Monday, January 27, 2014

Mistakes

I already feel like an asshole for writing this post, but at least it's prefaced by several years worth of "Don't try this at home. No, really. Don't." posts.

Plus, I feel like I have never once led you guys into thinking I make good decisions. Am I right? Of course I'm right.

Also:

I really like making page breaks.

So anyway, I had a really awful ride Sunday morning, and it was entirely my fault. Move along; nothing new to see here! I brought Hubby along to do our last set of 2'6" jumping of the month. He was my jump crew, and the blog's video crew. However, your videos are going to be limited because my computer is being the biggest bitch on the planet--like even more of a bitch than Justin Beiber--and I don't feel like cropping out ten minutes of air time as we trot around in circles before the three seconds of me going over a jump.

But I can give you some blurry video stills!

i've lost so much weight since i bought my breeches,
the crotch sags like i've got something to hide.
The problem was my bad decision making right from the start. I put the bridle on Bobby to jump. I don't know why. Maybe from the laziness of switching out reins again. Maybe I just wanted to be able to jump my coming-9yo who's been in training for nearly four years with a bit in his mouth over small fences. Whatever the reason, it wasn't a very good one. Bobby puts up with a lot of my mistakes, though he's no fucking saint, so the least I can do is let him have his one demand: No jumping with a bit.



He actually didn't start off too bad. He had his head llama-ed in the air, and if I squeeze my fingers he'll drop it, but I didn't. Don't ask me why. As such, he came hopping around a turn unfocused and hollowed out and charged the jumps just like olden days.


I stuck with it for awhile. I wasn't snatching his face. I wasn't getting left behind. And dang did my leg feel solid for once. But slowly Bobby started to get more and more upset.


Now I could try to blame it on the weather. It was cold. But it wasn't any colder than it has been, and it wasn't so cold as to cause discomfort while working. Regardless, I took lots of walk breaks between jumps to make sure he wasn't working so hard that he was having to breathe heavily.

I can try to blame his fitness. He's nowhere where he needs to be to competing, but he's certainly fit enough to jump around three 2'6" fences off-and-on for thirty minutes.

He just did not want to play the game if he had to do it with a bit in his mouth. He probably thought he'd already firmly established that this summer, but no. Not when I own you! And honestly I don't even think it was anything I was doing at that point. It was just that he remembers that bit = snatching, and fuck it all if Bobby doesn't hold a grudge for life.


Instead of just writing off the day and being done, I was going to make a point, dammit! This horse can jump around these jumps at a mostly consistent pace no matter what's on his face, or I'm going to hook him to the back of an Amish buggy and send him on his way.

Obviously that didn't go well. I had Hubby drop the oxer to an X and we practiced trotting up to it and over it--something even Bobby can do without throwing a tantrum.

Um, wrong.

He came around the turn and went bolting up to the jump. I pulled the e-brake and stopped him right before the fence. He was not going to pull that bullshit over a 2' cross rail. Well, that just solidified in Bobby's mind that jumping with a bit means he gets his face ripped off. So we kept doing it over and over and over. Bobby bolts, I yank, and then kick him over the jump, he bolts again, I yank again.

Eventually, we got some sort of control at the trot, but he still cantered the last two strides:


I should have just left it at that since I was actually doing any real schooling at this point. We were just fighting. But, no. Of course I didn't!

"Okay, Bobby. You can sort of trot that. Let's go ahead and try cantering it."

Bolt, yank, jump, bolt, yank.

"Okay, Hubby. Make that X ground poles, please."

Bolt, yank, jump, bolt.

He ran me right into the gate despite me pony club kicking him and my spur dug into his side. And then he shut down. He parked his feet and no amount of kicking or turning his head was going to get him mobile again. I took off my belt (No, I didn't beat him with it, guys. Jesus.) and buckled it around his neck. I looped my reins, grabbed my new neck strap, and had Hubby lead us off at the walk. We walked all the way around to the ground pole, walked over it without dramatics, I forced myself to give him a pat and a "Good boy", and I immediately dismounted.

I know I only have myself to blame for all of this, but this horse is just so fucking dramatic. His ability to blow things out of proportion is frustrating beyond belief. I need a horse that can take a joke once in awhile, not one that goes on mental lock down.

I went back to the barn today and gave him a beast of a grooming that he didn't need and three massive apples as an apology. But I also set an ultimatum: If we can't figure it out this season, he's getting sold. I'm wasting my time otherwise.

21 comments:

  1. Denny Emerson writes about riding a horse that you "click" with as opposed to riding one that scares you (I know that isn't the case here) or one that you are constantly arguing with (breaking up is hard to do?). Obviously, I'm paraphrasing. It is a tough decision to make. It seems cold and heartless. But he makes the very valid point that you very well might continue just wasting your time (as you've already noted).
    I'm not saying you should or shouldn't. I'm just saying that Denny Emerson says that good riders consider this exact question!
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Good-Riders-Get-Equestrian/dp/1570764379
    I begged hubby to get me this for Christmas, and he did! I've already read it cover to cover, and I keep going back to it. And I've only had it for a month!! =D

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  2. He definitely challenges you.

    We do this for fun.

    As much as I love your hilarious Bobby stories, I think you're asking the right questions.

    I'm sort of failing at finding a way to make this less grim. Sorry. It's not you, it's me. I swear.

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  3. Hearing your story worries me that that is where Loki and I are headed if I don't figure something out first. He can definitely charge the fences at times. I hope you guys can figure out a compromise that works for both of you but, I for one would understand the desire to sell him if it doesn't work out. Riding really should be enjoyable, it is too darn expensive to be otherwise.

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  4. I have rides like that, when I want to try and prove a point that doesn't need to be proven that day. I can never see clearly until well afterwards, and then I feel like shit for days. Bobby will get over it, and you will forgive yourself. If he only wants to jump i the hackamore, is that a problem? If he goes well in it sounds like that's the best plan.

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  5. I hate days like this, and I think the only bright side is that we all have them. Good luck in sorting out what it is you want, and deciding if Bobby is the one to bring you those things. If not there is nothing shameful in finding him a more suitable home and yourself a more suitable mount.

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  6. My New Years day ride on my mare left me feeling like this. I threw a tempertantrum (and my helmet/stick) in the tack room and took a good, hard look at our relationship. I love her. She's my whole wide world, but man that horse knows how to lose her mind and when she does, she totally checks out. You aren't alone in feeling frustrated! I slept on the whole thing, and my brain was in a much better place by morning. :)

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  7. You do what you feel is the best for you. To be honest, if you don't click with your horse, maybe it is time to move on. Take a good, long look at your relationship with Bobby. The solution will come to you.

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  8. We all definitely have days like this! If the bad days drastically outweigh the good days then maybe it's time to think about finding him a different home. Good luck!

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  9. It must be a tb thing. Tooie does this too and it is unbelievably frustrating. Probably the main reason he spends most of his time in a field now a days.

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  10. Being as so many of us can empathize through past (or current argh) experience, maybe just admit he can't jump in a bit. If that keeps him from being such an ass, then why not wait til summer to really make a decision?

    You do seem to have lots of rough rides on him, but I think all but the very well trained horses come with some amount of buyers remorse/ grass-is-greener syndrome.Lord knows, I've had plenty of it lately, but imo give it some time, he's had time off and its BF cold where you live.

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  11. I hope this doesn't come off as overly critical, but I don't think the bit is your problem. He sounds like he's telling you to ride with a huge, huge crest release. You may not be directly grabbing him in the mouth, but you aren't releasing in these videos either. The more you try to 'restrain' him, the more he's going to rush the fences. The more bad experiences you give him, the more he's going to lock and load. It's a vicious cycle. A possible solution here is one that sounds counter intuitive: stop trying to control him to the fence and GET OUT OF HIS WAY. If he learns that you'll let him use himself the way he needs to in order to get you both over the fences safely, he'll feel less inclined to bolt you both to 'safety'. Ride with a grab strap if you have to and reach for his ears if you need to.

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    Replies
    1. This is exactly how my baby Fiction is - and he only gets worse if I micromanage him. My trainer encourages me to let him do what he wants a few strides away from the fence - eventually he'll figure out that the bigger the jump, the more he will need my help. So, basically I agree with you :)

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  12. Such a hard decision. In the end both of you have to be happy together. If he isn't happy what your doing then it's a no go. If your not having fun then it's not good either. Hugs!

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  13. Man -- it seems many of us are struggling right now. I'm sorry shit isn't going better :-(

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  14. I agree with Dom, I have also been there with a horse like this (although much much worse) so can feel your frustration.

    My vote is either saddle pain - or try and get in a regular lesson program with someone who is very good....particularly a showjumper. Money is better spent in the training then in the showing at this point.

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  15. Days like this are awful, I've definitely been there with my horse and it sucks! Fingers crossed that things get better and that the good days start to outweigh the bad.

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  16. Those kind of rides are so frustrating especially because of the guilt that comes later. I'm with T. Myers, that a professional 3rd party opinion might be worth considering. Send a video to a trainer for evaluation , or do a clinic or take a lesson. You never know what magical insight might help.

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  17. Heres to clear answers and an easy decision either way for you :)

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  18. I'm sorry you feel like you had such a bad ride. Honestly, the videos weren't that bad. I noticed that he flipped leads behind and so was cross-cantering on one of them. That's enough to make any horse out-of-balance and rushy. As for the one where he cantered the last stride, to me it looked like he just saw the spot, put in a canter stride, and there was. Obviously how it looks is different than how it feels, but don't be too hard on yourself. :)

    Paddy also charges fences, and a placing pole before and after the jump has worked absolute wonders. Maybe it's worth a try with Bobby - especially the pole after?

    Forgive yourself, forgive Bobby, and move on. I hope your next ride goes better!

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  19. These kinds of rides are really hard- giant hugs to you! I think you are being overly critical of yourself and how things are, but I know we are all our own worst critics. He looks like he just anticipates before jumps a lot.

    I do know how not-fun it is to ride a horse who consistently challenges you in the *wrong* ways and makes it not a joy to ride anymore. That is why I no longer have my old JJ, and why I have Ollie, the world's greatest, cheekiest luggy saint. This sport is way too expensive, yo, to not have it be fun.

    That being said, have you tried *walking* over tiny "wumps" until he relaxes? Walking over poles and tiny things helped my old horse's brain a lot. Anyway, best of luck to ya.

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.