Friday, May 24, 2013

Training Ride

The weather totally caught on to my bitching. It went from 90* at the beginning of the week to the mid-forties today. I put Bobby's sheet on for tonight. That's right. It's the end of May and my horse needs a sheet for turnout. What the fuck is going on with you, weather? I'm not saying the lack of heat induced fainting spells isn't appreciated, but at least be consistent, amigo.

Bobby had Wednesday off and had a dressage school in the outdoor yesterday. He was longed, and then alternated between being mediocre and downright naughty. We spent a solid five minutes spinning about in circles because... well, quite honestly I'm not really sure why he was spinning, but there you have it. After a ten minute canter, he collected himself to perform slightly above mediocre and I finished the ride with a scowl on my face. You can learn to be a little consistent too, Robert.

centaur summer sheet, aka more loot from bm.
say whaaat. 

Today I made a date with Sarah for her to jump Bobby. Since he was so awful at our last show, and so awful Tuesday, I really wanted to see if it was just me making him a total fruitcake, or if he just genuinely is a fruitcake and I'd have to find something else to fix him. I've also never seen anyone else jump him, or anyone else beside the 10yo that leased him back in 2011 ride him. Sarah willingly agreed and because of the rain last night, we set up a few jumps in the indoor.

First things first: I switched his saddle from the Stubben to the Pessoa. The Pessoa is a bit wider which never would have worked on Bobby's bony, narrow ass last year. However, with how much he's muscled up, it actually sits pretty damn nicely on him. Of course, it's one size to small for me, but Bobby first. I can squeeze my ass in there if need be.

I warmed Bobby up on one half of the arena while Sarah longed Memphis on the other half. Memphis decided he was the fanciest Dutch stallion you've ever seen when he realized there was a filly off the back of the arena. The filly fell for it and proceeded to bang on the gate for the majority of our ride. We won't get into what Memphis did, but it involved a lot of acrobatics on the longe and a very ungentlemanly....display of affection? Pervert.


Sarah ran through All The Things with Bobby. Does Bobby like this? Does Bobby like that? Does Bobby need to go more forward to the jumps to avoid rushing those last two strides? Does Bobby go calmer halting a few strides out and then trotting over? Does Bobby like when you do absolutely nothing?

What she found out:

  • Don't chase him to the fences. If he wants to go more forward, he'll do it on his own. Absolutely no spurs, leg, seat grinding allowed.
  • He was pretty confused about the whole halt-trot-jump exercise, but he didn't rush. 
  • What made him happiest was just putting him on course for the jump, grabbing mane, and sitting there.
  • He does feel like he's charging the fence, but at the same time, he doesn't. It's not like a calvary charge. It's more like a, "Get to the fence. Get to the fence. Ok, it's been jumped. Carry on."
Sarah also fell off for the third time this month, all three of those times being with me. Pretty sure I'm bad luck. She had asked Bobby to halt just a little too close to the fence so he didn't have quite enough room to get a good trot going to clear it and he ran into the jump, pulled the rails, stopped, and backed up to avoid the mess. I really thought she was going to stick it, but his jumping back tipped her off over his head, taking his bridle with him. To his credit, he just stood there and gave us a worried look until I went to grab him, and he jumped right over it when she got back on.

I took Memphis for a brief spin before getting back on Bobby. Memphis was totes confused and plodded along like a packer for me, including going over a couple of jumps from a crawl to make sure I wasn't jostled. Such a good pony, and so much fancier than Bobby. 

Bobby stayed willing for me to jump him. He had one stop at the yellow vertical, but he trotted over it once he was circled. We did a pattern a few times over all three jumps and headed up to the outdoor to see what the footing was like. Once up there, we cantered the same X and vertical from Tuesday with no runouts or refusals. We even jumped the coop! My position is absolute shit, but at least my horse is jumping again.

I'm still not feeling very confident about our show next week. I'm worried that he's going to pick up on how worried I am about him doing a repeat performance of the last show and do exactly that. But we still have one week! One week for me to throw up with anxiety. I really, really question why I ever want to do more than trail ride about ninety percent of the time.


  1. Sing it with me, "Just keep jumping, just keep jumping, just keep jumping, jumping, jumping." Like Dory... :)

  2. Maybe this will work for you, but my trainer has me count "one, TWO, one, TWO" up to each fence. It prevents me from allowing the pace to change (either by my fault of the horse's) which prevents drama and gets me to a better spot every time.

    Note: I can't count higher than two when I'm riding to a fence. Higher numbers may work for you but just confuse me.

    Another note: I caught PRELIM riders doing this coming into a combo that I was jump judging. So it's totes legit!

  3. There's a good post on COTH about songs to canter to jumps to. Some are really funny. Other than that I feel your, why-do-I-choose-anxiety-events over trail rides feeling. I think its a fake it til ya make it kinda thing.

  4. His way of jumping reminds me a lot of how my OTTB mare jumps, especially when she first started jumping. She's gotten a lot better now, what has helped her was placing poles before every jump we did. I use anywhere from one to three poles, I makes he sit back and think before the jump, especially if she doesn't want to trip on poles and fall on her face. He's very cute BTW!


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