Monday, December 15, 2014

Nobody puts Bobby in a corner

Except for me. And then I make that corner as high pressure as possible and make him work through his tantrums because that corner is not going to kill you, you fucking mule.

This weekend Bobby got more practice with things not being calm and quiet in his usually calm and quiet riding atmosphere. On Saturday BO was packed with last minute make-up lessons, so when Sarah and I got there it was fucking chaos. We went into the tiny indoor with five other riders and warmed up to the right while avoiding them.


Of course tracking right is Bobby's nemesis, and I never set off at the trot in that direction right off the bat. We did a lot of walking and backing between trotting, and while we needed every second of rail time before we were asked to move to the middle for lesson kids to canter, he actually settled into correct work without fuss.

Then BO had everyone else come into the middle so Sarah and I could canter. Bobby had been standing around doing nothing but getting made fun of (par for the course when in the ring with other riders because he's so dumb and dopey looking), but he went back out to work without pitching a fit. We picked up the canter to the left first since that's his better direction. He was shockingly lovely.

BO had the other riders move off the diagonal so we could come across, and Bobby stepped right over from the left lead to the right. He sucks at L-R flying changes.

Who is this magical beastie?! 

serious lack of weekend pony pictures can be excused with
pig dog pictures. 

We finished with a little more trot work while Sarah continued to canter, then fucked around over the tiny crossrails set up for a couple of minutes.

So day one of bringing the complete fuckery of a warm up ring into Bobby's life was a total success. He didn't mind constantly having to circle or weave around riders. He didn't get tense when other horses went blowing by him. He stayed focused with BO calling out directions over the speaker system. He was able to stop and go back to work without a fifteen minute pissy fit to come back out of orbit.

On Sunday I forced Hubby to come out to the barn with me in hopes of getting some good blog media.

Spoiler alert: Didn't happen.

but puppy pictures?

I set up four verticals in a diamond shape in the indoor. They were all at 2'6" which I thought was a good height for a tricky exercise.

I was wrong. They were at an impossible height for this exercise in our arena, and Bobby let me know it by slamming on the brakes several times in a row. The approach out of the corners was just way, way too short for my giant ass horse. It wasn't fair to him to try to ask him to do it anyway, so I brought the jumps in more and lowered everything down to 2'.

That made it Bobby approved:


But it was still a surprisingly difficult exercise for us. Bobby didn't like the sharp turns and short approaches, or being asked to stay settled through the lines, or that he was being asked to jump such small fences. There was a lot of rail clobbering going on as he "jumped" most of them by just putting in an exaggerated canter stride.


After a good warm up, I told Hubby I was going to start and then just go...and go and go. I'm really bad about doing one or two jumps and then just wandering around for awhile. Bobby loses focus and we never seem to actually fix any problems that pop up; I'm especially guilty of this at shows.

Bobby started off pretty good. Then snow stared falling off the roof and he got distracted, which led to me picking, which led to him getting tense and rushing the fences, which led to me pulling.

But we weren't going to fucking stop!

I actually pulled my head out of my ass and stopped fucking with my reins. I kept chanting "Seat, seat, seat" to remind myself to half halt with my seat and not my hands. And what do you know? Bobby started to settle and we were able to finish really well.

After seven straight minutes of cantering jumps.

Bobby was soaked, and I was winded. Active participation is hard work. It was a really good ride for both of us though. We were able to work through the start of a Bobby tantrum without it escalating to a point where he wasn't going to come back, and we were even able to finish better than we started.

So a productive weekend of riding that led to a Monday filled with total Christmas awesomeness. Those pictures are for tomorrow though. I'll leave you with this teaser:

it's only just begun...

12 comments:

  1. Just a question about the exercise- after you go across one pair, do you immediately switch directions and go across the other pair, like a figure eight?

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    1. It's actually supposed to be a bending line exercise--so you bend the jumps on the left, and bend the jumps on the right. I alternated doing the bending lines and going straight across.

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  2. LOL that last picture. Poor Bobby, tough life.

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  3. Cannot wait for Christmas wreath photos!!!!
    Yay for heading off the Bobby tantrum at the pass ☺

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  4. Hopefully all this arena chaos and such will pay off when show season comes around again! Sounds like you're off to a good start!

    I constantly have to remind myself "seat, seat, seat" for half halts and for ae reason I am constantly surprised that it works...who knew!

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  5. I just can't wait for the Christmas photo post. Cannot. Wait.

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    1. I second this. That last picture was great!

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  6. Oh gosh, active participation is the worrrssttttttt. I way prefer imitating a burr and hoping it all works out

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  7. Oh my gosh, I have been dreaming of finding a wreath that fits around Tim's giant head for SO long... can't wait for the xmas picture post!!

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  8. sounds like a pretty good approximation of a warm up arena! also - i'm totally with you on doing one or two jumps and thinking 'meh, good enough' - maybe bc i'm too worried that i'll somehow fuck it up when i could have just ended on a nice note....

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