Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Get Control of Yourself, Man

One of my goals for May was to get Bobby back in the Dressage Diva groove. He's capable of being very fancy on the flat, but he's the type of horse where everything has to come together in perfect astrological symmetry to make it happen.

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!


  1. Of course the judges like him - he's pretty!!! Stop and look at that first pic - it's a pretty picture! Isn't that what dressage is really about anyway? Prettiness? Seriously though, he's looking good :)

    Good luck this weekend and HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!!! (fb told me so)

  2. ALL THE SATIN! Even better if it's OTTB satin :)

  3. You guys look great! Y'all will get alllll the satin.

    (Clicked that video hoping for Bad Bobby canter, but was also happy to see Happy Bobby trot instead)

  4. June and 45*?! The mind boggles.

    Bobby looks lovely in that video- plus yay rein back!

  5. I hear you on the runaway shoulders! Tucker's left shoulder and I are still working on getting on speaking terms. Can't wait to hear about your show this weekend!

  6. I always pretend I'm in a car racing video game when I lose the shoulders/hind end depending on the horse. Wheeee I'm drifting awaayyyy

  7. Robert done got his fancy pants on.

  8. Simon says using his back is hard, and he would prefer just not please. I also have to deal with runaway shoulders, but I don't know how to fix the problem as well as you do!

  9. Wow you guys look pretty darn fancy to me! Can't wait to hear all about the show! Rock on with your bad self!!!

  10. I think you guys look very fancy. Also, I think Bobby is so handsome, I just want to feed him cookies all day and pet him.. but that's just me.

  11. he's looking great! please win allllll the satin!

  12. The shoulder fore trick sounds interesting!

  13. Love that cookie muggin' face. That's a good face.

  14. I never realised how round Bobby's hind end is, and how much his conformation resembles a dressage horse! Is it just that picture? I seriously never noticed in your other pics!

    My problelm is the opposite of your's -- Murray is always dragging himself along on the forehand so his hind end has been fishtailing around behind him lately. There are many more trot and canter poles in my life to get him to push from behind.

    1. His little tushy might have been tucked under him against the freezing rain and wind. He's got a pretty flat croup.

  15. Lovely stretchy trot! I heart goober lips. It fulfills me!

  16. You guys are super fancy. Good luck this weekend!


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