And that just makes me sound like a ten year old. One with minor mental issues.
Saturday I hitched up the trailer and drove the fifteen minutes to the next town over's state game lands for a trail ride. I love trail riding, but last fall a former boarder went gallivanting through a land owner's food plot and he put the kibosh any any further trail riding from the barn. So we went from a trail ride almost every single day last year to walking the perimeter of the pastures this year. Which is BORING.
|sign says go right, bobby says go left.|
The game lands out there are fabulous. Wide, well kept, horse specific trails that went on forever. I pulled into the parking area next to two other trailers, got Bobby tacked up, and headed off as another trailer pulled in.
You have to cross a stream right off the bat to get to the trails and Bobby dutifully plodded through. He walked on the buckle until I felt he'd had enough time to warm up, and we picked up the trot. The trail started climbing and Bobby wanted to go so I set my hands on his withers and he picked up the canter.
|nicely mowed trails|
He then proceeded to canter uphill for four minutes straight before we reached a mud puddle and I made him pull up. It was a long, winding, gradual hill, but Robert channeled his OTTB and--despite not doing any fitness work in a month--he didn't take a deep breath the entire time. I think he just stood in his stall and thought about canter sets and stayed fit. That's what Thoroughbreds do, right?
|the only time his naked footsies get a little ouchy were on this section of|
exposed shale base. otherwise he was a barefoot beast.
Just after that we came on a group of three riders. For all the trail riding we've done, Bobby has never seen other horses on trail that he's not riding with. He walked right by them with minimal interest, but as they disappeared and the trail curved ahead, he adorably stretched his head and neck out to see if there was anyone else coming.
We broke up our time in the woods between walking and trotting, and cantered when we were in the open. We came across an offshoot of the creek and played in there for awhile.
|"do not mock me for snorkeling."|
Overall he was his usual steady trail horse self. Some days I feel like beating him about the head, but other days he earns his keep. He didn't call for anyone, he stood quietly at the trailer while I tacked and untacked him, he loaded right up onto the trailer and backed calmly off both times, and he was happy to go where I pointed him once out.
I had my helmet cam on, but I didn't realize until I got home that there was something nasty all over the lens. It looked like dried sweat, but I have no idea how that got there. So the videos I took are pretty much useless. Nothing exciting happened anyway.
Here's a quickie of us crossing the stream on our way back to the trailer:
After a jump school Friday and an hour and a half hilly trail ride Saturday, he got Sunday off. This morning I dug out Hubby's western saddle and spurs and gave everything a thorough once over with my Higher Standards soap.
Next week is the rodeo, bitches!
|last year's rodeo.|
The biggest problem Western Bobby has is his first two barrels. He can't keep his hind end up to pace with his front end coming off the turn and it wastes so much time. I warmed him up on the longe because Hubby's western saddle is the most uncomfortable thing in existence.
Once on, I started him off with some flying changes across the diagonal. His first one was downright horrendous. He changed, and then he went leaping into the air flinging his head about and refusing to steer. Yeah. Western Bobby is an asshole.
We had a Come to Jesus where I reminded him he's a dressage horse and he can fucking canter like it. His following changes were lovely.
|he got his mane pulled in anticipation.|
you know, in case anyone mistakes him for a real western horse.
After a walk break, I turned Bobby in towards the first barrel with a game plan in mind: Walk into the barrel, canter out of it. That way he learns that when he comes off, he goes fast. Sounds good, no?
WELL. I turned Bobby in and....he fucking took off with me! Directly toward the barrel of course, but that was not the plan. I cranked his head into my knee and he went shooting off sideways upset that I'd ruined his run. Asshole.
So I had to push the plan back a bit until he was calmly walking the barrel pattern. Eventually I got to work on what I wanted, but he wasn't really feeling it. He started anticipating getting to canter, but because he was anticipating he'd get too tense and again go shooting sideways instead of cantering forward.
The only other horse I've trained for barrels was Red, and Red was so small that he turned on a dime and went jetting off with zero issues. Bobby is a moose. I didn't know how to make him compress while keeping his brain in his head.
|brain not in head.|
Feeling defeated and frustrated, I grabbed my saddle horn and just let Bobby rip taking the pattern "backwards" (L-R-R) even though right is his worse direction in everything. Um, apparently that was the secret. He does neck rein, but he didn't need me at all. He whipped around the barrels all by his lonesome without slowing once.
Well, hmm. Who knew not micromanaging Bobby could yield such results?
Okay, shut up.
I let him do it a few more times since we were both finally enjoying ourselves. He was awesome. Now that I've figured out his preferences, I can work on refining his technique a bit. He turns in a little too soon and gets me in too tight which increases the chance of my leg taking a barrel down.
Urghghiegkijlgh, that was long. I hope you learned a lot. Hope you had nothing better to do. Hope you enjoyed boring between the ears pictures.