Monday, April 22, 2013

Troubleshooting

I thought long and hard yesterday about how to best utilize Hubby on his day off. Grid work? Eh. That involves pulling out jumps, measuring distances, hoping the footing is actually acceptable to princess toes after all, and then getting mad because grids never ride as well as I think they should. Certainly not another dressage ride. We've had ten too many of those in the past few days. (Something about that math doesn't pan out.) So by default I was left with the xcountry field. Aw, shucks.

don't worry. maybe one day you can be as cool as us.
I went in with a game plan. Bobby was going to go forward, and I was going to be soft and loopy with my reins while remaining in light seat all the way to the fence, over the fence, and after the fence. You see, dear readers, here is the way my brain started working when I was redelivered this large, questionably intelligent, very green, overly anxious OTTB:

Bobby: Ahoy! Jump ahead! (Sometimes Bobby is a pirate?)

My Brain: Roger. Cantering along, cantering along... we're two strides out... quick! Snatch at his face and grind your seat into his back! Well done!

Bobby: The fuck are you doing?! Do you want me to go faster to the jump? Or do you want me to slow down? WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME BOTH??

My Brain: Fuck, that sucked. Oh well. Let's do it again the exact same way!

Here's how my brain worked with Red:

Red: Jump ahead! Jump ahead! OMG, you're probably not even aiming me at it, but jump ahead!

My Brain: Sit quiet, Red's a boss, you don't need to move an inch. Aaaand we're jumping from about three strides away, but that's alright. Slip the reins, stay quiet, and carry on.

How did this disconnect happen? Honestly, I don't really know. But keep this in mind: I owned Red for six years. We had a long time to figure each other out. I've owned Bobby for two-ish years and I didn't start riding him with intent to do real things with him until last year at which point we started at square one. So if it took me six years to figure out how to ride and jump Red well, two years to make some real adjustments on Bobby is like a record!

Uhh, right?


Anyway, back to the plan. Bobby had been out for a couple of hours by the time I got to the barn so I walked him halfway up the hill to the field and then trotted the rest of the way for warm up. Every time he dropped pace a smidgum, I put my leg on him like he'd just slammed to a stop. Bobby was a little confused about my newfound brains assertiveness, but he agreed to play the new game and marched right along.

We did a couple of logs a couple of times with a loop in my reins, my butt out of the saddle, and a happy, forward horse that didn't change pace once. Blammo. I just fixed my horse. Or, at the very least, I made my horse not hate me as much as usual.

We headed down to the stacked logs on a hill and came up to it uphill. Same thing: forward pace, not-tense horse, even pace. We did it a few times before I was like, "There is one thing missing here: my leg. It's way back there.... in a different county." My stirrups were way too long and I could feel my leg swinging in the breeze over the jump. So I shortened them two holes and felt way more secure.

the noble steed waiting patiently while I shortened my stirrups.

I told Hubby we'd do the oxer and the stacked logs downhill and be done, which pretty much sealed the deal of the next jump not working out. Balls. The oxer is short in length, airy, hard to read, and rickety looking enough that even riders give it the ole "o.O" Bobby was like, "Nope. No thank you." And then Bobby was like, "No thank you? I actually meant to say NO FUCKING WAY." So he had a tantrum, a rather epic tantrum, and we went back to the stacked logs.

but that was good at least!
After he got some more jumping efforts under his belt, I casually trotted him back to the oxer, used my handy dandy legs and handy dandy spurs to keep him straight and forward (Oh ho ho! Who remembers that legs can be used for riding now?) and he went over! I gave him massive praise and called it quits on jumping.

We finished with a victory run up the hill and Bobby cemented the fact that he was much happier this time around than he was when we went out with Sarah and he wanted nothing to do with any of the jumps or with going up the hill because there were jumps on it. Yay, happy (albeit very slow) horse!


Take aways:

  1. I need to make sure my stirrups are appropriately short. No being lazy about checking them.
  2. I need a neck strap because my core is sadly weak right now. Cantering uphill to a jump, I had to grab mane to not lay on Bobby's neck or just park it in the saddle.
  3. I need to keep working on my core strength. I am working on it, but I need to ramp it up. I want to be as strong as my pony!
Lots of jumping practice in my future, but today the hoss has off.

happy horse ears.

12 comments:

  1. Great successes reported there! :D
    Yay you & yay Bobby!

    PS: Fab photos

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  2. That downhill jump looks scary! But I agree - great pictures!

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  3. My Brain: Fuck, that sucked. Oh well. Let's do it again the exact same way!


    Ahahahaha...fist bump of solidarity!

    Sounds like a good day. _Fantastic_ gallop on that horse!

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  4. So awesome that you have some XC jumps available to you. Glad you guys had great success!

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  5. That first picture CRACK ME UP! Cauuuute Bobby :)

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  6. Love the last picture! Sounds like you had a very productive school.

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  7. Yay! Amazing how we improve when we come up with a game plan, self-analyze, then execute! LOVE the video of running uphill. I need to find a hill...

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  8. I do the same thing too with trying to micro manage last minute. You're aware of it, and it will get better! Plus Bobby's a total baller on Cross Country so you're just going to be awesome regardless :)

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  9. Jumping downhill is my least favorite activity. Cool pictures and videos.

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  10. Wait, so I'm confused..do you have a freaking x country course where u board at? Also, why were there loose ass horses?! And didn't Bobby freak?? If not, awesome.
    LOVE the pics but your commentary is just too good, priceless.

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    Replies
    1. We have about a dozen simple xcountry jumps in one of the turnout fields at our barn. The three loose horses were down eating hay while I jumped and then came running up when I was done. They have a gate to get locked down in the lower half of the field, but I usually don't bother with these dudes because they're too lazy to bother us. Bobby could care less about them running around him. The most he does is turn an ear in their direction.

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    2. jealous!!! I want to xc lol..er no I dont, I'm scurrred. Wait, yes I do!
      If Laz had ponies running up behind, I would have a death sentence..Bobby is magikal.

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