Saturday we went out to the front jump field where Bobby and his bestie Romeo get turned out. I'd swung into the barn around ten that morning on my way home from the pet store to throw on his blanket before he got turned out, and then at the last second asked to have him left in because I was planning on coming right back with Hubby in tow.
|ho hum. quietly being a dressage horse around xc jumps.|
Well, "back in under an hour" turned into back in close to two hours which left my horse stuck in his stall all morning with his lunch hay waiting for him in the pasture he wasn't getting turned out in. Sorry, dude. So sorry.
He was really good warming up on the flat for me though. He went right out there and went to work at all three gaits in both directions. I called out to Hubby that I was going to throw a few jumps together, and we did all three without any fuss.
|first jump of the day|
|tires require minimal effort.|
Hubby got distracted by geese flying overhead (No, Hubby. I don't think BO will let you hunt geese in her fields. Eyes on the ground, son.), so we took a quick breather before starting back up again. That has historically not been ideal in schooling Bobby in any situation. If he thinks he's done, he's done.
We came back around to the stacked rails jump and Bobby promptly lost his shit. Jump after jump was fast and flat or sideways and then fast and flat. I tried to troubleshoot as we went along, but eventually, after getting stuck in a corner because he couldn't bring himself to go forward at all (Oh, hey, BM! No, we're fine. Just keep driving.), I called a halt and we took a timeout. I could feel myself starting to lose my own shit, and I didn't want to feed into Bobby's ridiculousness.
|deep breaths, everyone.|
To me, there's never a time or place for fast and flat. In show jumping, it brings down rails. In cross country it can bring down the horse or rider. It's not safe, and I don't tolerate that.
After our chill time, I put Bobby back to work on the flat. Lots of changes of direction, changes of pace, and weaving in and out as close to the jumps as I could get him. Look, dude. We are two inches from this jump and nothing is happening. We even walked over a tiny log a few times. Nothing to get upset about here, Bobby!
|jumps? jumps ain't no thing.|
|cantering by a jump? no big deal!|
He settled down some and I was able to trot him and canter him once a piece over the stacked rails without issue. Good, britches!
Keeping that super packaged but still forward canter, I changed direction again and kept the train right on rolling over a little table thing along the fence line. Unfortunately, the train derailed and Bobby flung his head skyward, launched himself in the general direction of the jump, half climbed, half fell over it, and then almost face planted on landing.
|slip your reins and try to stay tall...and alive.|
I think that was a bit of a wake up call for him as he at least kept his giant head in this stratosphere afterwards. Still, the next few times were not any good either. I stayed focused though and kept repeating my rules to him: collected canter, stay forward, listen to me, I will choose our spot, it will be a good spot, I will not pull on you if you listen to me, and if you go with this spot that I choose, I won't end up hitting you in the mouth.
Finally, he got the memo and we went around and around half a dozen times with the right canter and leaving from the right spot. It's frustrating because it's obvious he can do it. He was doing it right off the bat just fine earlier in the week, and finished by doing it just fine. Why we have to go through these tantrums first, I don't know.
|so much nicer, mr magee. why was this so hard?|
Walking out of the paddock, he angrily dragged me to his waiting hay by the gate and refused to leave until he'd grabbed several mouthfuls. Bobby. Were you just hangry out there? Talk to me, bro.
When we got back to his stall, he was too busy checking out his feed bucket after I untacked him to beg for his post-ride candy. To try to speed things along since Hubby was there, I skipped that step and went right to putting my tack away and changing out of my boots before going back to him. He was screaming his brains out and absolutely frantic in his stall.
Bobby is secretly a very sensitive, insecure dude. I'm probably being anthropomorphic here, but if we have a bad ride and I don't tell him it's okay when we're done, he loses his shit. He'll rear and thrash around and won't shut up until he gets comforted. Honestly it's a little absurd, and once I went into his stall armed with handfuls of candy corn, he settled right down and went back to being his usual cheerful self.
I gave him Sunday off because I was tired, and today we had a really, really good dressage ride. It was mostly spent at the walk, but focusing on getting him listening to all my aids at that gait and coming back down to refocus when needed had him so sharp and soft. He's going to get tomorrow off to let that one sink in (hopefully), and then back to work for the rest of the week.
|walking is our favorite.|