Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Lesson

That's right, kids. It happened--the thing I said I would never do.

I took a jump lesson from my BO.

You can go way, way back in the blog and read why I quit lessoning with my BO if you want, but I'm not going to rehash it now. I will say that over the past two years since my last lesson with her, she has changed most of the things that made me cross her off the list. So when my ride started veering towards disaster yesterday, and I knew I had a little extra money available from this paycheck, I simply got off my horse and scheduled a time to ride with her.

trying to give his kitty some kisses.
the kitty is all, "fuck off, horse."

Let me give you a quick run down of what happened yesterday first. And it will be quick because it was just the same old shit. I had a low (2'), wide oxer set up to warm up over, and then a three jump grid that started with an X and then was one stride to a vertical, one stride to another vertical--all very low.

Bobby was ridden last Monday, had all week off because of the weather, and was ridden long and hard on Sunday (We won't even go there for that ride. It was a complete write off.). He pretty much never gives me trouble coming back into work after time off, but I stuck him on the longe first anyway to see if he wanted to get any crazies out. Nope. He was golden.

"bobby! come to me!"

However, warming up in the canter he was super strong. I did manage to get that regulated without too much fuss, and we took to the oxer. He was quick, but I didn't feel like he was being particularly rude. We moved on to angling the last jump of the grid each way a few times. For that he was a complete fucking lunatic. I threw placement poles out on either side of the oxer and took him over that a few more times to try to slow him down. That went okay, so I moved on to the grid.

He was a holy fucking terror through it. I don't even know how he managed not to bowl through the whole fucking thing. At that point I got off, went up to the barn to call BO, and set up a time for this afternoon.

I really, really want to improve my jumping this year. Can we make it to the other side without any stops or pulling rails? Pretty much always. But we're seriously lacking in finesse and often in control. I told BO what the problem was, and that the main thing I wanted out of my lesson was just feedback on what she saw--what am I doing wrong? What is Bobby doing wrong? Is his rushing the fence really as bad as it feels?

"but i will wait patiently here for you while you slog your way to me."
also, you should see the ghetto as shit blanket set up he's got going on right now to
combat the fact that his wardrobe keeps getting eaten.

I set up the exact same jumps from yesterday on the off chance he started out like a gem. BO had me drop the oxer to an X to start and remove the middle element from the grid. As I warmed up, she made me focus on softening my lower back and told me not to worry if it felt like I was sloppy--I needed to loosen the fuck up.

We started off with the X from the trot and halted immediately after with lots of pats for Bobby so he didn't get flustered. I've actually ridden in front of BO tons of times, so she knows Bobby pretty well. Like, don't ever get Bobby anxious because it is the end of times. We did that twice to the left without any trouble so we switched directions and picked up the canter.

And then it all just fell apart, but...in a good way?

BO immediately picked up on the problem. We turn into the jump. Bobby sees the jump and lifts his head. That throws me off balance ever so slightly so I close my leg to steady myself ever so slightly. Bobby says leg means go, and he goes. I say slow the fuck down and try to slow him down. Bobby says WTF DO YOU WANT YOU CRAZY BITCH YOU JUST SAID GO. And then we're on the other side of the fence, but it wasn't pretty getting there.

I am so subconsciously closing my leg on him that even with BO pointing out the exact moment I did it, I couldn't feel it for about the first thirty times. Literally.

I took this horse from not being able to canter the long side of the outdoor to reading the most subtle of leg aids. That's what dressage gets you. It gets you a horse that's too well fucking in-tune to his rider. Damn you, dressage! Damn you, sensitive horse, forcing me to ride better so I don't hurt your brain!

how puppies ride in trucks.

To the left, we were golden. To the right, I couldn't fucking do it. I finally lowered the X to just a ground pole in hopes that it would help my brain. It sort of did. BO finally found a mantra to call out to me on approach that resonated in my stupid head--"Sit back, sit back, SIT BACK!!!!" That helped me keep my balance, and kept me from leaning forward that minuscule inch I wasn't aware of.

We were able to finish up with me being so quiet, Bobby walked over the pole from a canter. I gave him heaps of praise for putting up with all the repetition without losing his shit (although BO made us take lots of on the buckle walk breaks for that exact reason).

BO ended up not charging me for the lesson because I'm such a helper (lolz), so I went ahead and decided to spend my money anyway by taking another lesson Sunday where hopefully Hubby can come out and video me so I can see what I'm changing without realizing it. I should be able to fit in one more jump school to work on sitting chilly in the meantime.

Dudes, breaking old habits is the hardest thing in the world.


  1. Trying to break bad riding habits might be the toughest thing in the history of life. Glad you had a somewhat productive lesson though! And, glad that Robert kept most of his shit together. Good Robert :)

  2. SO HARD. But awesome that you got help finding out the little, teeny thing you do that sends Bobbert off the tracks. That's HUGE. For reals. You guys will kill it in stadium once you get this thing sorted out!

  3. So hard. A sensitive horse is a good thing, until we accidentally tell them to do things we don't want. I feel your pain. Simon also says game over when he gets anxious. You could probably ride my horse and feel right at home, although Simon is not nearly as expressive with his life :)

  4. Breaking old habits is very challenging. It took me 3 years to ditch an epic chair seat. And it's lurking around every corner if sh*t really hits the fan. :) I'm excited to see video from your Sunday lesson!

  5. The struggle is real! Yay for winter and time to work on it though...wait did I just say, yay winter? WTF, go away winter. Apologies for my frozen fog induced craziness, I need to see if I'm doing something similar to make P-diddy rush.

  6. Well, the first step to breaking a bad habit is to recognize it's there? Maybe instead of thinking about breaking a habit, somehow think about forming a new one?

  7. Sounds like a good lesson! I always love finding out the one little thing that has been sending me into a frenzy.

  8. huh - super interesting feedback from the BO. i guess there's nothing quite like professional eyes on the ground to tell you what's up! those little 'last minute' adjustments right before the fence are the absolutely bane of my existence, and i have noooo clue how to fix them. goood luck!!

  9. Trying to correct something you can't feel yourself doing is like the needle in the haystack thing - soooooooo hard!
    Glad BO could help, hope you get stuff sorted with the cars & that Huns can video lesson on Sunday for you (and us)

  10. Figuring out the habit is half the battle. Good luck with the second half. Glad your lesson was productive!

  11. Sounds like it was worth giving her another shot! Hope your next lesson and video is also constructive! =)

  12. Glad the lesson was helpful! And breaking bad ha it's is an uphill climb in a blizzard... It's just sucks!!

  13. So glad to hear that you got a great lesson--and free too!

  14. Bad habits are hard to break. Truth, sister.

  15. If it's free it's for me! But honestly, that was worth the phone call just for that second eye. Think if you didn't ask how long it would've taken you to figure it out! I sometimes want to ask my BM to help me out even though last time I boarded with her I said, "If you won't ride my horse, you can't give me a lesson..." Brantley is a whole other story hahaha.

  16. Good for you for taking a lesson, and then some! My coach always yells.. dont move dont move dont move then entire way to the fences because one slight move can change everything with some horses. Sounds like you are off to a good start!

  17. Sounds like a good lesson!! And I think Foster and I are having the same problem, if with different consequences- he is so tuned into me now (thanks dressage) that he's waiting for me to tell him when to take off. Which now I botch and that's why we're having problems finding our distances.

    Excited to hear about/see the next lesson!


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