He has the attention span of a cracked out fruit fly when it comes to flatting, and the second I go to correct him and try to bring his focus back, he gets vastly offended which translates instantly into tension.
|pushing for a big trot to loosen up one super tight back|
Fortunately--I guess--he's a super easy horse to tell when he's cheating. Unless you're completely delusional with the feel of a cement block, there's no way to miss when he's just curling his head to his chest instead of really using himself, or when his back sinks six inches because OH MY GOD DON'T CORRECT HIM HE KNOWS EVERYTHING EVER.
What we've been working on is a steady connection with forward gaits and control of the shoulders.
Let me repeat that last part: Control of the shoulders.
|there they are--thinking about flying off track|
He's been doing beautifully when it comes to sitting down and pushing off with his hind end. He's soft in the bridle, he's happy to kick into that extra gear and give me a little more bounce per ounce, but sometimes he's like flying a kite.
Or not even really a kite, but more like his butt is an anchor and his shoulders are the boat up above on seas currently being wreaked with a Cat 5 hurricane getting blown all over the place.
It's the worst at the canter. I've actually had to occasionally revert to remedial school pony steering on a circle with a wide open inside rein because apparently my outside leg doesn't exist. His shoulders are just like, "Wheeeeeee!!! We're leeeaaavvingggg over heeerreeeeee!"
So to combat this issue, I've been making him do all three gaits in perpetual shoulder fore. It's helped tremendously, and the best part is that he takes zero offense to it. Good pony.
|happy slobber horse lips|
With our show this weekend where we'll be warming up next to the stadium course, I've been a little worried about tension in the dressage. It's the only thing dressage judges ever seem to pick up on during our tests--even when I feel like I'm riding a rabid llama that's about to bust out of the ring, as long as he's not tense and just excited, judges think Bobby is the best which I still think is the greatest mystery in the universe.
Sunday I had the chance to work on diffusing any tension. While some of you were melting in the heat like we were on Saturday (at 86*), the next day didn't get up past 45* and it poured all day. The horses got turned out briefly in the morning, but when I got to the barn they had just been brought in. Poor freshly clipped Bobby was soaking wet and freezing cold, and his back was like a vice.
|mugging so hard for cookies.|
He got his BOT pad put on, and then a long warm up totally in half seat. He was so sassy cantering. He kept doing his patented snake head while occasionally throwing in Bobby-sized bucks that didn't affect my balance while hovering over his back in the slightest. Once he got warmed up though, he went right to work.
after warm up, working on loosening that back even more.
If I have to warm him up in half seat at the show to chill him out for the test, I'm down with that. We're also entered in for the OTTB prizes, so I'm not going to lie and say I don't want to do really well this weekend. The more satin the better!