I had a rock solid game plan all worked out for leg yields. He knows these, and he's done them well in the past. "It'll just be a brush up!" I told myself. "We'll have a nice warm up, work on making sure the leg yields are correct, and have ourselves a little trail ride. Yay, dressage can be so fun and easy!"
This is not how things went.
|i get this face a lot, mostly from the saddle when he's giving me the dirty eye.|
I began leg yield work at the walk to the right since that's usually his easier direction. As soon as we turned down the quarter line, Bobby was all, "SIDEWAYS! THIS MEANS SIDEWAYS!" So I had to be all, "Let's just make straight lines first. Also fun!"
Things actually went pretty well both directions at the walk. I set forth three steps that I repeated to myself out loud to make sure I was doing them:
- Go straight.
- Shoulder fore so the shoulders aren't leading.
- And now the hind end can join us.
He got loads of praise for being correct, and I interspersed his hard work with several laps of his dream boat trot he uncovered over the weekend.
|let's revisit that trot since it's so dreamy.|
I was already mentally high-fiving myself, and I was so super proud of Bobby for keeping a lid on it and working through it like a calm nine year old who's been ridden since he was eighteen months old.
Now we can do this shit at the trot, and then we can have a little canter and be done! Back to the right, and....back to the diving across the area to get to the rail as fast as he can.
You see, Bobby is a problem solver, and his solution to things is never wrong. He's just so much smarter than I am that it frustrates him to no end that I think I know what's best. No. Bobby knows best. I want him to go sideways to the wall? Look how fast he can accomplish that! MOVING ON.
Back to the walk we went. To the left, he had a couple of slam on the brakes and contemplate spinning moments, but he very quickly worked through it and we were able to pick it back up at the trot with the same success. Yay, Bobby! Way to be a team player!
To the right? Nope. He was having none of it. Which brings us to Flashback Wednesday: Baby Dressage Brain edition.
I have sincerely missed the spinning, rearing, leaping, flying sideways, bashing my leg into the wall, refusing to move, periscope head, and dirty looks Baby Dressage Brain brings out. Fortunately, I got all of them today!
But back to the problem solving quickly because it made me laugh even while he was doing it and I knew it was naughty. We were about halfway down the quarter line, and I put my leg on to ask him to step over. He threw on the brakes--which was his chosen aversion tactic at this time--and began backing up diagonally. Next thing I knew, he had basically parallel parked us on the wall, complete with a very smug look back at me like, "There. I'm on the rail and I'm straight. That's what you wanted. Does it matter how we got here? NO."
After a whole lot of leaping and flailing about, I finally got the three steps over that I was after and I heaped loads of praise upon him. "Fuck," I thought. "Let's have a nice loose canter and call it a day. Bobby loves a good canter. This will chill him out."
No, it did not. It incited the worst of the spinning and backing, and I'm note entirely sure why. I guess because why not at that point, right? But to find the silver lining of the whole thing, I didn't get upset the entire time. Rides like this used to crush me. Now they just kind of annoy me. He'll get over it, and I'm confident that the next time I ask for a leg yield, he'll be much more compliant.
|note the rivulets of sweat pouring down his shoulders.|
Two coolers and forty minutes later, he was happily mugging me for treats and trying to stuff the barn cat into his mouth. See? There is a grown up brain in there now!