Thursday, February 26, 2015

Good Horse, Bad Horse

I had a really fun dressage ride yesterday, and I probably should have blogged about it while it was still all in my head. Today's ride took away some of the luster.

I was all, "Wow, my horse is so cool and bendy and fancy!"

And halfway through today's ride, it was more like, "You're going to the Amish. I am so fucking serious this time. Amish, Bobby."

"wut?"

On Wednesday I ended up in the arena with BO and a couple other riders. I got Bobby warmed up and was happy to find that his relaxed back and soft canter had returned. After a little w/t/c both ways, BO had me get on her horse to see what it felt like to ride the half pass on a horse that already knew it.

Tyler is super sensitive to your aids, so I had to make sure I didn't get him at too steep an angle in the shoulder in before adding haunches in or he would just go jetting sideways across the arena cackling cruelly to himself. He's that kind of dude.

Even on a horse that is the very definition of a school master, I was still having a little bit of trouble getting it right. It's like two sets of aids at once, which sounds simple, only you have to keep doing all the other basics at the same time.

Like breathe.

And think.

So hard.

it amuses me to call out to bobby and make him give me this face-every. time.

But that might just be me.

I eventually got it enough to pass BO's standards for a mentally challenged beginner (it was not perhaps the prettiest half pass...) and got back on Bobby. BO then proceeded to continuously throw out fun lateral exercises for Bobby and I, and we were lefting and righting all over the place, dudes. My horse has his moments. They are few and very far between, but he's kind of a bad ass.

We ended with some trot lengthenings that BO tried to convert to some legit extensions. I thought that half pass was hard. The half pass is more mentally challenging. Extended trot pretty much just made my abs bleed. That's a true story.

Well, maybe not. But still hard.

We quit with that, and I heaped the praise on Bobby. He was a total fucking rock star. But his work wasn't done. I don't even remember how it came about, but I offered S a quick spin on Bobby. It was only her second time ever sitting in an english saddle, and she asked Bobby to trot off with a nice western pleasure horse loop in her reins. Bobby was all, "LOLZ, byeeee!" and proceeded to show off his new extended trot to someone who was perhaps not quite as appreciative of it as I was.

Fortunately he did (eventually) deign to stop and came marching right over to me to get a cookie. Cheeky bastard.

"what is happening up there?"

I had gotten on BO's horse one more time while S was trying to figure out what length she wanted my stirrups at. BO had us doing flying changes down the center line which was fun, but would probably be more fun on a horse that didn't buck into his changes with quite so much enthusiasm. Aaaand...I snuck in one last attempt at a half pass and totally nailed that shit. Buh bam. I'm a bad ass, too.

On a fully trained horse that put up with my bullshit for once. But still.

friends.

Today was not quite as successful. I had several moments of, "Ooooooh, I just want to beat your ass, but I'm not even going to call you bad words because I know you'll just lose your shit, and then I'll lose my shit, and then all of our shit is lost."

Instead I put him on the longe and we did most of our work on the ground. When I finally got back on, he gave me some great stretchy trot until he got bored tired and decided flailing around with his head in the clouds was more fun.

always napping.

I almost got off then to send him down the road to the lovely Amish family put him back on the longe, but instead I asked for the canter in hopes of an intentionally forward pace chilling him the fuck out.

That seemed to work, so I ended with a little bit of fun with flying changes. Tracking right, I had him switch over to the counter canter which he did pretty much flawlessly. We did two laps of counter canter before I decided to see if he could switch back over. Bobby was all, "WHAT ARE YOU ASKING SO CONFUSED WHAT THE FUCK WHAT."

I eventually had to chase him into it which involved head flinging and jetting off afterwards, but it was a clean back to front change. I gave him some candy and let him be done there.

On Sunday we're going to look at a trailer with a dressing room. So excited. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bobby Approved: Homemade Cookies

That's right. I'm writing a post about horse treats. It's fucking cold outside. My horse gets a treat for standing there looking cute handsome horse-like. That's been his homework for the past few days. 

It's not even an original cookies post--this recipe comes to you from Bit By Bit who found it from somewhere else. So I'm extra stealing. 

"MOAR COOKIES PLZ"

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup molasses

I added a finely chopped up apple to mine because I had one that I accidentally dropped on the floor and the puppy tried to make off with. I also at least doubled the amount of carrots; I had half a bag I wasn't planning on using for anything else, and carrots are Bobby's favorite snack evar.

Because that added a little more bulk to the recipe, I added more molasses to make it mix better. And then I added a little more. Who doesn't love making a mess? 

yum!

I set the oven for 375* (My oven does not run hot. My oven runs like it's actually an igloo.) and applied cooking spray liberally over an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Want to know what never comes off of your dishes? Burnt fucking molasses is what. Want to know how I know that? By burning fucking molasses into a cookie sheet.

ready to go in

My cookies were probably more moist than the original recipe intended, even after being bake for ten minutes, but Bobby's actually kind of a priss when it comes to treats, and he does seem to prefer the less crunchy variety (as in, bring him some pop instead). 

after baking, not much difference

Off to the barn they went for a taste test from one snobby foodie. Only he's like the opposite of a snobby foodie because Bobby turns his nose up at delicacies and fancy food. Bobby is like his mother--he really only likes it if it's full of sugar. Put the healthy stuff away, please. Give us some candy. 

His first taste:


Most definitely Bobby approved. The recipe made about fifteen big treats total, and I somehow managed to space out their feeding over the weekend instead of just one day. That was not Bobby approved. 

"i want them ALL."

One last thing: don't leave them where unsuspecting passersby might stumble across them. Greedy people might think they're people cookies, take a big bite out of them, and then dispose of the rest when they don't think they taste very good. 

I'm looking at you, Hubby. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FMNM Blog Hop: Fear


There are so many things that have scared me in the past and so many things that scare the shit out of me now that I feel I could do this blog hop from Alyssa once a week for the rest of my life.

What has been the most fearful moment you have ever experienced with a horse?

Down banks? Hate them.

Jumping downhill period? I just soiled my breeches.

Making a fool of myself in front of my fellow competitors, spectators, and/or judges? Fucking crippling anxiety, and then we crash through a fence because I'm so nervous about crashing through a fence, and my mind is all, "Fucking told you so. Fear affirmed."

But I'm only going to pick one thing, and while it's not just one specific incident, the story of how Red Pony and I got our beginnings is probably when I was the most chicken shit on a horse in my entire life.
the most majestic and naughty horse beast ever

Most of you weren't around when Red was the main horse in this blog, and Bobby was simply a dumb ugly baby just sitting around being the second string, so this is a bonus post in that you also get to learn our story.

At then end of my first semester in college where I was majoring in Thoroughbred Management (which isn't even a degree offered there anymore because it's as useless as it sounds), it was announced that we'd just been gifted a new racehorse. My friend P and I went with the BM to pick him up at Highcliff Farm where he'd recently been sent to let down and get gelded. He was five years old, a beautifully bred son of Boundary out of a Relaunch mare, and we were told the second we got out of the truck that we'd better have high fences because he kept jumping theirs to try to get to mares. 

about to get up to something naughty, guaranteed

He was led out and immediately P and I were like, "He looks like Secretariat!" Because he was chestnut with a stripe, and really--isn't that what every horse person that sees a chestnut with a stripe says? The only problem was he was also very small--he maybe hit 16 hands on a good day, but I usually told people he was between 15.2 and 15.3. So instead of Big Red for Secretariat, he was dubbed Little Red, and later just Red. 

It was pretty much love at first sight for me, and I signed him on as my Special Project for the next semester once the owners decided they didn't want him to race again after all. Because I was working towards my first summer galloping at the track, he got added to our sorry string of racehorses, and while we waited for the weather to clear I rode him exclusively in an exercise saddle while I built up my leg strength. 

Then it was time to move out to our conditioning field. I had already learned to gallop out there on the world's most dependable racehorse, Derby, and I'd spent all winter riding various other Thoroughbreds in some state of about-to-be-on or off the track work so I was feeling pretty confident taking the pony love of my life out there for a romp.

in hand schooling because he was so very naughty.
but also so pretty.

Nothing could have prepared me for my first gallop with Red though. He was a horse obviously used to being galloped in draw reins, and he curled his tiny mini-tank body into a beautiful little ball and promptly took off with me.

I knew the whole theory on how to slow a racehorse, and good old Derby and most of the other Thoroughbreds responded just fine to standing in my stirrups, not taking up more rein, and leveraging my considerable leg strength against them.

But Red Pony tucked his cute little nose to his chest and kept right on trucking.

"i would never."

And so began a long spring of the same stunt pulled over and over. I actually begged to be ponied off of him most of the time, and spent most of the time crying to my poor teacher about how hard this was.

My fondest runaway memory was when he was in the middle of taking off with me, and he suddenly propped which threw me up onto his neck. Having gotten me in such a precarious position, he spun around and launched himself into the corn field we were galloping running wildly beside and calmly came to a halt. I ended up hanging upside down from his neck with my legs clamped around his shoulders. I slowly lowered myself to the ground and gave him the Death Stare which he returned with a very triumphant, "Ha ha ha ha ha, that was awesome. I almost got you off that time!"

The thing with Red was, he was never ever malicious about anything he did. He was quirky and cheeky, he loved to pick fights, and he loved to see what he could get away with, but he always gave in with a cheery attitude eventually.

plotting...

So while he scared the shit out of me, and I entered track life convinced I was surely going to die the first time I sat on a horse, it turned out that pretty all other racehorses ever are easier to gallop than Red was. I came back armed with more knowledge and tricks on how to deal with unruly creatures, and to a horse that had earned himself a spot on the shit list over the summer.

That Valentine's Day Red was officially signed over to me because he was a nuisance and completely unsuitable for pretty much anything but being ridden by me--not because I was so much of a better rider than anyone, but because I loved his unruly nature.

Eventually he settled down and became a dream to gallop--when not spooking at changes in terrain, or leaping sideways just because he felt like it--and channeled his eccentricities to jumping. But I will always credit Red with putting the fear of going fast in me, and showing me that no one could possibly be as bad as he ever was.

snaffle mouth in wide open spaces. none of us ever would have guessed it. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Short and sweet

Our latest winter storm turned out to be the saddest, sorry bunch of snowflakes ever. I was hoping the supposed freezing rain and ice would have stopped early enough in the morning that I could make it out to the barn briefly on Sunday, but I ended up at the barn both days with zero issues. In fact, it was a gloriously warm and sunny 35* when I rode yesterday.

Which was especially good because this week is looking a lot like last week, in that it will be really fucking cold and all my horse will get to do for "work" is romp around the indoor like an idiot with Memphis.

"i'm so crazy! look at me be so crazy!"
yeah, bobby. totally impressed. 

On Saturday I forced Hubby to come along mostly for the use of his truck. My car needs a new clutch and my truck needs a new battery, so I'm wary about using either of them until those things are remedied which fortunately should be pretty soon. I set up a few jumps in no particular order and made sure not to say anything about how this was going to be a short, easy ride so I wouldn't jinx us.

Bobby got to wear the hackamore again out of complete laziness to change tack on my part, and he showed his appreciation by being a little bit wild while warming up.

But I'm a positive person now! This was not going to faze me in the slightest!

He was being a little wild and silly jumping around, but he was actually listening to my adjustments between fences and our distances were ones of mutual choosing.


Basically, I had a lot of fun jumping my horse for once. Fuck yeah, positivity!

On Sunday there was a little girl riding in a lesson so I just did a dressage school. Bobby was pulling my arms out at the trot so I let him move out to a canter.

And we proceeded to canter ten straight minutes (BO timed us) with his ears flopping happily forward.

I finally pulled him up because my abs were screaming. We did a little more trot work, ran through Novice A, and were doing such flawless leg yields that BO called out, "He's ready for half pass!" and gave us an impromptu mini lesson on how to ride it. We only got a few steps, but now I know how to ask for it. My horse is a dressage queen when not being a raging asshole. It's lovely.

"wow, horses! i've never seen those before!"

In other news, I'm trailer shopping in earnest (yay!), and someone is lined up to buy my jump saddle finally (double yay!). Even though winter refuses to fucking end, at least some fun things are happening.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

TOABH: A Rose

Yay, blog hops for life! Boo, it's too cold for riding!


From BekaEvery horse seems to have at least three names:  the "real" one, the barn one, and that special one.  What are some of your pony's names?

Bobby has two "real" names. He's registered with the Jockey Club as Mightybobbymagee, and registered with the USEA as Bobby Magee. 

His barn name is simply Bobby, though he almost equally gets called Robert by both fellow boarders and staff. 

As for his nicknames, they are plentiful:

RuPaul
Heriberto
Roberto
Sir Robert
Bravely Goes Sir Robert (sung to him like "Brave Sir Robin" from Monty Python)
Pony Britches
Pony Pants
Mr Magee
(insert any word of your choice here) Magee

a.d.d. magee...

The one nickname that everyone has called him at some point, from the time he was a wee baby to now, is Bobert. And I hate it. I don't know why, but it just annoys the shit out of me. So don't call Bobby Bobert. Call him Robert. Or just call him an expletive. He answers to that, too. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

.wmv Wednesday

For those of you hoping to see some grade A bitchin' video of Bobby and I, move along. All you get is shoddy helmet cam videos of indoor jumping, and fifteen seconds of my horse being silly with his bestie.


Yesterday I turned Bobby loose with Memphy in hopes of averting another disaster of a ride like we had over the weekend. As soon as I took his halter off, Bobby went squealing and bucking across the ring, had an epic rollies fest, and then antagonized Memphis for awhile.

"play with me, best friend!"

They weren't really expending much energy though, so I snapped the longe whip a couple of times and then sat back to enjoy the show. Memphis wasn't nearly as cray cray as Bobby because he is very fat, but he gamely ran around behind my wild mule beast until they both got tired.

I brought them back to the barn, threw the lead rope over Bobby's neck and let him walk himself into his stall. As I was turning Memphis around to put him in the cross ties so I could brush all the dirt off of him before putting his blanket back on, I hear little pony feet walking away from me. I turn around and Bobby is off on a personal journey to go say hi to the mares in the paddock outside the barn.

He's such a horn ball for a gelding.

I finally got everyone sorted back out, Bobby tacked, and proceeded to have a really good dressage ride that involved zero racehorse moments.


Want to hear a sad story, though?

Of course you do.

As I was walking back down to the ring, I slid on the fucking fresh powdery snow and fell right on my bum. Bobby calmly stopped and looked down at me like, "Who's the fucking idiot in this relationship now, lady?" I got back up, stomped over to my car to put on my tall boots, and found out that I'd tied my new lace too tightly and had to adjust it. So I half hopped, half stomped over to the warming room so I could take care of that without falling in the snow....again.

Meanwhile, my asshole dogs have spotted BM leaving for the morning and have decided they want to give her a good send off by frolicking around in front of her car and ignoring me when I call them over.

I finally get them back, bend down to adjust the lace, and get pissed I now have to take my gloves off to untie the stupid thing. I chuck my gloves to the closest available flat surface and retie my boot. I zip it up and wonder where the smell of melting rubber is coming from.

Oh, shit.

My gloves.

don't put gloves on a hot wood stove, kids.

Be impressed I didn't just throw a tantrum to rival one of Bobby's right there. Those were brand new gloves.

On to today.

not from today, but helmet cam stills are pretty bad ass.

I set up the same course from a couple of weeks ago, only in reverse order and a couple holes higher: a 2'9" vertical at H, a 2'6" vertical on the diagonal, and a 2'9" oxer at F. I also had Bobby in his hackamore because I was too cold to stand there with a metal bit stuffed in my armpit for ten minutes.

Our flat warm up was great. Bobby even quietly stepped over into his lead changes instead of leaping into them and taking off with joyful head tossing abandon because "ZOMG I'M A RACEHORSE NEW LEAD MEANS GO FAST LOOK HOW FAST I AM!"

Warm up jumps:


The course:


I didn't really ride the first two jumps, so we got a bit close and flat to them, but I sat up and drove him forward to the oxer which revved him up enough to finish over the vertical really well.

Clean up:


I did the first two jumps again with a better pace and more active riding, and we were able to finish there with me feeling really happy (and Bobby full of cookies).

I'm kind of in an in between place with my riding over fences right now. I have to remind myself to sit chilly and don't pick or inadvertently send him shooting forward, but at the same time I still have to give him some guidance and sometimes be the one to override his decision. But when I get it right, we're golden.

Now he gets to sit around for two or three days while I hide under lots of blankets.

we're not friends anymore, winter.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SFTS Blog Hop: Three Little Words

I loooove Jenn's blog hops, and this one is no different!


What three words would you use to describe your horse? They can be any words, but you're limited to three words and three words only. 

I bent the rules a little bit to do this one. And by bent the rules, I mean I just disregarded them completely. Really, no respect for rules. Instead, I asked people on facebook for their three words to describe Bobby. Barn mates, fellow bloggers, and college friends that knew Bobby way back when and still follow his epic journeys all chimed in.

And the responses were pure perfection.

Here are some of my favorites:

The three Ds: Dopey, Doofy, Derpy



Sleepy

Mule (twice...)


Brave

Eager



Snoring

Conundrum

thebestatallthethings



Patient

Badass



And then I asked Hubby what his three words for Bobby would be:

Lazy

Pissy

Chameleon (because of how often he changes colors)


Hmm. I think Hubby might have seen me burst into tears over Bobby tantrums one too many times...


And my three words for Bobby would be:

Temperamental

Caretaker

Teacher



Are you done being spammed by Bobby pictures yet?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day Ride

Well, it was a long time coming I guess. Bobby has been so good lately that I haven't even been able to blog about my flat rides in weeks. Usually there's at least one dramatic interpretation of a rabid llama on ice skates attempting to do a tango. The key to recreating such theatrics is to bring Hubby along, tell him that you just want some video to show off how fancy your horse is doing on the flat lately, and assure him it will be a super quick ride because it's snowing and you don't want your car to get stuck in the barn driveway.

And did I mention, my horse has been so good lately?

Kiss o' death, dear readers.

there's my rabid little drama llama dripping foam from his crazy face.

Our warm up was brief and mostly correct. Bobby felt like he might be a little footsore, but there's a solid layer of ice over all the snow and the arena is currently hard packed from the cold so that was perfectly excusable. He was a rocket ship in the canter, and his back felt more like a metal rod than the usual softness I've been getting out of him. I pulled him out right at feeding time though, so I expected a little sass.

I finally got geared up to run through Training A because we've been on the struggle bus with the canter work in Training B the past few rides.

For those of you that don't want to watch me work through a three minute test in five minutes....


....don't worry. I'll break it down for you.

A Enter working trot: Scoot past naughty dogs.

C Track left: Try to keep horse from dropping his poll too much and ducking behind the vertical too badly.

E Circle left 15 meters: Almost run over dogs. Keep going anyway.

FXH Lengthen stride in trot: Glad horse knew that by picking up whip it meant he was actually going to have to lengthen his stride. Wish he hadn't spent five minutes with his head in the air shooting around the ring like I was holding an anaconda until I dropped the whip to get the lesson.


H Working trot: Wonder how we ended up so far past H when we hit the rail....

B Circle right 15 meters: Keep horse soft to the right, keep him soft, keep him soft....no, you're not slouching enough, slouch more!

KXM Lengthen stride in trot: Auto pilot lengthening as you mentally prepare to fail at the next several movements. Consider just ending the test right there.

M Working trot: Half halt with all your bodily strength in hopes it keeps horse from flying across the ring when you start to let out rein.

C Circle left 20 meters stretchy trot: Nope.


C Working trot: Oh, thank god.

H-E Medium walk: Do not attempt free walk on short diagonal. Turn early at H and go all the way across.

E-F Free walk: Horse is calm, keep breathing, who cares what this actually looks like, at least he's not running away.

F-A Medium walk: Horse briefly considers a tantrum, but is soothed by your calming voices and quiet aids. Gosh, you are so good at defusing these things.

A Working trot: Horse wants to canter...so he does. Quickly fall back to a tense, braced trot. Try not to get annoyed.

K Working canter right lead: Picked up the canter--again--and promptly switches behind. Bring horse back to walk to correct. Horse gets stuck because OH GOD YOU SAID CANTER AND THEN YOU SAID WALK AND WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM HIM. Walk horse calmly back to F and try again while taking deep, soothing breaths.

E Circle right 15 meters: Wonder where horse's beautiful, soft canter went to. Try not to pull on his face. Pull a little bit anyway.

M-F Lengthen stride in canter: Worry horse will take the opportunity to change behind so scratch lengthening. Horse has random spaz attack and darts forward for a few strides anyway, perhaps doing his own interpretation of a canter lengthening.


F Working canter: Admire horse's head in your face.

KXM Change rein: Run through the aids, nearly miss the turn, and flail sideways a bit. Come to a halt because there's really no need for flailing. Regroup, pick the canter back up, and try again.

X Working trot: Don't canter, don't canter, don't canter....

C Working canter left lead:  Please canter, please canter, please canter....

E Circle left 15 meters: Does it still count as a circle if horse swings his haunches out and makes a corner on the quarter line?

K Working trot: Almost done, just finish without another flail.

A Down center line: Whoops, who needs to half halt anyway?

X Halt, salute: Horse has a great halt. He goes forward into it, he halts square, and he doesn't fling his head up. However, to stay consistent, this time he immediately wanted to step right off again and instead settled on just dancing around in place.

Since I wasn't too impressed with that, I decided to break down the part where we always struggle the most: free walk to medium walk to trot to canter. Only Bobby had reached his limit of cooperation for the day. He didn't want to just dance, he wanted to just run.


So every time he went jetting off on his own, I backed him up. And we did that a lot. I finally gave up for a minute, got into half seat, and let him canter around in hopes it would settle him.

It didn't.

I tried to run through the test again and it was just a big ole pissy fit. We got halfway across the ring in the free walk and Bobby went into full on meltdown mode. I told Hubby he could retreat to the heated viewing area because nothing else was going to get done at that point.

bobby doesn't rear or buck--he just flings himself around and reverses in high speed. 
my leg is off in all of these because i'm mid-ass kicking/rib thumping.

After an epic battle of wills spur vs. obstinate horse, I finally got the fucking beast to move forward in a linear fashion for more than one stride and got off. I stripped his tack and turned him loose where he proceeded to run.

And run and run and run and run.

And then he changed directions and ran and ran and ran and ran.

Once he was to the point where he was stumbling over his own feet, he came back down to the trot and trotted for another few minutes. It was really the silliest display of racehorse I've ever seen.

It was a complete write off of a ride, and I'll excuse Bobby because he hasn't been able to actually move faster than a crawl in his paddock for awhile now. Ponies need to get their pony romps out.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Costume Creations

A big thank you to everyone that suggested ideas! I think some of you might have overestimated my sewing skills (of which I have none), and my general craftiness (of which I have little), but I think with some (a lot) of help from my barn mates, I can make all of these work at least in a ghetto fashion.

Sooooo......

The list for the year is:

1. RuPaul, drag horse. Let's be honest. I already own enough pink boas to make this happen right now.

2. Moving skeleton. I'm hopeful I can get the camp kids in on this over the summer and get some really cool jumping pictures.

3. Frontiers-horse. Because Hubby has all this shit, from the musket to the beaver cap to the Hudson Bay coat (or whatever the fuck it's called).

4. "If you're a bird, I'm a bird." Inspired by Aimee's suggestion for a bird, we're going to recreate the infamous The Notebook kiss in the rain. Obviously once it's warm enough for some piped in rain.

5. R Patz as a vampire. I can't wait to play the brooding, open mouthed, resting bitch face Kristen Stewart.

6. A sheep. Easy, adorable, should probably involve a flower crown as well.

7. Katy Perry and Shark. This was just such an amazing as shit suggestion that I had to include it. I don't know how I'm going to make it happen, but I'm already on the hunt for a shark mask.

8. Pretty, pretty princess. Nothing makes me happier than pink hair spray, and it's obviously needed here.

9. Quarterback. Be still my heart, if you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you should know which one.

10. Native American war pony. Paint the pony everywhere!

I also loved Lauren's idea for a costume of a famous person each month for a calendar. I think I will probably have to do that next year.

What do you guys think? Good enough? Anyone want to road trip to NE PA and help?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Suck it, winter

I totally beat the weather system and managed to get to the barn in the one hour window that it wasn't snowing. Plus it was 32* out which is downright toasty.

That's fucking winning.

i'm That Boarder--the one who's horse has to be catered to because he's so special.
at least bennie won't eat him. 

I set up a single vertical (2'6) at E, and a two stride X to oxer (2'9) or vice versa on the other side of the ring as our exercise for the day. I often lack creativity, what can I say. Also, that's why I'm always stealing your jumping exercises, blog world. No regrets.

As I was setting jumps, I was wondering if I was wasting my time. The snow was falling off the roof like a nonstop avalanche. The poor puppy was terrified we were all going to die, and while Bobby spooks at pretty much nothing (except parked horse trailers because whoa, so scary), this was a lot of fucking snow. But I brought him down anyway.

"the fuq is happening?!"

He was super impressed by the snow falling onto the roof over the trailers, but of course the mountains of snow falling next to him on the open side of the ring didn't even warrant an ear twitch. Whatever, Bobby. I got on and he went right to work without issue.

I didn't want to press my luck and see how long he'd tolerate the snow without reacting, so our warm up was really short. A quick w/t and then we picked up the canter, did one circle, and came right around to the vertical. Three strides out, a massive land slide fell off the trailer roof which was right in front of us, and Bobby and I both stared at it.

And then there was a fence in front of us. Whoops. So he stopped, but I circled him around and we jumped it twice without incident.

because there's no such thing as too many pictures of bobby with his ears up

Then we went right into the two stride with the X first. He felt like he was jumping over his shoulder over the oxer a bit, but he might have just been taking a peek at the flower box. We went through that twice, and then added on the vertical after it from the right. He didn't give me any issues after the stop, so I quit right there. It was maybe a fifteen minute ride max, but nobody died, so it's totally a win.

I did his feet and gave his bite marks their last doctoring they're going to get for a few days. So over winter. I'm ready to see the outdoor again.

annoying the barn cat. his fave activity.

If you guys have any more ideas for Bobby's future dress up days, let me know! I'll be posting the list tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I just want to say Fuck a lot

I think my horse keeps getting into prison fights, and yesterday someone attempted to shank him right in the neck.

And today as well.

My horse is the biggest bitch on his prison block.

He got no leeway from me though. If I can poke and tug at your bite marks and not even get an ear twitch, you're going to work, son. Yesterday I wanted to jump again, but I didn't want to be pull out a bunch of standards and poles and fill and yada yada, so instead I rolled out three trot poles that led up to a big X.

pig staying toasty by hanging out in the sun.

The pony was very good in his flat warm up. Ever since I've made it my priority to soften my back before anything else, he's gone a lot softer in all of gaits--especially the canter. Amazing how that works, right? Don't clench your cheeks and your horse won't clench everything on his entire body. Pure fucking magic.

The jumping exercise was primarily a rider exercise, which was good because we all know my brain is what needs the most work in this partnership. We trotted in--Robert never tried to blast through the poles because he is now a very good pony about such things (we'll see how long that lasts...)--and then I was supposed to pick the direction we'd turn afterwards and ask Bobby for the lead over the fence.

That....didn't go so well the first couple of times because I am me, and I need no other excuse. But once I got my brain clicked on, we were golden. I let Bobby have a nice walk break to munch on his candy while I crossed my stirrups. I want to be able to no stirrup like L when I grow up.

We went back to the trot for awhile while I worked myself up into enough of a beast mode that I could convince myself that I wasn't going to die jumping this cross rail without stirrups. Probably what convinced me was the thought that the longer I took debating this, the longer I was posting, and after a morning kick boxing workout the chances of me being permanently crippled were high.

mags knows to stay in her corner when the horse starts moving. 

So in we turned.

And Bobby slowly fizzled out to a walk, calmly picked his way through the poles as I clung to him, carefully popped over the X, and cantered off.

I had to have a little giggle at that, and of course stuffed another cookie down his throat, because he so clearly had very little confidence in me not toppling off and decided that was not the way to go.

Back we went, and this time I closed my leg and rode him with some fucking confidence. He trotted right through and jumped just like he'd been doing before, and we were able to finish working through that a few more times like normal kids.

candy for everyone!!

Today was a dressage day. But first it was a piss Carly off day because.....

SOMEONE FELT THE NEED TO LONGE IN MY PERSONAL FUCKING SPACE.

I swear to fucking baby fucking Jesus, it's like people get some sort of twisted fucking pleasure out of longeing while I'm in the ring. Which really, the principle I don't mind. JUST HAVE SOME FUCKING MANNERS COMMON FUCKING SENSE.

The girl and her horse came in, and I went down to the far side of the ring and put Bobby on a circle so she could have the side of the ring where she was standing. Sharing is caring, amirite?!

NO. I AM WRONG.

She walked right over to where I was and put her horse out on the line. Not even in the middle of the ring--all the way over to the far side where I was circling. I was like, "O.O" And then her horse wasn't being crazy enough at the canter, because apparently at my barn it's not okay to just have your horse canter calmly on a line, so she started chasing him with the whip.

Want to know what Bobby really likes? Snapping whips. Loves them. Loves to freak the fuck out in their presence that is. I had to stop and stand there until she was done getting her horse to buck.

She finally left, and we were able to get to work. Bobby's right side had a short today and none of his buttons worked that direction. His stretchy trot is still in hiding, and he really just wanted to canter the whole time, but overall it wasn't a bad ride.

It's supposed to be in the single digits for highs for awhile, so I'm not sure how much riding is going to be getting done. I'll probably just be treating my horse's neck wounds. My favorite.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Owned the indoor

I know I have no right to ever complain about having an indoor, but sometimes I really hate riding in it. I'd hate not being able to ride period, or just being relegated to walk only rides in the foot of snow in the outdoor even more, but sometimes I want to go all bitchy white girl and just, I can't.

I can't even.

I rode on Wednesday afternoon last week because it was 35*, and that was so gloriously warm that I crawled out of my house to enjoy it. Then it got really fucking cold again and I went back into hibernation. But this weekend was like fucking summer! I even saw the sun for like fifteen whole minutes!

Whaaaat.

I met Sarah at the barn Saturday afternoon and we started flatting by ourselves. Bobby was marvelous, even though his stretchy trot seemed to be a one month free trial only thing. But he's really excelling at literally everything else so I won't degrade him this time around. Positivism and all that shit.

the puppy tried to hitch a ride with sarah while no one was looking.

Unfortunately, we were soon joined by two other people that are perhaps not the best to ride with, and while I was able to finish up with a really fancy canter to the left, Sarah and I decided to exit before people started dying. We went for a short trail ride instead.

sometimes you have to get proof of sun with a trail selfie.

On Sunday I got to the barn super early to ensure I could get in a solo jump school without any interference from other riders. I was rewarded with a freshly watered and dragged arena and a barn full of sleepy ponies.

tough night i guess.

I set up a 2' vertical at X, a big X at M, and a 2'3" tall but wide oxer at K. And people, guess what? My horse actually kept his shit together for the entire fucking ride. We did a course and there were no tantrums. Did I mention it was in the indoor? Did I mention we did a course in the indoor with no tantrums?!

It's okay if you're not impressed by this. Most people's ten year olds that have been off the track for five years don't need to be restarted like a baby horse every winter.

We started off with the little vertical on the diagonal (because jumping anything in the indoor is an accomplishment for us, so the jumps aren't going to get very big until the outdoor thaws), and since that was spot on, we continued on around to the big X. I circled him once to get a little more engine engaged and came around to the oxer.

Naaaaiiiiled it.

Also, quickly, my horse has the most adjustable canter in the history of the world....as long as he's not pointed at a jump obviously.

I stopped him and gave him a cookie after that because I'm still heavily bribing him for being good over fences.

dropping off tack at my car for a deep clean.
(aka a text break picture)

Since we got all the elements so easily on the first try, I went ahead and made up a little course. It started with having to approach the X from the left which meant we had to canter all the way down the long side to get to it. But did Mr Pony Pants change rhythm even with a jump sighted in?

No he did not.

And when I saw a long spot, closed my leg and asked him to take it, did he?

Yes. Yes he did.

MY HORSE LISTENED TO ME!!! He was all, "Whoaaaaa, stay chilly." Then he was all, "Be a boss and go for it." BECAUSE I TOLD HIM TO.

Unfortunately I was too busy celebrating in my head to get reorganized enough to make the quick turn to the vertical on the diagonal so we had to circle afterwards before coming to it. Not the first time such things have happened. Then he landed too quick off the vertical so I circled him there, too, to make sure we had the right canter for the oxer. That was also good, and cause for too much celebration, so one more circle to finish off with the X from the right.

"time out. it's been minutes since i last ate some dirty snow."

I briefly thought about ending it there, but it was the littlest, easiest course and there was no reason we couldn't do one run through without circling. All I had to do was, you know, sit up and pay attention and we'd be fine.

And we were. No problems, hit every distance, didn't hit any poles. I finished up with some no stirrup posting trot and canter both ways and stuffed the remained of the cookies in my pocket down Bobby's maw.

I'm sick of snow and cold weather, and I'm sick of choking on dust in the indoor, but these baby jump school sessions are really making some magic happen, folks.