mentality over to the show ring.


I went up to the outdoor again to see if I could pinpoint what was going on with my wayward legs. I know my heels are down, yet I'm still pinching with my knee. So where's the disconnect? You guys know the answer. I made the change in my two point to really stretch allll the way down my leg, starting from my hip and moving down. Jamming my heels down isn't doing anything if the rest of my leg is tense and gripping.

My gauge to judge whether or not I was doing something differently was if my inner thighs hurt or not. You don't feel the burn? You're doing it wrong. Again. Also, and you guys are going to think I'm a fucking weirdo, the thing I found really helped the most was relaxing my..... toes. Apparently when I get tense, I curl my toes and make my whole leg go bat shit crazy. Only me. So, lots of correct two point to work on muscle memory, and I guess relax those toes?


attempt at confo shot. bobby's all, "i love carrots."
I threw on my jump tack again, but headed to the indoor this time. There was a crossrail already set up (which I changed to a 2' vertical) and I wanted use of the mirrors. Why? Because today's goal was to work on me and me alone. Bobby had his running martingale on so he could only take his drama llama head so far if he chose to go that route.

someone had the audacity to let the monster trailer out of its cage.
so. scary.
Bobby was gawking at the trailer parked in the driveway outside the arena so I gave him a tap with my crop behind my leg to get his attention back. Oh, that's right. I can now use my whip as an aide instead of deadly torture device meant to beat Bobby into the ground for no reason. (No matter that's never what it was used for.) All that toting the thing around and tedious desensitization work has paid off. I gave him a smack and he was like, "What? Oh, you're ready to go? Ok, moving on." Such a difference.

So. Step One: Forward. You guys yell at me to do it. I yell at me to do it. Dressage judges yell at me to do it. Ten months later, I have finally done it! Once Bobby got the memo I wasn't going to get distracted and start fussing with his face, he put the cruise control on and marched his butt around that arena. And it was awesome. I see what the appeal is now.

Step Two: Straightness. We didn't work on the rail the entire ride. My legs were screaming without my spurs on, but I want to get my legs stronger and while spurs make it easier to nudge him over and carry on, he needs to learn I mean business regardless.

Step Three: Hands UP. I could never have gotten away with this one unless I had the first two. Bobby turns into a drama queen as soon as I try to pick my hands up, so I always cave and drop them back in my lap. Well, not today. You want to stick your face in the air? Fine. But do it while you're going straight with a big step. My hands are staying up here. And after only a couple of laps and circles, he started seeking out my hands all by his own Grown Up Pony self. If he tried to brace against me, I softened my arms a bit and moved my hands forward even more. Soon, he was like, "Where's the contact? Oh.... I have to carry myself? Well, I guess this isn't so bad."

there's brains in that there head.
We moved on to the tiny jump. We only missed the distance once, coming in from the right where he had two strides after the turn to get to the jump. I brought him in a little crooked and he chipped. Other than that, he was right on target. Best of all, for every single jump, I knew we were going to make the distance. It's only 2' and we're moving up to Novice (3') in two and a half weeks, but I know he can get over 3'. I want a set of solid basics for both of us, and it's fun to hop around little jumps for now while I figure out what needs fixing and tweaking.

"did i just hear a cookie wrapper?"
Today was the best ride I've ever had on Robert ever. Ever, ever, ever. I'm sure tomorrow I'll be rolling my eyes over the fact that it took me ten months to figure out a simple mantra: A better rider makes a better horse.

But right now I'm still too giddy to care.


  1. Don't cha just love those rides??
    LOVE Roberts cookie face.

  2. Love his cookie face and happy you had your epiphanies aren't they awesome? now just to remember them (I always have trouble remembering mine)

    You should check your blogger settings and have it auto-save every x seconds, thats what I have on mine otherwise I would be in sad deleted post land too.

  3. yay! When I was younger I would cross my big toe over the second toe inside my boot during shows, I would find myself halfway through a jump course realizing that they were crossed and I couldn't focus. It's hard to undo such habits! It's nice that Bobby is strong enough for you to lift your hands and let him figure it out, the process of seeing them figure out contact (and that it's a good thing) is so awesome -- carrying them around is not!

  4. score for the best ride ever!!! live on cloud 9 for a few days!!! :)

  5. Hoorah for best ride EVA!! :) Enjoy that bliss

  6. Don't be so hard on yourself!! I think you are doing amazing. It is hard not to have regular lessons, but also gratifying that you can do it one your own. You should be proud.

    PS Love the big ears. Dickie has big mule ears and they are super cute.


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