I've clocked three (well, four I guess if you count Sunday's trail ride) rides in on Robert this week with varied results. After having such shit goes on Bobby all last week that personal anxiety from other things in my life just got dumped over like a giant pile of nastiness, I won't say that the thought of selling this frustrating asshole of a horse didn't cross my mind.
Maybe more than once.
I usually go out to the barn first thing in the morning to ride, but instead spent most of Monday cooking and cleaning in a manic person frenzy. However, by the time four rolled around, I was like, "You know what? I really want to jump my horse. I'm having some rare positive juju about the experience roll through my head, so let's do it."
|day three of turnout and the bows were still in.|
I took my time once I got there and forced myself to remain in a very zen mindset. Calm thoughts, calm ride, right? Some sort of nonsense like that.
I put Bobby on the longe first in just his halter after spending a long time grooming him (and pulling out his bows) to give him a chance to get any stupid out before our ride. He got a little sassy right off, but then settled into work without fuss. We ended quickly with some cookies, then he hung out while I threw rails on top of the gates set on the left diagonal as a two stride and added a square oxer on the other diagonal.
|me: here, bobby. let me take a picture of what i tank you look like right now, and so|
cute with your braids still in.
bobby: hurh durhhhh no.
He was very good warming up and we moved on pretty quickly to the line. He steeplechased his way through the first time, and to try to avoid a repeat to the oxer, I really half halted him on approach.
Only then I didn't add any leg to back my half halt up and he slammed on the brakes right in front of the fence. He fortunately wasn't the least bit upset about it, instead calmly backing up and circling around like, "Did you learn your lesson there, lady? You say whoa with no go and I'll whoa like a mother fucker."
Lesson learned indeed, and I closed my leg when asking him not to race over it like an asshole the next time around which he did just fine.
The line though was another matter. I finally made him stuff three strides in there to prove a point, and we came into the first jump at the trot from there on out. That got his brain sorted and we had good jumps in and out.
Since he got with the program so quickly, I put everything up two holes to make each jump about 3'3".
|christmas fell into the water bucket.|
J poked her head in as I was getting Bobby going again and asked if I wanted her to turn the arena lights on since it was getting dark. I told her I was only going to take him through once and we'd be done if he was good. That probably should have been the kiss of death right there, and then she stuck around to watch in case he wasn't good and I did need her to flip the lights on. That also should have fucked us up because I get super nervous when people watch me jump, but I forced myself to focus on getting a good canter and off we went.
Bobby was perfect all the way through all three fences. We had a bit of a right drift on the out jump, but that's nothing new. We came around to the oxer so easily forward that I saw my spot the second we turned in. I softened my hands, sat up, and let Bobby carry us up to the jump. He took it right out of stride, putting in a big jump for funsies, and cantered off just as easily.
I could tell he was super happy to actually be asked to jump something of height again, and he was very proud of himself when I pulled him up. It was exactly the ride I needed from him that day.
|me: bobby! show everyone what a fit hulk monster you are!|
bobby: hurrrrrhhhhhh wut r legs?
I gave him Tuesday off before going out on Wednesday for a dressage ride. In the spirit of finding good things about bad rides, let me start by point a few things out.
I was able to switch Mr Tappy from hand to hand without him giving me any attitude or even so much as twitching an ear. He just kept on marching along on the bit waiting for the next thing.
I have also consistently discovered how to sit his trot lengthening finally! I'm sure it mostly has to do with him actually lifting his back while doing it instead of jolting me into the stratosphere, but my flabby core is also getting much stronger. Sitting trot it so easy now.
|the braids finally came out too. womp womp.|
In the spirit of being transparent and sharing the bad with the good on this blog, I'll also point out that we spent the last twenty minutes of our ride crashing into BM (only once, and we almost got crashed into by her once when the horse she was on tried imitating Bobby's antics. Sorry, Finn. There is only one Bobby, and no one goes sideways and backwards simultaneously quite like him.), the wall, and the support beams.
Why the theatrics?
Oh, you know. Because I asked him to bend around my inside leg at the trot on a circle.
Bobby was all, "BUT LOOK AT MY HAUNCHES!!! LOOK WHAT THEY DO!! THEY'RE OVER HERE! NOW THEY'RE OVER THERE! DON'T YOU WANT MY HAUNCHES TO MOVE?! LOOK HOW FAST THEY'RE MOVING!!!"
And I was all, "Inside bend, inside bend, lalalala, ignoring everything but inside bend."
So then Bobby was like, "YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT CIRCLES. I'M SO STRAIGHT!! STRAIGHT AS A BOARD!!! IF YOU DON'T WANT MY HAUNCHES TO MOVE OVER THERE AND OVER HERE, NOTHING IN MY WHOLE BODY MOVES!!! I'M SIDE PASSING ALONG THE WHOLE LONG SIDE, AND I'M GOING TO SLAM MY ASS INTO EVERY BEAM AS I GO AND IT'S GOING TO UPSET ME BUT I WON'T STOP DOING IT I'M SO UPSET MY HAUNCHES ARE DOING THINGS WHY AREN'T YOU BEING UPSET WITH ME I'LL BE UPSET ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF US!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Until finally he gave me one single circle with proper bend and the second he finished it I hopped off and shoved cookies down his throat.
We have it.
|t shirt selfie with a sweaty nut bag in december.|
yay warm weather!
I told BM to put him on the list for the chiro so I can at least cross that off the list of reasons why bending right has suddenly eluded us, and he'll get adjusted Friday.
However, I put in a light dressage ride today with more of an emphasis on the canter--specifically coming to a trot at X and holding it to either A/C or when we hit the wall again instead of one step and back to the opposite lead. That took some work, but it got done.
Every time Bobby started to overreact to something stupid, I'd give him a single sharp correction that would jolt him from his shit and then give him a scratch once he tuned in and thought about doing what I was asking. That seemed to work really well for him, and while he had several naughty moments, they never escalated into anything more than that.
PLUS, what did we have?
Right bend. At the trot. On a circle. Sometimes with stretch, sometimes with more contact.
He tried to get tense and curl under the first time I asked, but I kicked him forward into a big trot which changed his focus, gave him a scratch, casually turned in on the circle while telling him he was a good boy, and then continuing on straight onto a completely different exercise. Ho hum. Bending on a circle is no big thing, Bobby.
I was very proud of him for keeping his brain in his head today, and he got to cool out on the trails and lazily hop over some cross country jumps to celebrate.