On Friday I had every intention of sticking Bobby on the longe with side reins to see him going and see how he's doing. Instead I jumped on bareback with my re-purposed stirrup leather/grab strap and went up to the outdoor to play around with some bridleless work. Bobby neck reins like a pro, and I've fooled around walking with him bridleless before, but we've never actually done "real work".
We ended up doing w/t/c and jumping the above X and a tiny vertical multiple times. The steering and subsequent jumping was a breeze. The stopping was a little stickier. He was totally polite to and over the fences, but he'd do a little victory canter lap after the jump where he didn't want to stop. It wasn't ever out of control, he was just ignoring me, and stopped on his own terms.
That's what Bobbys do.
We also had a little discussion about how he can back up without any tack on, thank you very much. Overall a fun day, though not productive in the slightest.
Saturday I dragged Hubby out with me for a jump school.
|"omg, so exciting, a jump, omg omg."|
I've officially retired my tall boots to schooling only (which means I'd best start actually saving for a new pair for next show season because these won't hold up to a winter of schooling and still be show-worthy), and I slathered them in Effax before getting on. As a result, I actually had a solid base of support and my position was super easy to maintain.
|leg, meet girth. please remain friends.|
I used the same course from earlier in the week because having a course set for less than a week makes me cry--I'm the only one that sets them and that is a lot of poles and standards to drag all over the place for one ride.
I warmed Bobby up with a focus on stretching his canter out and making his step bigger and longer. He's so big that I usually work on packaging his moose-like body, but one of my big "Ah ha!"s this past season was that Bobby gets very worked up in stadium at shows and curls into a ball of bouncing, tense "This canter isn't actually going anywhere" mess. So I'm going to really work on getting him longer and looser than I'd like with the hopes that we'll meet in the middle at shows.
After jumping the blue vertical (2'6") a couple times, I added in the dreaded striped oxer (3') with zero incident this time around.
A few times through that combination and I stuck the red vertical (2'9") on before finishing the bending line off of that fence to the other oxer. I had it set as a 3' square oxer because in the course you come back around to it from the opposite direction. However, Bobby just was not getting a read on it.
After two awkward jumps over it, I had Hubby drop the front rail down two holes and we re-approached from off the rail instead of out of a line. That worked much better, and I was able to add the rollback to the blue vertical.
|turn and burn, retired barrel horse.|
We mixed it up between those four fences for a bit longer before moving on to the final combination (green 2'9" vertical to 3'3'" oxer).
|patented broken wrists. i've done that literally my whole riding life. it refuses to go away.|
That was set at a perfect 4 strides and Bobby was jumping so easily out of it that I had Hubby raise the back rail of the oxer up to 3'9". He breezed over that, too, so I had him knock it up one more hole to 4'. That's the highest I've ever jumped Bobby, though the few times I've done it in the past were out of a grid.
|6' standards make everything seem smaller, and therefore way less terrifying!|
The first two times through at that height he tapped the back rail with a hind foot and sent it tumbling. Hubby assured me that the cups were super shallow so I shouldn't get too upset about it. I did want to finish on a clear go though, so we came through one more time and nailed it.
|pig dogs are not as close as they appear|
There's video of it, but literally right at the jump the sun blurs us out. Boo. But I'll post it anyway!
He got a thorough liniment rubdown when we were done and lots of cookies. He had Sunday off to chill (Literally. It was freezing. He got snuggled into his medium weight to sit out the ten bajillion mph winds and 30* temps.), and today I went out determined to not be a lazy asshole and actually finish off 2pointober!
I stuck on my one lap of posting trot without stirrups right off the bat before getting into half seat. We got lots of transition practice in while working on avoiding Mags who hasn't yet mastered any horse sense. Let me tell you, going from a canter to halt to walk to canter over and over while not falling on your fucking face is hard work. I glanced down at my watch when I started feeling my legs burn and was horrified to see I was only at 2:33.
My start tine was 7 minutes!!
Determined to at least match my fucking start time, I started sticking in a jump every now and then before coming back to the trot. When the burn felt like too much, I'd get into the canter and jump again.
Around 7:35 I looked down again and decided I could push through to match my highest time of the month of 11 minutes. I just kept stringing jumps together left and right trying to ignore the burning in my calves. At 10:56 I brought him back to a walk and hovered in the most painful two point ever to finish off those last four seconds before falling over and dying.
Or just sitting. But it felt like dying.
|i did it!!|
I'm planning to go to the barn tomorrow to remove Bobby's sheet (because today is supposed to be 50* and tomorrow 60*. Fuck you, bipolar weather.), but I don't know if I'll physically be able to ride. Or walk.
Or really even move.