Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I'm having a lot of fun reading about fellow bloggers working hard on collection, and changes, and lateral work, and for once I'm not totally jealous Bobby isn't performing at the same level. I've actually taken the beast back to basics this month. Since he spent all of October essentially being a trail horse, and all of November being a jumper, we lost quite a bit of finesse in the ole dressage ring.

However, when I came back from Illinois, Bobby had magically had half a brain transplant and decided stretching was a thing he could maybe sort of do sometimes. And that is ten million times better than what we had before. So we started back on the flat with a bit of an edge over previous breaks, and not fighting with a tense, overly sensitive child prone to tantrums has allowed me to explore a whole world full of new options that most people get to experience with their just-backed three year olds.

i parked bobby in the driveway and went storming through the barn to fetch one
very naughty puppy who was due for a CTJ about listening. yay for a horse that ground
ties wherever whenever.

Since we can now start the ride off with some legitimate long and low work that Bobby offers all on his own, I can focus on maintaining a rhythm though half halts and keeping a proper bend. The half halts also serve to get Bobby stepping under himself a little more which just makes him all the more round and soft.

He usually starts to get a little short and tight in his neck after a couple of changes of directions at the trot. There's a cure for that, too! Now I can ask him to halt and back up every time this happens, but I don't have to worry he'll take massive offense to being corrected and just go flying across the ring like a bat shit crazy asshole.

Half a brain transplant. I tell ya.

i love a freshly clipped horse, even if it's a long and awkward looking horse.
god, he's so ugly unphotogenic. 

He's even allowing me to work on his canter. I've been bemoaning how strung out and choppy it's gotten. During my last ride, I was like, "Well, hello, Self. You can fix his trot through transitions and rein backs. Why should the canter be any different?" And Self was like, "You are so right."

So we did canter to halt to back to walk to canter (because a rein back right into an acceptable dressage canter is not yet in Bobby's list of skills) and voila! I had a nice round horse--even to the right! He started off curling under a bit, but I shortened my reins a hair and lifted my hands and he lifted his poll up with them.

Being more connected and using his body so much more effectively has also really helped with this lateral work. I feel like I'm working harder, too, but he's tons more expressive in his gaits.

"someone put toys on my wreath!"

I know a lot of people find dressage boring as shit, but I love it. I love being able to control every inch of my horse and have him work so fluidly and easily. Fancy prancing, ftw!


  1. Yay Bobby!! Guinness gets really frustrated and upset with corrections, too. It's probably my least favorite thing about him. Such a drama llama.

    I love dressage, too. Something about the hyper focus it takes is completely enthralling.

  2. Another dressage lover. Mollie doesn't really get offended when I correct her. Instead she ignores me and does whatever she god damned pleases because she's right and I'm wrong.

  3. Hahahaha! So glad Bobby is playing along finally :D

  4. Bobby is wondering if he'll be sporting a wreath again soon :)

    Hooray for fancy prancin'!

  5. nice job Bobby! 'm learning to enjoy dressage too ... even tho we're pretty much terrible and the whole ability to 'control every inch' isn't really a thing for me yet. but i looove the moments when everything clicks!

  6. I totally love dressage too, and have been finding it so enjoyable lately that jumping seems totally secondary (of course it's not, but still). Your halt-backup sounds like the equivalent of the halt reset I just blogged about, where we would halt anytime he gets tense/heavy, soften his jaw or flip his nucal ligament to get him relaxed, then take off again.

    Dressage for the win!

  7. Maybe this is his christmas present to you?

  8. I like to joke I am not a dressage person, but I've definitely grown to appreciate it more and more over the years. (Or maybe it's just all the dressage people I'm hanging out with now. Whatever.)

  9. I like to call my dressage days, my Sparkle days. Now, it isn't as common to get some real glittering sparkle most days but some days... *sigh* yes, those days, are amazing! Congrats on a good ride.

  10. A freshly clipped horse is magic. Also, that very last picture is adorable.

  11. On good days I love dressage. On bad days notsomuch. I like it when it's easy!!

  12. It's always better and easier when both parties are willing to work. And that's exactly when the flatwork and dressage lessons are worth it. I consistently have to go back to the basics with B but honestly, I really like it because it keeps me refreshed as well. :) Still dying about the Christmas photos... My phone may have been passed around the pharmacy at work.

  13. Yay Bobby! Fancy prancing is awesome. Glad he's playing nicely! Maybe he like the switch up from the trails to the jumps to the prancing!

  14. I adore dressage for the same reasons - being able to move, influence, and work with my horse as a partnership with giving and taking. It's addictive when everything clicks and you have that instant connection!

    bonita of A Riding Habit

  15. I literally think our horses share the same brain. Like, they each have exactly one half of said brain and thus their fuckery. B gets SO offended when I correct him. SMH

  16. I too am learning to appreciate the joys & finesse to dressage - here's hoping I can one day prance and dance nicely with my girls


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