Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tough Love

You guys must be getting pretty sick of posts from this week that are exactly the same. I'm getting pretty sick of writing them. I'm thisclose to being sick of riding them. While years of working with one Bobby Magee have made me one hell of a zen rider, my patience is not infinite.

The hysterics continued in yesterday's ride. He came out a little stiff to start, no doubt from all the frantic flailing he's been doing lately. I put him through a lot of transitions to lighten him up for warm up--a few steps of walk, a few steps of trot, repeat; trot, halt, rein back, trot; lengthen and shortening through all three gaits; and so on. We even did some shallow leg yield zig zags both directions!

He never got upset or anxious through any this, and then we moved on to the canter. It was fine...until he'd randomly decide to throw in a rodeo horse buck before carrying on like nothing had happened. He pulled that stunt a couple times each direction, and I was like, "Whelp. At least I know why he's acting out this time. He must have thrown out his hips after the chiro appointment while flinging himself into solid objects."

I was pretty angry, to be honest. I'd just dropped almost $100 on getting him sorted out physically, and I was sure he'd undone all that in the space of one weekend.

For no fucking reason.


arthur says peace, love, snuggles, and cat treats, bobby.
just be chill, man. 

I gave him a nice long walk break before picking up the trot again. I didn't have a difficult agenda planned. I wanted Bobby to work on shortening and lengthening his trot. Maybe a circle thrown in if we had to avoid the lesson rider, but no "crazy" lateral work.

It didn't matter. Bobby would pick a spot, any spot, pick the slightest shift in my seat or no change at all, and just straight up lose his shit.

BM, who was teaching, was just as exasperated as I was. I told her I thought he might be out behind, so she had me walk and trot him away from and to her several times before shaking her head. "He's traveling as straight as a rod. If he's out, it's so subtle it's not showing up at all."

GRRRRRR.

Lesson rider went to one half of the ring to work on getting her horse off the forehand at the trot, so Bobby and I stuck to the other half to work on stretching out at the trot and just chilling the fuck out. He'd have a minor spaze every time he came around one corner tracking right, but I'd just half halt him and he'd get over it for the rest of the circle.

To the left, he was totally chill, so after a couple minutes, I asked him to come back up and work a little higher before calling it quits for the day. He was fine for one lap before turning in for the second and exploding into dramatics.

BM and lesson rider had just finished and were like, "What the actual fuck is wrong with your horse? He was just going around perfectly!"

I was over it.

I gave him two solid whacks across the butt cheek with Mr Tappy turned Mr "Get the fuck over yourself right this fucking second I am SO done with your shit". He threw up his head and threatened to go all the way up so I wailed him in the sides with my legs and he went.

And he went just fine, He trotted off totally normal. We did three big circles with a great, uphill trot before I let him walk, and he cooled out on the buckle totally chill.

new breastplate debut. i still want to tweak the fit a bit.

BM told me he was lucky to have me as a rider because I had way more patience than he deserved. She said if he kept pulling that shit daily with her, she'd throw him outside and wouldn't be able to look at him for a week. She thinks he needs to develop a work ethic.

Honestly? That kind of actually correlates to what Trainer told me when Bobby was throwing a fit about moving his haunches over: I've grown accustomed to his evasions, and I play right into them.

BM's advice was to start thinking about tough love. I'm hesitant to engage in Bobby's fits, but something's got to change here. The attitude is getting ridiculous.

unlike arthur's attitude. all snuggles all the time.

24 comments:

  1. I cannot imagine how beyond frustrated you must be! But as long as he isn't doing anything stupid-dangerous that you can't stick... a little tough love may definitely be the answer. He seems to have a healthy respect for Mr. Tappy.

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  2. I'm tempted to laugh because your write ups are hilarious, but I have BEEN THERE and it is the pits. It's a weirdly fine line of "do not engage the drama" with "make his options very clear" plus a unhealthily large dose of drinking and swearing.

    And a lot of luck.

    And swearing.

    With any luck, your barnmates will think you're a pirate?

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  3. So frustrating! :( do you ride with spurs (Mr Pokey)?

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    1. Every ride. He's a slug without them.

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  4. Oh I have also been there, I feel you. He was super chill after a meet-and-greet with Mr Tappy? Maybe he is like App, maybe sometimes he just wants to be hit and is making up reasons. App was like that a LOT in his teen years, he would pull all sorts of shit. All he needed/wanted was a couple of smacks at the beginning of the ride, and maybe one or two during, and his whole demeanor changed. No joke, at one point it was a running joke at the barn that he was a bit of a masochist.

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  5. Yeah Sounds like Bobby is a Millenial and wants to be given his oats for free and no work, you are tough though, bring on that tough love

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  6. I really don't know. I've been often told that I need to get mean with Fiction when he throws tantrums because he doesn't work....but all that does is set us back because he becomes even MORE upset, and that is why we are where we are now. Are you sure there isn't some underlying problem? I'm sure your saddle fits fine, etc., but Fiction used to get insanely mad when my saddle fit was even slightly off. If it's out of character for him, it could either be something off or lack of work ethic. Or maybe the coolish weather? No idea, but sorry you're struggling through this :(

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    1. It's out of the ordinary for him to be pulling this EVERY dressage ride (he does nothing in a jump school), but not even remotely out of the ordinary for him to lose his shit like this. Usually it's just once a month at the most.

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    2. My last trainer had a similar issue, only her horse would throw tantrums every jump ride but not every dressage ride. She tried everything to find out what was wrong with him and eventually just retired him to dressage because she couldn't figure out the problem :(

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  7. Oh man, that just sucks. I'm sorry you're having it so rough. :(

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  8. Hmmm... I wonder what the heck is going on. Maybe he's being ring-sour?

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  9. I second the tough love thing. Especially if he proceeded to go nicely after you got after him. It doesn't seem like he has a physical problem, just a mental one. But I'm not riding him, so I don't know. But I'd be pissed too.

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  10. My gelding is overly dramatic, too. Whoever said mares are moody never met a dramatic gelding...

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  11. Hmmmm it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Murray got his head screwed on this week about two things (bucking at the trot and pretending I'm asking him for leg yields all the time) and that seems to have done it for now. Good luck!

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  12. Hmmmm it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Murray got his head screwed on this week about two things (bucking at the trot and pretending I'm asking him for leg yields all the time) and that seems to have done it for now. Good luck!

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  13. omg bobby wtf man? ugh i'd be beyond frustrated (just listen to arthur bobby, c'mon!). i know what you mean about not wanting to play into the tantrums - that's also my typical approach. but idk... maybe it has to get uglier before it can get better? good luck :(

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  14. Ugh Bobby! I've had to practice the tough love thing a lot with Red lately. Gotta love it when they decide to be idiots for no reason.

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  15. Cosmo is dishing the same shit out now. Not quite as dramatic as Bobby, but it's the same basic idea. I need to not be so nice, expect more from him and make him give it to me.

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  16. Hey, maybe there is something in the air? Dassah's been pulling shit all week. I'm tempted to chalk it up to saddle fit but I also know I've been riding like shit.

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  17. Have you thought about trying him on Magnesium? I live in an area that's deficient and as soon as I started supplementing magnesium my pony went from throwing stressed out tantrums every ride to being more like a normal horse (with only rare tantrums :). It's cheap to try and if you don't see a difference after a couple days on a loading dose than that's not the problem.

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  18. I like this Mr. Tappy guy. ;)

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  19. Ugh, poor you. I second those that suggested trying a bit of magnesium and see if that evens him out. If it helps, you can get a giant 50# bag of Mag Ox from any feed mill. Sydney gets a lot due to her PSSM, and the 50# looks like it will last us a year. I imagine a more normal dosage the bag would last for forever.

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.