Saturday, April 20, 2013

So much dressage

For those curious about massage: I contacted my friend and former fellow boarder F to see how much she charges for massages. She just started her own business doing them again and she's way cheaper than the usual lady I have do Bobby. So when I have the money, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later, I'll bring her out and takes lots of pictures and videos for you guys. I'm sure she can do a better job explaining things than I can.

I didn't get to the barn until mid-afternoon yesterday, but do you know what I accomplished? Getting my mail! Why haven't I been getting my mail? Because the mail lady didn't feel like driving up the driveway to deliver the bundle of mail and the package containing my new vest. True story. I might have flipped a little bit of shit.

such an awkward beast.

I went out to grab the hoss and walked back into the barn to find Bobby's girlfriend Tasha on the crossties. I was like, "Uh oh. I guess I should put him back out!" Fortunately he was easily distracted by me shoving fistfuls of cookies in his face and I quickly tacked, wrapped, and headed down to the indoor. K was just unloading her mare from her trailer and Bobby was like, "O.O" because parked trailers are the devil. Clearly. We were soon joined by Tasha and another rider and K and L got their lesson underway.

The barn is headed to a weekend show, so people started showing up in droves to get horses and the trailers ready, including--wait for it--hooking up the trailers. The audacity! Needless to say, Bobby felt like he was going to spontaneously combust. He wasn't prancing (for once), but I could feel how super tense his whole body was. I tried to get him to trot, but he was having no part of relaxing his back or face. So we walked some more. For a long time. A really long time.

Finally, he settled down a bit and we got to work. I ended up warming him up in the sitting trot to keep him slower with my seat in an attempt to not yank his face off. You're welcome, Robert. His canter was surprisingly fab and by the time we were done, the trailers had been taken care of and Bobby decided the chaos of jumps in the ring + two pretty mares + another rider continuously in our way = warm up at a show and he put his prancing pants on. He was so ridiculously fancy. Every now and then he gives me little peeks that he can be a real dressage horse and I get a bit giddy. Which is good because usually I'm a bit ticked at him. But yesterday he was going around on a feather-light touch, responding to the teeniest, tiniest correction. Own it, pony pants!

He was super sweaty when we were done, so even though it was starting to sprinkle I hosed him down and turned him back out. We were under tornado watch until 11pm, but aside from five minutes of crazy rain, it was the lamest "storm" ever.

Today was another dressage day because turkey season has started so trails are temporarily off limits and the footing in the outdoor is just bleh lately. Bobby was a bit of a punk warming up, requiring a correction for one thing or another every few strides. He never really hit his stride, but we did accomplish some things. We ran through Novice A to take stock of what we needed to work on: straightness across the diagonals, especially at the free walk; taking up contact right after the free walk and doing quick transitions to trot and then canter without anticipating and trying to go right to the canter; and not launching into the canter at any point.

We did a million transitions from free walk across the diagonal to walk to trot and all start all over again until I got what I wanted. Then we added in the canter and did a million more transitions. I finally had him go through the second half of the test without any massive mistakes or tension. Win!

But I wasn't done with dressage torture yet. Anyone can skate through BN and N A and B. All it requires is 20m trot and canter circles. I want to do at least a T CT this year and definitely First Level dressage so he's got to have some real lengthenings put on him. Bobby wasn't convinced this was a fun game to practice. At all.

He's pretty decent at canter lengthenings, but at the trot he's just like, "Huh?" I asked him down the long side and got almost no response. I asked with more leg and he broke to the canter. Brought him back to the trot and tried again. Bobby vetoed that quickly. "I'M ALREADY TROTTING AND YOU'RE PUTTING LEG ON! THE NEXT GAIT IS THE CANTER! WHY DON'T YOU WANT ME TO CANTER?! WHY ARE YOU SAYING NO? WHY DON'T YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT RIDING?! KABOOM. (<---That would be Bobby's brain exploding.)"

We had a little conversation where I chanted his mantra "Backwards is never the answer, Bobby!" and tried again. Leg on, fingers closed, hands forward, shoulders back. After a slight hesitation, I got a bell boot flapping lengthening and Bobby got a "GOOD BOY!!! You are the smartest pony in the whole entire universe!" His ears went swiveling back to me at a million miles an hour. "Oh? That was the correct answer? Dually noted, crazy rider lady. Dually noted."

Now that he's gotten a real one and received big praise for it, I think he'll catch on quickly. There's nothing Bobby likes more than getting things right. Well, maybe cookies, but one can only eat so many cookies.


  1. Oh silly brain exploding Bobby! I think most OTTBs prefer to get things right, it's just coming to the same understanding that is hard.

  2. I'm sure he'll pick up the trot lengthenings no problem now. As for the tornados, well your weather must've moved north. A farm about an hour from me watched their indoor arena get picked up and tossed into a neighbouring field.

  3. Whoa, and here I always thought my horse was the only one who considered parked trailers devils spawn. Also, I'd swap you for a canter lengthen and you can borrow our trot lengthens for a bit if you want. We've got a decent medium in our trot work, but our canter lengthens.... well, the lengthen is fine. Collecting back up afterwards is a different story though ;)

  4. Sounds like great productive work - much better then anything I've doing doing of late. Can't wait to do more trail riding - to me that = summer! :)


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