Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hackamore Adventures Part II: Jumping

Bobby and I took the hackamore show on the road this weekend. And by on the road I only mean that I bravely dragged him up to the outdoor--the scene of our epic meltdown two weeks ago that left me sobbing and left Bobby tearing down the walls of his stall when I threw him in there without a second glance afterwards (True story. He went absolutely nuts before sticking his head in the corner and refusing to move.).

Jumping a couple of jumps in the indoor is all well and good, but eventually I would like to get back to eventing him, and that means he's going to have to jump a course with distractions abound and without losing his shit. Tricky trickster!

Saturday I kept all the fences at 2' to give him an optimum chance to succeed. I didn't put the running martingale on because...I'm lazy? I don't know why. Bobby took advantage of that in a heartbeat and threw his head into the stratosphere approaching every jump. That said, he was also so quiet in his rhythm. He just loped along, loped over, and loped off. At least he did as long as I had a loop in my reins and didn't touch them even a little bit. If I did, he threw his head up in complete disgust. Of course, I also forgot to untangle my neck strap from my figure eight so I did a lot of grabbing mane.

derping along.
Today I had my neck strap and attached the running. I also rode him with much shorter reins and a semblance of real contact so that if I squeezed my reins it didn't take him by surprise. We went over a couple of the 2'3" jumps and Hubby was like, "What the hell is this? He's so calm!"

now i'm obsessing over releasing.
while clearly exaggerated, it's better than the alternative.
Riding a bending line that I forgot to put the bending in until the last second the second time around:


While I'm happy that I've finally found something that seems to make him happy, I'm not happy with my riding. I mean for fuck's sake. It looks like I started jumping this year and have never had a lesson in my life. It's like the year and a half I've been teaching Bobby to jump has taken, oh...ten years off my own teaching.

oh, hey there tight position and leg that looks like it's connected to my body.
oh, hey there crazy fucking position. wtf is going on here?!
and it wasn't just that red was the wonder pony.
i used to be able to ride bobby a million years ago, too.
my leg helping a homie out.
even last year it wanted to cooperate!
and now we got nuthin'.
It's frustrating.

It's frustrating to feel like this year we've spent more time going backwards both in his training and my riding. I know that he's a better dressage horse this year, and I know he really has matured with his jumping, but it's hard to look back at the big picture when every day seems like such a struggle.

It also doesn't help that while this Pessoa fits Bobby like a dream, it really does me zero favors. I'd like to yank my stirrups up two holes, but my legs will shoot up to his shoulders. It's much too small for me. But unless a magic fairy appears with the funds for my own saddle, I'm going to have to keep borrowing whatever fits Bobby out of BO's stash. It's greatly appreciated, but it's a bit depressing. It's especially depressing that I dropped $1,000 this weekend on getting my windshield fixed, a vet visit for both dogs, meds for my cat, and camping reservations for a vacation we had planned ages ago. There's a saddle right there.

But my horse is healthy, he looks so great conditioning-wise that BM and I agree that we could drop his grain down some finally, and we do get to go out this upcoming weekend and make a fool out of ourselves at a dressage show. Things could be worse, but I do wish they'd be better.


  1. Ah the joys of fixing one thing and having another go haywire, I think it happens to all of us. The whole get your heels down and then your elbows stick out, get them back in and then your back roaches etc etc, its always something. BTW love your writing seriously cracks me up!

    1. Yes! This! I was going to write this, too! You master heels and your fucking thumbs disappear. It's like the human body wants to keep the human mind humble as fuck. Or vice versa.

  2. Greenies are the worst for position. Seriously.

  3. ^I agree its always fix one, get worse with another lol/ You are trying to super release which looks like it is making you come up farther on the neck, and maybe in general just making you feel off? I've been thinking of trying a neck strap, I always just grab mane, but thought maybe the strap would mentally make me think I'm more secure. Do you feel a difference with the strap over mane?

    1. My hands can move a lot more with the neck strap as opposed to just the mane. But that's a Catch 22 as it also means my hand can go flying up to his ears where they really don't need to be. I think you're spot on with getting too far up his neck. Stupid riding. :P

  4. If you get a little money together for a saddle you should seriously consider Rick's Heritage Saddelry, they ahve two stores (in PA and NJ) and they'll ship a used saddle to you for $37 on trial... I went on Saturday and told them my price point (for my 4 year old out of shape horse) was under $600 and I sat in 8 saddles! I'm also looking for possibly the most common size (17. 5 medium all purpose). I'm hoping the saddle gets the vote of approval from my two advanced eventer friends, since my knowledge is limited in that capacity.

    Also, next time you're at BCHP, I'm coming to hang out.

  5. Ugh -- it's so frustrating to feel like your going backwards. It sounds like though that you are making some progress with Bobby in the hackamore and soon you'll be able to concentrate on your position again :)

  6. *hugs* It's frustrating and I hope the perfect saddle comes and lands in your lap.

  7. I hear ya with the position thing. I cringe looking at some of my photos on Dandy. But on the plus side, it's GREAT that Bobby is doing so well in the hackamore! Hopefully this helps you guys find a better place and you can start working on your position more consistently.

  8. I wish that when I fixed one thing it would stay lol! Don't be hard on yourself, we are all right there with ya :)

    I nominated you for an award btw :)

  9. Well glad the hackamore is resulting in a more relaxed horse - Archie did the same thing with his head in the air lol.

    I hear on you on position and just riding in general. After trying to work things with Archie for 4 years I realized that my jumping skliis have gone out the window. Trying to fix a horse that is very difficult over fences can do that to you. Im happy to ride a more normal horse over fences now where I can at least learn something.

    My advice: invest in many many jumping lessons this guys will get there!!

  10. It's all a part of the process. Sometimes you have to ride to get the job done, and it isn't pretty, but it got done. Riding doesn't improve on a linear scale! I'll take rides and focus on one thing to improve my position for that ride, be it following hands, leg position, keeping my upper body open, etc. The rest suffer, but you get that muscle memory of the one specific thing you worked on.

  11. If I knew how to ride, I'd give you some advice lol!!!
    Still laughing from "shit cock" at the turkey spook.

  12. I love your blog and have nominated it for a Liebster Award - check out this page to pick it up!

  13. Hmm. What size saddle do you and Bobby need? I have an old Pessoa (16 yrs old) that was never fully broken in. It's just been sitting. All it needs is some oil. It's an A/O, 17", medium tree, 10" wide/deep seat, knee roll, calf leather, oakbark color. If it's something that would work for you and the Butthead and you're interested, we could totally work out a payment plan or something. Let me know if you're interested :)

  14. I went through the same thing bringing along my greenie! When we did his Combined Test back in the spring, I saw myself on camera and went- YIKES! WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED! My solid position, gone. I just came over to your blog from She Moved to Texas so I'm not sure how long you've had Bobby, but I know when I was riding Wiz and he was super green, it killed my position. Now that he's getting more "advanced," I've had to relearn how to SIT in the damn saddle and started doing laps standing in my stirrups and stuff to help strengthen my position, which I couldn't do when he was er, well, a crazy baby zig-zagging ever which way. But you strike me as a very talented rider, I know you'll get it back :)

    Although, I also used to ride in a pessoa when I did hunters and it made my leg slip back a lot- I had to really focus to get a better leg position. My new saddle makes that way easier... saddles definitely do help!


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