Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Obligitory East Coast Hurricane Post

...and like everyone else's posts, I have nothing exciting to report. We got about an inch and a half of rain and some crazy wind that took down three of our trees in the yard, but other than that things are fine. The lights didn't even flicker once!

I went to visit Bobby this morning. He was still alive, too.

"i'm ignoring you until you produce cookies."
I gave him a good grooming that he didn't really need since he stayed in last night and had his sheet on during turnout the night before. Took his boot off to give his naked foot some drying time (no word from the farrier yet who's much further south than us and may have been hit worse), and then took him down to the indoor to play around since his back legs had stocked up from being in.

trooping through the wind and rain.
We did some join up and for the first time ever, Bobby followed me around at the walk and trot instead of staring longingly at the other horses in the paddock. He might have been bribed by cookies, but even that hasn't worked in the past. Yay, friends!


Hopefully everyone else had an uneventful hurricane night!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Burgundy Hollow HT

Well, you guys did it. We didn't get a drop of rain at the show yesterday. It was cold, cloudy, and crazy windy, but not wet! We left super early and got there two hours ahead of schedule expecting a total cluster for parking. Fortunately, the organizers had roped off a much bigger area and there was a ton of room--especially since half the people didn't end up coming anyway. We got checked in and decided to go ahead and walk the xcountry course. Bobby had been stuffed with GastroGard all week long to try to combat the crazies he'd been displaying and he was cool as a cucumber eating hay at the trailer all day. He never eats hay at shows and he always paws like a maniac. Winning!

"oh, hullo. just having a munch."
Dressage

The warm up ring was pretty much deserted. Watching from the trailer, I started seeing a couple numbers from the Novice division wander in. Since it was only noon and my dressage test wasn't supposed to be until nearly two, I asked the secretary if they were running ahead. She said they were, but didn't have any other info to give me. So I went over to the volunteer sending people into the dressage rings and she basically told me that if I wanted to do my test right now, come on over.

talking to the only person who seemed to know what to do.
I warmed up with two other people for about ten minutes max. Bobby went to work without fuss. He was struggling with the ground at the canter, so I didn't want to rattle him and we just went in. He gave a good snort and hairy eyeball at the flowers that had tumbled over around the ring, but once we were in he stayed mostly focused.



I didn't push for forward. I rode very, very moderately because I didn't want him falling on his face. The ground wasn't muddy or deep, but it was slick and he couldn't get a dig in it. At the canter, he swapped behind starting our first circle and I felt him start to switch just as we finished our second circle so I brought him back to the trot a couple strides early. Yuck. The dressage judge, holed up in her car, came out to tell me that I hadn't done anything wrong at the canter, he just couldn't get his footing.

I don't know what I got for a score. There were no score sheets up for Novice at any point and things were so crazy at the end, I couldn't get anyone's attention to ask if I could get my test. I emailed Michelle to see if she could send it my way at some point. Scores might go up online some time this week, but with the hurricane I'm not holding my breath.

Stadium

I like going to BH. It's usually a fun, relaxed atmosphere with a good flow to the xcountry course and bright colored stadium jumps with fill under them--even if it's just flower boxes. However, the stadium courses never make any sense. There's no flow to them, and the "lines" just don't make sense.


Once more, I wandered on over to stadium, saw there were a couple of Novice riders going around, and got on forty five minutes after my dressage test and two hours before my scheduled ride time. I made one trot lap before Hubby asked me where my armband was. Doh! Trotted back to the trailer, got off, grabbed my armband, got on, saw my whip still laying on the ground, got off, grabbed my whip again, and got back on. We did a few jumps, working on me moving Robert forward so he wasn't having to run into the fences. Done and done. He slid a little making the turns up the hill, and I was feeling less and less confident about finishing the day.


Watched the only two riders that were down there with me go--one was a rider from the eventing barn by my house and the other was the trainer! Both were super nice and the trainer, Diane, narrated her student's ride for me and pointed out what to look out for. Definitely planning some jumping lessons with her next spring. I loved her serious yet "You'll be fine! This is no big deal!" attitude.

fence one.
Jump one, I got his motor going and we sailed over. Straight ahead to jump two where Bobby took a bit of a flyer.

weeee!
I had to really haul him back to make the turn to fence 3 and he struggled a bit with his footing. He went over fine and I cantered on ahead.... and then saw the backside of fence 5 and was like, "Uhhh...four? Where's four?!" Four should have been a bending line off of 3, but I blew right by it! I squeezed in between fences because circling back would have meant crossing my tracks and from a serious angle at a walk, I pointed Bobby at the jump. He took one walk step and paused with his ears swiveled back like, "Huh?!" I gave him a tap and he launched over without touching the rails.

shake it off and move on.
Came around to five, landed and said, "Where the fuck is six?!" Holy cow, where was my brain?! Made the big loop to six after a second's hesitation.


On to seven from a wierd angle, than made the V angled line to eight. Bobby slid pretty badly making the final turn to nine. We could have used a little more pace all around, but there were no rails and we weren't running into fences this time.


We came out of the ring and Diane was like, "That's what I call a David O'Connor moment!" (Skip to 3:50) What can I say? I can't help that I ride forget my courses like an Olympian!

Cross Country

Your xcountry course walk.

I walked the xcountry again after dressage. The flags for the water had been turned around so it made way more sense, but they were exactly the opposite of how I'd walked them the first time. No matter though because I was still feeling very iffy about fence five. It came in from down hill and landed down hill and Bobby was not getting a grip on the grass on flat ground.

pig dog sized ditch.
We headed out anyway to see what we were working with. Cruised out of the start box with no nerves (winning!) just thinking through what was ahead. Over the big log, over the coop, and up a big hill to the "rustic coop" that was set on a crazy angle.

I felt Bobby really suck back on landing from the second fence. I put my leg on and got nothing. He saw the third fence and put his ears at it, but he didn't lock on and go for it like he always does. He climbed over and I trotted him through the hedgerow where Hubby was waiting to snap our picture. I pulled him up and called it quits there. If Bobby had been pulling me to the third and fourth jumps, I would have gone on. But he didn't. He came right back to the walk and we headed back to the trailer.

As I was untacking him, he kept looking back at me and then out at the course like, "But... but we do the jumping now, right?" Once I got his halter on, he let out a big sigh and resigned himself to the end of the day. I felt really disappointed and upset, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I'd rather have him finish still wanting to go instead of coming back flustered and overfaced.

headed out with the walnut hollow riders.
I turned in my pinny and saw an aluminum shoe bent nearly in half on the table. Hmm. Bobby wears aluminum shoes. I looked over at him where he was basking in the lovings from the other riders after he had eaten the mums that were decorating the secretary's booth. ("Hullo, adoring fans. Rub my head.") No left front shoe. He'd probably wrenched it off landing from fence 2 which would explain why he backed off so much.

Not a great day by any means. Really, really poorly organized (and I usually love this show and I'll definitely be back next year), a scatter brained stadium ride, and an unfinished xcountry round. He will without a doubt be getting studs next year.

Bobby didn't seem any worse for wear. He went bucking and farting up to his friends when I let him out (with a boot strapped on his foot) and incited a whinnying stampede. He's going to get a nice, long vacation while I save up for a full course of ulcer meds, a chiro adjustment, and a follow-up massage. For tonight, he's staying snuggled in his stall to avoid what's supposed to be the worst of the storm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ride Times and Show Goals

You know you're in for a dreary event when there's a footnote on your ride times saying, "Rain Gear may be worn for all phases if necessary." Yep. In the low fifties and sixty percent chance of rain. So long, warm weather. Hello, crazy horsies and Slip Sliding Magee. Definitely going into this one prepared to retire on course. Bobby is not a fan of wet going and Novice is the last division on course. Hopefully that won't happen, but I'm not going to let myself get carried away and force the pony to finish if he's not feeling it.

Ride Times:

Dressage 1:48
Stadium 3:06
XCountry 3:21

Am I the only one that hates late start times? Ughhhh, entire day down the showing drain. We won't be home until midnight! (Okay, probably more like six, but still!)

Goals:

Dressage: Go for broke on forward. Stay as straight as possible down the centerline and across diagnols.

Stadium: Not come out of the ring pissed at myself for my riding.

XCountry: Don't leave the start box feeling like I'm going to die. Do not die. That is all I ask for.

This is going to be an enormous turnout for such a little show. Hopefully they have trailer parking figured out because this time last year we barely squeezed in.

Kind of excited to see Holly Payne ride in person though. And Tik Maynard, but I see him like all the time at shows.

Hahaha, ok, fake Area II snobbery over. I apologize.

Not so excited to see that I'm riding in the same division as a horse that went Advanced this February. Mmm Hmm. Feeling a little outclassed already.

cheval z will probably be ok at novice...
since it's a full foot shorter than he's used to.
And for the record, yesterday's jump was indeed only 3'. I measured. Things look enormous when your standards are only 4'.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Combined Training

snorty pants magee eyes up the trailer.
Yesterday was like moving through molasses. It was so muggy and warm out, it was gross. Our ride started out feeling the same as the weather. Nothing was bad, per se, but things just felt sticky and gross. I finally got Bobby moving along after warming up with a pretty mediocre long and low trot with lots of transitions.

We moved on to parts of our dressage tests all over the arena--down the centerline from C both directions, circles all over, free walk to medium walk and back again across short and long diagnols, yada yada. Bobby was doing well to the right, but he was downright blah to the left. Nothing new there.

We took a timeout and went back to the walk to reinfoce "Inside leg behind your girth means move your inside hind leg over. Srsly." We did lots of leg yielding from the centerline to the quarterline, straighten out, walk to the next quarterline and leg yield back to the centerline. He finally settled into it and gave some super nice trot work.

I like that I'm becoming a little more patient and understanding since I have a really short temper, but I'm kind of worried about how I'm going to break down bending to the left in warm up Sunday. He's usually better after a canter, but not always. Hm. I guess I'll just have to see how crowded things get.

We finished with trot and canter circles at B and E each direction, changing direction down the centerline (must. stay. straight.), and had an awesome halt at G. Which is where I hope we're supposed to halt. Again, probably better look at that test.

bobby likes to put things in his mouth.
the barn cat realized he was next.
I had planned on another dressage school today, but there was still a lesson going on in the indoor when I got there so I decided to just bump up my last jump school a day. Bobby was snoozing, but after a firm tap with my whip and leg cramping squeezing during flat warm up, he was stepping right out and we had an awesome forward canter--including two flawless flying changes! Holla!

His warm up exercise was canter over the big X (it's set at 3'6 on the sides, so it's relatively substansial in the middle), canter off three strides, and WHOA. The running attachment helped us out the first time and he got a big pat. Then we walked the long side, picked up the canter again in the corner, cantered down the other long side to the jump, and repeat. A little lesson in manners and relaxation. He was super good until BO's horse got let out by himself. The horror! His pasture buddy was getting his toes done, but Tyler was pretty sure he'd been abducted and was quite concerned.

tyler scouring the pasture for simon.
Bobby wasn't sure what to make of this display of crazies, so when I asked him to pick up the canter he was a little distracted and he chipped over the jump. We cantered on without a stop and came around again like it was no big.

Next was the green vertical set at 3' At least I'm pretty sure it's 3'. It might be 3'3. I can never remember what the top hole is--whether it's 3'9 or 3'6. 99% sure it was only 3' though. Regardless, he came in the first time and I saw a legit long spot--not just a "You're running flat on your face, let's take this flyer, ahhh!" spot--gave him a tap, and he obligingly went over. Came around again with a bigger half halt in the corner and more leg and he cruised over it.

BM was still at the top of the hill, so I asked her to take a video. Thanks, BM!!


He looks a little speedy, but it felt big instead of fast. He didn't land in a heap and he came right back to a very polite trot. I had planned on doing the trot in one stride line you see us come between, but he was doing so well I ended it there. I know what ride he needs for Sunday. I felt confident, he felt confident, why wreck it by pushing harder? We're ready to be done!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Charge!

oh, spyder. you have no shame.
Continuing yesterday's saga....

I left a note on the board to have BM put his sheet on when he went out since I thought it was supposed to get down to 40* at night, but driving home I heard it was barely going to drop to 50*. Even half naked, I knew he'd be too warm dressed up, so I was like, "No bigs. I'll just call her and tell her not to worry about it. Oh, wait. My phone's still at the barn--half an hour away."

I grabbed a bagel to go and headed back out. Since I was there (again), I decided I might as well ride. We headed to the outdoor for a jump school. The footing was still a little deep so I had to push him forward in warm up. However, once we started going over the little 2' - 2'3 jumps, he was completely ignoring me.

Coming into the oxer (2'3 back rail) to xrail (2' maybe) line, he got quick to the oxer and then blew through to the X. I don't even know how to describe it--it wasn't just rude, it was bordering on bolting. I couldn't get him to acknowledge the elevator bit until he'd made it over the X. He was so locked on, having his face ripped off was of no concern. After two times through where I couldn't get him slowed, I pulled the e-brake and spun him around so he was facing the oxer again.

I gave him a big pat and told him good boy because this is a horse whose confidence is easily shaken blown to smithereens. He immediately relaxed and looked back at me like, "Phew. This isn't a punishment. This is just a new game your crazy ass is trying to get me to understand." The next time through, he still rushed a bit, but I didn't feel like it was out of control.

And then we tried a different line and he did the exact same thing, jumping over the second jump sideways because I was trying to crank his head around to stop him, but I couldn't get him pulled off the fence. We practiced the "WHOA RIGHT NOW!" pulley rein a couple of times, then tried the line again. Jump, land, explode for next fence, PARK YOUR ASS RIGHT HERE!

Needless to say, this was turning into neither a fun nor particularly safe ride so I let him walk around a bit for a brain break while I assessed.

Pain? Maybe. His hip was definitely out of whack. Going back trying to find something that could have set that off, I remembered that a hind leg had slid out when we'd gone xcountry schooling very briefly awhile ago. I'm 99% sure that was the cause for the counter cantering and general yuck work for the following two weeks. The past half a dozen rides he hasn't offered an awkward step. He very well could have strained a muscle in his bum which has since become more comfortable. Yesterday he wasn't showing me any signs of "Ow." It's a matter of knowing your horse, and I don't think this was an "Ouch, this is painful jumping. My reaction to the pain is going to be bolting." That was Red's MO; Bobby's is to quit working. He would have been swapping leads and sucking back. He did neither.

Maybe he's just disrespecting the jumps. Well, clearly he's disrespecting the jumps. Maybe if I raise the jumps, he'll show them a little more caution. This was hard for me to consider because the last thing I wanted to do was point a barely stoppable horse at an even bigger jump. But I knocked everything up to 3' and picked up the canter again.

Came in, added some leg around the turn because I felt him lose a little steam, kept my leg on coming to jump, and..... we had a very polite, very forward, very nice jump over a 3' vertical. Came around again and got the same result. Added in a 3' to 3' line, leglegleg through the turn so he doesn't have a reason to speed up on his own and get unbalanced, polite jump in, big shoulders back half halt and a "WHOA" without taking my legs off and polite jump out.

I guess this is why they call it training rides? To train the idiot rider to figure it out? Why is Bobby jumping 2' jumps? Um, no reason. No reason at all. Nothing under 2'6 from now. There's no reason for it. 2' jumps are an excuse to call upon your inner racehorse and see how fast you can gallop over them since they're clearly not big enough to actually jump. Sometimes I forget Bobby's a young OTTB with a year and a half worth of training by only me and lots of useless breaks in between. He's not going to go around any and all jumps like a hunter.

headed up with silver.
This is going to be a long week. I can't wait for this show to be over so I can give Bobby some serious time off and let both of us recoup from a looong year. One last push!

Free Jumping

I had one of those days yesterday where the only way to describe it is, "Today is one of those days." I got to the barn pretty early to clip Bobby. I'd borrowed a pair of clippers from one of Hubby's friends who assured me they were good to go. Well, the blades were so dull they couldn't even make a dent in Bobby's not-so-long fuzz. I....er, borrowed BO's clipper blades instead (I'll pay to get them sharpened this spring, I swear!) and went to work. Bobby was being a pissapotamus the entire time because his lady friends were in sight and he'd just gotten an extra flake of delish hay in his stall. Suck it up, dude.

bobby's gf plays in the water with her bff.
I managed to get about 98% of him done before I couldn't put up with the "Don't touch me there!" attitude and called it quits for the day.

being a pissy princess while i cleaned up.
I didn't feel like riding, so I took Sir Robert down to the indoor for his first free jump session. Apparently this is Bobby's new favorite game. I led him through at a walk the first time, then sent him through with the whip the next few times, and after that all I had to do was stand there as he took himself around again and again. Once he got bored, he stopped on his own and I changed the jumps before sending him off and he cruised around again. Rinse and repeat. We stopped with the final jump at 3'3 because that's as high as the wall standard went. Plus, even with his new haircut, he was still pretty sweaty.


He's cute with his knees, but he's so.... awkward? Big? He's built like a limo which doesn't really lend itself to a one stride. At least he enjoyed himself.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trail Ride in Pictures

I headed out with Robert bright and early this morning. It was pretty chilly and Bobby did his best fire breathing dragon impression the entire one hour ride. Here's where we go:

headed onto the trail.

deer radar on the alert.

headed into the first field.

through the woods ahead and to our first galloping hill.

second gallop path into the sunshine.

headed to the top of that hill in the distance.

through the stream and across the road.

another gallop, up over this hill and along the hedgerow.

see the first patch of green next to the hills in the distance?
that's bobby's paddock.

walk break--time for the dragon to take a breather.

we have to go up this steep trail to make a big loop....

...and come back down it to get back across the road.
nauseating.

headed back home.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A new winter vocation.

I had a really good ride yesterday, but I was definitely not in the mood to blog about it after hearing the news about Emily. The update is good: She had surgery on her leg last night to insert screws into her lower leg and foot, and she seems to be taking recovery pretty well so far.

hold on... that's not a horse!
I got to the barn later than usual, so Bobby was gearing up for his mid-afternoon nap (he also takes a full out cuddled up in his shavings siesta when he comes in for breakfast). I made sure to strap on my spurs and feed him extra cookies to boost his energy (pretty sure that's proven scientifically to work).

silver waiting for duct tape to be found.
bobby waiting for more cookies.
Bobby's one task for warm up was forward, and my goal was to make sure my position was correct. It might have been the two days off, but it was pretty fricking easy for both of us. Bobby was bouncy and loose, and I kept checking in on my own position and finding maybe one thing that need correcting. The rest was just minor tweaking--steadier hands, eyes up, you just let your reins slip through again, etc.

We ran through Novice A once for the first time in forever. I think Bobby's been studying the test because I was thinking about the first change of direction and how it's across the diagnol, and as we finished our first circle, Bobby made the turn down the centerline totally by himself. I was like, "Hold on! Oh.... you're right. Good pony." Probably ought to pull that bad boy out and give it another once-over.

It was an easy thirty minute ride, but it was super relaxed and enjoyable. We finished with a little hack around the farm since we're only allowed to go on trails Sundays during hunting season.

 
Today did not go quite as well. We started off with some ground driving in the arena. BO has agreed to teach both of us to drive this winter. I think we both need some non eventing time, and I think Bobby will pick up on the driving game really easily. Bobby has been ground driven before--we ground drove all the babies in training at school--but it's been a long time. We both started off a little rusty, but we ended with trot circles and changes of direction like they were no big.
 
pilot calls out bobby on his peppermint breath.
 
Got on, warmed up for a long time at the walk, and moved on to the trot. Perfect to the right, zero cooperation on bending to the left. I'm trying really hard not to nag about a frame, and I think I'm finally doing a good job, but that doesn't mean I'm going to put up with a crooked horse. So we brought it back down to the walk, then finally had a canter and got a good quality trot to the left afterwards.
 
bffs.
 
I wanted to do some of the little jumps set up, but there was this woman riding Dollar in there with me. A dead slug could have lapped her, they were walking so slowly. I'd call out a jump and she'd just continue trudging around the rail with no acknowledgement. By "Heads up cross rail!" I kind of meant, "I'm going to run into you if you don't make a very easy circle where you are instead of continuing on directly into my path." I'm normally totally okay with people that glue themselves to the rail, or even make strange detours around the ring, but I was seriously about to flip shit at this woman. Go be a sloth in the outdoor if you have no intention of doing anything but walking!
 
 
I ended up going to the outdoor myself to hop over a xrail there. The footing was super deep from all the rain we've had, but it had been dragged so it was rideable. The xrail was at the most 18" in the middle. Bobby was super rude going over it, so I broke it down. Rush it at the trot? We'll go down to the walk. Once he was able to trot over it and after it, I let him canter off. Then we cantered. Rude at the canter? Back down to the trot. He finally just rolled right over it very politely and I patted him like he'd just jumped a 4' fence. No shaken confidence so close to a show!
 
He's getting clipped Monday, but he was super sweaty by the time we were done. He missed going out with his group, so I led him up and snapped some pictures of him and his amigos. He was nosing around in the hay left over and he looked up at me like this:
 
"oh, hai. why iz you laffing?"

the coolest kid in his paddock.
clearly.

Trail ride tomorrow!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Good thoughts needed.

One of my former college-mates was struck by a truck while riding a friend's horse down the road yesterday. The horse was killed, and Emily is in the hospital. Lots of good vibes needing to be sent her way!


Get well soon, Emily!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Present!

I'm not the biggest fan of cold weather, but I cannot wait for a consistent Brr Factor. It was 70* yesterday and it's 55* today. Bobby was feeling the difference in a not particularly fun way. We went to the indoor to try to stay a little warmer (Why I felt the need to leave my sweatshirt at home when it was windy, wet, and chilly outside, I'm not sure....) and did another dressage school.

Warm up actually wasn't so bad. Pretty light and easy in the bridle, though we had to work for straightness and forward. Less than usual, but still a problem. We moved on to some transitions as Bobby tends to come back to the walk and let the motor die. So walk to trot whithout his head bouncing up, and then back down to the walk keeping the forward motion. We did this a few times before Bobby decided it was hard work--much too hard apparently.

He got fussier and fussier until he found something to spook at (someone getting in their car--gasp!). He jumped forward and tripped over his own feet which was, of course, reason enough to spook again. I pulled his head in towards my leg and he scooted over with his butt so fast he almost fell over sideways. I had enough split-second reaction skills to immediately let go and kick him forward, but I thought for sure I was going to go tumbling right off the side of him.

After that, it was no more Nice Mom. I got after him to shape up and do what I wanted and he slowly started to decompress and figure out that I wasn't out to torture him any more than usual. We finished with a pretty nice run through of our dressage test. Still a little wiggly down the centerline and diagnols, but way way waaay less than at Bucks last out.

from saturday.
But now it's time for the real fun. I came home from the barn and my whole house smelled like delicious roast beef in the crock pot simmering in a brown gravy mix. Yummmm. No, wait. That's not it. The UPS man stopped by and, after doling out cookies to my obnoxious dogs (I tell the him that if he didn't feed them their cookies in his truck then they probably wouldn't run up the steps every time he stops, but he just laughs it off.) he handed me a big express box. I was like, "Hmm. What's this?" Rattle rattle. And then I was like, "RED IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!"

ooh. ahh.

After oohing and aahing over the fancy wrapping and the gorgeous card enclosed, I carefully unwrapped it. And then I started bawling. Not in a, "I suck at riding and ponies" crying this time, but in a "This is the most amazing, gorgeous, there-are-not-enough-superlatives-in-the-world picture on the entire planet. I miss my Red Pony so much!"

photo of the photo by the artiste herself.
If you haven't gotten your own paper cut yet, get in contact with Niamh and order one. All I had to do was send her some pictures and tell her to work her magic. The picture doesn't do this thing justice. In real life, it's seriously like looking right at my pony face. The detail work is insane and the quality is unbeatable.

So thank you, Niamh! Red is going next to the original picture in the place of honor on my dresser.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday's Ride

After Saturday, Sunday was back to spurs and dressage tack.


We walked for ten minutes and as I geared up to ask for the trot a trailer pulled in. I've seen the girl haul in for lessons before, though usually in the evenings, but this time she was with her mom and an extra horse.... who she then proceeded to bring into the indoor and tack up for the next twenty minutes. Not quite sure why she couldn't tack them at her trailer or, you know, take them into the barn and tack them up--especially since she didn't even end up riding in the indoor. The point of this story is I spent the entirety of my dressage ride on a 20-ish meter circle.


The video is nothing exciting, but you can see the pony party in the background.

More work on self carriage. I'm happy with the work. We're basically starting from step one now since he has to learn to prance around by himself instead of dump 1,200 pounds into my hands and have me ignorantly yank on him in return. He feels so much lighter, and while his "frame" isn't as consistent, I know this is the right way to go. Plus, can we not see a little more pep in Bobby's step in the way of forward? I'm thinking so.


Still a million things to work on. I'm really making sure I step into my outside stirrup and keep my inside shoulder from drooping, but I tend to forget about my inside leg and let it get loose and swingy. Reins still a touch shorter, and hands still need to come up more. But at least I wasn't feeling like a total failure. I was pretty happy with the dressage work.

So of course I decided to end with a couple of goes over the vertical. Some people never learn.


It only took about four tries before I was satisfied and quit. I only ended with a "Why do we suck?" this time instead of a total shit fit. Also, I think I might start jumping in my dressage saddle all the time. My leg felt so lovely. (No, I won't really. Let's not get excited.) Hopefully this spring I can go back to finding a good saddle for both of us since that search ended up as a failure this year.