Monday, August 31, 2015

TNEC Intro Hunter Pace

Sunday was a small hunter pace held at my barn. They do one of these about once a month in the summer. They're short, easy, and a good intro to horses that don't usually get out over terrain or see natural jumps. I hadn't originally planned on taking Bobby out for it because we have these jumps available to us whenever we want to use them, but barn friend A and I decided at last minute we'd toodle around for funsies.

pics from the pace haven't been posted yet, so have some saturday riding ones instead

It almost instantly turned into a comedy of errors on our ride, and when we finally crossed the finish line and stopped for the BO to get a picture, instead of calling out the requisite "Ponies!", I  heartily yelled out, "This was the worst hunter pace everrrrrr!"

But at least I wasn't the one that was carted off in the ambulance.

A and I had agreed to meet towards the end of the ride so that everyone that was trailering in would have already headed out. A has a green OTTB that has done approximately zero things besides race, and the initial plan was to take him out there and let him follow easy peasy Mr Magee around. If he jumped some tiny logs, great. If he flipped out, no problem. We'd just head back.

just before dropping my stirrups because 2 weeks in a dressage saddle made me
forget how to flat in a jump saddle.

As I was hanging out in the barn waiting for A to arrive, someone came running in from the front field where the pace started looking for BM. One of the riders had fallen and wasn't getting up. Fortunately, one of the barn girls' mom is a nurse, so she hustled out there to assess the situation while BM and BO were located and brought the Gator out.

Then we start hearing screaming, and the girl's horse gets brought back on foot with her partner who informs us the ambulance has been called as it looks like K has broken her leg. Turns out K jumped ahead, the horse got pissed and bucked on landing, and K fell off landing in what must have been the most awkward way possible.

It was not the most comfortable wait ever for those of us back at the barn as we kept hearing poor K screeching whenever the EMT did anything to her, but they finally put her out and got her loaded up to head to the hospital.

I swear we all felt really bad for her, but in typical horse girl fashion, we were also like, "BM isn't going to tell the last of us we can't go now, is she?" Because when someone breaks their leg falling off a horse in front of you, obviously you want to get right back in the saddle and go jump some jumps.

much more comfortable!

At that point, A arrived and the three remaining groups decided we'd get tacked up and go for it.

A's horse, History, has a really great brain and despite being a little wide eyed, he walked and trotted around pretty sanely. His canter looked a little more fun, and A immediately lamented her lack of a martingale, but warm up was contained for both of us.

Bobby and I hopped over a few of the bigger jumps in the front field while A trotted History around some more. Bobby was being a really good boy. I was jumping him in just his Happy Mouth snaffle and he wasn't bowling through it which was a nice change.



Then I brought him around to the 3' brush box. The thing's a little sketch, but we've jumped it before with no problem. We cantered up to it confidently, I saw a perfectly acceptable distance and since Bobby had been there with me for all the other jumps, I thought we were for sure going for it. At the last second, Bobby added a half step, started to jump, and then must have felt me up his neck too much (I guess?) and threw on the brakes as he was already halfway over the fence.

Obviously that meant he landed on the fence and brought the whole thing down. I was thrown up onto Bobby's head, and thought I was going to be able to save it when he jumped back, but he lurched a little too hard and I slow motioned rolled over his head onto the fence.

I immediately jumped up with nothing more than a little dirt of my breeches and elbow, and started after my horse who was walking calmly back to the barn.

Best part of this?

I got it on helmet cam!


Bobby continued to meander away, but he calmly stopped when I jogged a few steps to catch up to him and grab my poor dragging bridle. Aside from one of the straps on his RF open front boot ripping, nothing else was harmed. BM caught me in the act of bridling Bobby back up, and when she walked over, A and I were like, "We didn't want you to see us! We figured you were going to make everyone just get the fuck off and go home for the day!"

No harm done though as I'm not even a touch sore today. Bobby and I jumped one more jump in that field just to say we did it without dying, and then the four of us hustled out of there to finish the pace.


Both boys were really good as we trotted most of the rest of the way before stopping in one of the fields so I could get some video of A taking History over his first real cross country fence. He was a total rock star, and before heading back to the barn, we stopped for a quick trip into the pond.

I pulled my phone arm band off to grab a few more pictures, and then held it in one hand while turning Bobby around to get him out of the water. Once out, I went to put my arm band back on only to discover it was empty. My brand new iphone had abandoned ship somewhere in the murky water.

A and I jumped off and searched through all the grass hoping it had fallen on the shore instead, but definitely not. We left it there to wait for the water to clear to come back and look for it.

This is why Carly can't have nice things. Ever.

don't take technology near water. you'd think that would be a given.

There were a few more jumps we could have gone over to finish, but at that point we just strolled the rest of the way in an attempt to keep anything else bad from happening. After we took care of the ponies, A and I headed back out for phone recovery.

I waded in all the way up to my thighs in nasty pond scum, but no phone to be found. As I was trudging out, about two inches from shore, I saw the corner of my Ravens case poking out from weeds. The water was just deep enough to cover the whole fucking phone of course, and the thing is dead, but at least I found it. It's currently sitting in a tub of rice, but my hopes for it ever turning on again are pretty much nonexistent.

Needless to say, Bobby gets today off.

every day leg doctoring. also, don't believe those ribs. 

In my quest to dominate the shit out of all things riding and up our game, I have a lesson with a dressage trainer and R judge Friday morning. She's my BM's regular trainer, and I like the way all of BM's horses go. I plan on lessoning with BM too, it's just a matter of finances. BM also said that there's a H/J trainer she uses that sometimes comes up for lessons that I would probably be interested in once Bobby's fit enough to do a jumping lesson.

Fuck yeah, opportunities! Now to win the lottery....

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Work Harder, Get Better.

Warning: Deep thoughts ahead.

can you feel the brain hurt?

As has been glaringly obvious--at least to me, having to live through it on the daily, but I also think it's come through on the blog (Remember when I used to be funny? REMEMBER THAT?!)--this move to New York has not been my idea of a good time.

I had to leave an area I was familiar with and really loved. I had to give up my main support system: those friends who I have a lot of history with and, to keep this blog related, were familiar with the full story of me and my horse's partnership.

The barn I initially moved to was a wash. I drive by there occasionally and there's still never anyone there. It's a beautiful place, but it never would have worked for us. On the flip side, when I pull into Bobby's current home, there are people around, they're friendly, they say hi, they feed Bobby snacks because everyone that doesn't have to ride my horse loves him. Still, I feel like I'm struggling to fit in a little bit and find my place.


Being at a new barn, you're introducing your horse to people who have probably never seen him go before. When I initially looked at this place, I told the BM that Bobby and I were solid at Novice. The dressage was good; we probably weren't going to need a lot of help with that for where we are now. He schools 3'-3'6" at home without much issue, but what I really wanted to get help with was producing hunter-like rounds for a move up to Training in short order.

Then I came in with a horse in desperate need of chiropractic work, and he promptly got injured on top of that.

Now that he's back in work and I'm doing really top notch things like riding with other people, I end up scrambling to try to talk my horse up whenever they comment on him.

"The lateral work on Bobby is so easy. He was even starting to learn canter half pass when we moved because he was getting so confirmed with the trot half pass."

"His lengthenings? Wow. This horse has reach."

"His changes around a course are usually one hundred percent auto."

And then my weak, not far from crippled horse can barely hold himself up on a 20m circle and they just look at you like, "Sure your horse does dressage, Carly.

At Intro.

And not well."

Meanwhile, I haven't moved on from the walk for the past thirty minutes because I can feel that my horse is looking for any excuse to blow the fuck up, and if he hears one more horse get popped with a whip he's going to literally die. Forget trying to explain that to a new barn that only knows your dopey, sweet creature on the ground where he does no wrong. "Your horse throws tantrums. Right. What does he do? Step sideways? Do his ears fall over even more than they already do?"


It's hard riding at such a remedial level when you're surrounded by advanced riders on beautifully trained horses, especially when you know you're sitting on a horse just as capable. Deep down, I understand it's not a fair comparison at this point. My horse is currently physically incapable of performing at his usual level.

It's hard not to feel like I have to prove myself to those around me though, to show off everything Bobby can do. He rides, he drives, he does western, eventing, straight dressage, we've gone to hunter shows, he trail rides, he ponies, he rocks the shit out of a wig and a tiara....

There's no reason to have to prove myself. I know what my horse can do. I know that eventually he'll be strong enough to get even better than he was before. However, that's a lot easier to say than to embrace in real life.

Part of the hang up is how much I'm riding the "I LOATHE New York" attitude train. Any excuse to get depressed about something and blame it on the move is my life right now. And I don't know if I'm projecting the same attitude onto my horse, but he hasn't seemed like the same dude I had one state down. His personality has just seemed muted these past few months.

He's had a big change himself. He went from being inside seven hours a day for a quick nap and unlimited hay in front of his face with the rest of his day and night spent on a rolling twelve acres with three mellow as shit horses and tons of grass to graze on, to ten-ish hours a day inside with one feeding of hay in the morning only to get chucked out into a small, flat dry lot with another pile of hay and one grouchy ass old gelding for company.

He's not moving around in turnout as much, he's not getting that never-ending forage, he's not out on hills to help his weak hind end out, and there's no defined schedule at this barn for anything.

New York sucks.


As far as the whole riding plan and making goals and fuck yeah let's plan for the future where fun things are abound goes...

New York attitude: THERE IS NO FUTURE BECAUSE JUST BECAUSE.

I feel like every time I make a plan to move up to Training, I get blocked. No, wait. I don't feel that this is the issue. This is what is happening. Bobby and I are Training blocked.

Send in entry? BAM, show gets cancelled.

Fill out substitute entry? BAM, horse goes lame.

Plan on next one? BAM, NOTHING IS EVER GOING TO HAPPEN JUST MOVE YOUR HORSE FAR AWAY FROM ANY SORT OF EVENTING CIVILIZATION.

There are so few horse trials in this area that you blink and you've missed the entire season. My horse went lame at the worst time. Eventing is one hundred percent done here at this point. There are no more horse trial options.

I keep trying to tell myself that signing off on the rest of the year again is fine. We'll get it next year! But for fuck's sake, I am so over having that be my end of the season mantra. How many years am I going to keep repeating the same cycle?

New York attitude: Our eventing career is over. We're never going to be able to do another event or horse show ever again because this state is a black hole for dreams and life and unicorns.

Reality: It's time to re-evaluate my goals and figure out what the real underlying problem is.

If a prompt move up to Training is what I'm really serious about, then that needs to be my one and only focus. I need to block out everything else and start laying out a plan that reads more like a job, a serious goal, instead of a fun hobby.

It's time to get real, bitches.

Real serious.


I've already instigated this practice in my past few rides after driving home over the weekend and bawling my eyes out because of everything I've already over-shared above. First step? Refusing to get off and quit until I can put my horse away knowing I've accomplished something during that ride.

I'm ignoring my completely unnecessary and thoroughly unhinged competitive side and focusing on what my horse can do right now and how I can not only work to bring him back to where he was, but how I can make him even better than before.

This still involves a lot of walking. In fact, to the right, all it involves is walking. But I'm making sure that walk is ramrod straight, the turns are square, the back is up, the hind end is engaged, and someone's large mule head isn't staring at things in the distance.

To the left, right now he's going better with a canter before attempting the trot. The canter is really coming along beautifully. It's by far the best thing he's got going for him right now by some random miracle.

The trot work is a process. My mantra for every ride right now is just Trot It Out. I'm working really, really hard to not pull at all. This is SO HARD for me, but the cure is to just trot until Bobby starts looking for the bit on his own. The first day I thought I was going to drop of exhaustion by the time we got there. The second day it was only five minutes before he was reaching for the contact.

We follow all that--no matter if it takes an hour and a half to get there or thirty minutes--with a walk on the trails and a strong canter around the big field out back.

We're going to get there. It's just going to be slow, and I have to come to grips with that. The silver lining is that with my new-found ultra focus, we are not going to be Training blocked next year. We are moving up, we're going to be prepared, and we're going to be very good.

I don't need to compare myself to others. I don't need to make excuses to myself for why I'm doing something other people would do differently. No one else is riding my horse. No one else knows him like I do. Everyone's situation is different. It's up to me, and only me, to get where I want to be.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WW: Barn Tour

Because it's hot, and humid, and the stallion has the day off, I figured there was no better time to give you guys a tour of my new-ish barn! Also because neither the BO or BM creep me out by being in their presence (coughlastbarncough), and I finally have barn friends, I plan on being here for my NY duration.

Which will not be permanent.

But anyway....

the boarders' tack room. my trunk is the open monstrosity.

lesson horse tack room, bathroom, office.

feed room, tack rooms, and stalls to the right, indoor to the left.

the indoor, which is in the process of getting its footing reworked

front view of the barn from the driveway. 

outdoor

grazing brown beast between the outdoor and barn

bobby's paddock. all but 2 of the paddocks are dry lots which sucks, but pasture around
here is very hit or miss which we knew when we moved.
fortunately, the hay here is unbelievable quality. 

out to the trails

BO's house in the background.
you can also get to the trails from the driveway.

stalls. obvi.

eating brown beast in his stall. 

It's not the prettiest place, but it works for us!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Yep, dressage is definitely harder.

Bobby got his first real jump school this morning! It wasn't really real, but it was real for where we are in the rehab/strength building process.

I got to the barn at 8:30 to try to beat the heat. Fortunately, it was cooler, but the humidity was a hundred times worse as we wait for storms to roll in this evening. I warmed Bobby up with a few laps of w/t each direction and then had to take a break to catch my breath. One of the barn girls was waiting for her lesson outside the ring sprawled in a chair in the shade and was like, "I don't know how you're breathing right now. This air is so heavy."

Truth. Bobby didn't seem to have any trouble with it, but we can't all be rocking the super power of good Thoroughbred lungs.

although, before he realized we were jumping, he was sure
sleeping would be a better option than working in this heat.

A few minutes of walking got us rolling again, and after a brief canter where I didn't have to work at all to get Bobby's engine going, and he wasn't falling in on circles--dressage for the win--I took him around to the 2'6" vertical on the diagonal from the left. He sighted in on that fucker and:

"jump ahead!! i get to do the jumping!!"

He actually took it quite politely. It's easiest to just kind of let Bobby take over and move up to the fence on his own because he doesn't really rate once he's locked on. If you do try to take back instead of hold steady or let him loose, he gets supremely offended and throws giant fucking tantrums.

Working with a diva.

We came right around and did the gate which was either 2'6" or 2'9"--nothing taxing by any means--which I even had to give him a little leg through the turn for. We took another walk break, and then I recruited B to video quick before she started tacking up.


Of course once the video was rolling, we chipped in a bit to the first fence, but the second is indicative of how the rest of the ride went. Bobby was pretty much a total gentleman the whole ride. We jumped a total of ten times (I set the limit before I even got on), coming out of the corner for a short approach to the diagonal a few times, and doing the long approach to the gate a few times.

My leg felt solid, I didn't have a problem releasing, and I saw our distances every time.... even the time on video where I saw that we were not going to get a good one. Whoops.

seriously, the boobs on withers habit needs to be broken.

I'm vastly relieved that I felt as good as I did. I was really worried that after how long it's been since we've jumped that we both were going to revert back to square one. After today, it doesn't really feel like we've missed a beat.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dressage is harder than jumping.

If there are any typos in this post, blame it on the boob sweat dripping onto my keyboard.

Oh my fuck, it is so fucking hot.

I had a really intense learning ride on Saturday that I was really excited to share. And then I got home and just...hot. Bobby had Sunday off because hot, and then I snuck in another good ride this morning even though hot.

how hot? eyebrow sweat hot.

But I'll try to remember the highlights for my own use because warning: we did a lot of walking and not too much else.

I got to the barn in the early evening Saturday which meant that everyone was slowly wandering out to go home, and we ended up with the place to ourselves. I've really liked being back at a place with activity going on, but it was nice to have a quiet solo ride, too. I was able to focus on mechanics without any of the "pressure" (that's fake pressure, and I just make it up myself because that's how neurotic people roll) of making my horse look fancy right away for onlookers.

That's not Bobby's style anyway. Ever since he was diagnosed with Lyme, he comes out a bit creaky even on a good day, and he really needs that extra time to kind of giraffe around a little bit and just get his joints moving.

spying on ponies.

As it was, we never moved too far out of the warm up stage. Every time I think Bobby's starting to regain most of his strength back, all I have to do is a real dressage school and he shows me that he's still weak behind.

He is getting stronger, for sure, but it says a lot when my main focus over the weekend was getting my horse to trot a giant circle to the right without his hind end losing control and swinging around all over the place while his shoulders dropped out from underneath me and he sneakily pulled the reins out of my hands as he dove onto the forehand while losing rhythm and racing off in the most unbalanced trot of his life.

What worked best fore regaining some control besides constant half halting to maintain some rhythm was counter bending the short side of the ring to shift his weight over. That helped keep him upright, and then I'd let him go straight on a true bend for a few strides before back to the counter bend as we made the turn.

I had to keep reminding myself that this is one hundred percent a strength issue, and I couldn't get ahead of myself. It's all about basics right now as he rebuilds those butt muscles.

After a million and one walk, back, walk, halt, walk, halt, back, walk, trot, walk, walk, walk, trot, walk transitions, Bobby finally really stepped under himself and marched off straight as a rod in a walk that reminded me of Allison's breakthrough. We did one whole lap without falling over and I jumped off and gave him much love.

dressage is exhausting

First thing this morning, when it was only 8am and already close to 80* with probably ten thousand percent humidity, we shared the ring with two other riders for another flat school. Unlike at a lot of barns I've been at--and literally every horse show--BM has assured me multiple times that her riders are pros at navigating hunter show warm ups, and there is no possible way I can get in their way.

This translated to none of us having to call out where we were going once because we all knew to pass left shoulder to left shoulder, and who got to stick to the rail, and when to circle without cutting someone off, and all those magical things.

I was, however, not quite as focused this time around, and Bobby was pretty much melting in the humidity, so our warm up wasn't quite as strong as the other day's. I was able to get his walk right where I wanted it, but he was just....flat at the trot, so I threw in a little canter to get him looking alive.

Because he was so connected at the walk, his canter was actually really, really good. Feeling him sit down and cruise inspired me to go ahead and let him play with his changes quickly. His right to left changes are usually flawless--sometimes I have to look down to see if he's even done them because he's so quiet.

His left to right change isn't quite as good. He's usually a step late behind, and he flings himself into them more often than not. Today though, he jumped (like, literally) right over super clean and correct even if it was a little exuberant.

That woke him up and we were able to finish with some perfectly acceptable trot work to the right for where we are now.

buttercup head cools out on the trails. 

After a long shower, Bobby got stuffed in front of his fan to be fawned over by camp kids who think he is the greatest horse in the entire barn. I'm not sure why this is, but Bobby is perfectly okay with accepting all their cookies while having to do exactly nothing to earn them.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Blog Fodder: Equitation Evolution

I'm stealing this excellent idea of a post from Allison at Pony'tude. Partly because Bobby gets today off to recover from all the grueling work we've done the past three days (hmm, well....sort of grueling anyway), partly because I love posts that involve little more than me posting pictures, but mostly because it's a really good reminder to look back and see how far we've come over the years.

one of baby bobby's first jumps. clearly it was very hard work for both of us.

Or not come. Because we could have come farther via the use of trainers, lessons, a giant checkbook, and a magically sound horse with feet like rocks instead putty. Or if Red Pony hadn't died, and then we'd be doing Advanced right now.

Probably.

I'm going to share a few pictures of jumping Red first to give you all a baseline of where my equitation was on the daily before I was left with just Bobby Magee. Red was pony sized which meant my leg was often dangling past his belly even with jump-length stirrups, but I learned to jump anything of real height on him, and I owned him for so long that I've never been more comfortable on a horse.

our first event in my ancient AP saddle. leg slipped slightly back, not the biggest release,
but my reins are long enough that he's still able to use his neck. i'm not displeased with this.

3'6" vertical in one of BO's ancient stubben's. leg slipped back, release could be a bit more
forward. this pic makes me lol though because the reins have whipped under his tiny pony neck.
same saddle as above. while my auto release is spot on, i have no actual contact with
the saddle. magic. i learned to give with my reins and let red do his thing, but my leg
didn't always stick with me. 

old ass stubben, fave pic of red pony ever. red's favorite game was not listening and
taking whatever spot he liked best. it looks like i'm giving a bitching auto release here, but
i was actually slipping my reins thanks to the long spot he'd picked. leg is on point though, and
i was probably more comfortable from this distance than any other because it was his fave.

Then came Bobby, who didn't know how to jump.

Or horse.

Or not be a total drama queen when asked to do absolutely anything.

On top of that, he was the complete opposite of Red. Bobby is a full hand or more taller than Red was, but he possessed none of the athleticism Red had at any point in Red's life. (He's improved in this area.) He was very easily offended, whereas Red only chose to throw tantrums when he thought it was funny. You could boss Red around and he wouldn't care, but it would hurt Bobby's delicate pony soul for weeks.

feb. '12. baby horse is very impressed with tiny vertical. this was only 2 months after
i lost red, so i'm still in default red position. not the strongest leg, and defaulting to a long rein
but short release. 

sept. '12. as bobby got more confident with jumping, i adapted to his style.
a generous crest release makes roberto happiest.

I've always had problems with the strength of my leg and keeping it in the proper position. I've never been a pretty rider like Allison. Clearly equitation was not my strong suit.

But let's hurry this along and add some height:

june '13. 3'6". this was my HDR which has fairly substantial knee rolls. i felt comfortable
in it until i got my current saddle and realized what a hindrance it was. it's also pretty clear
that i wasn't totally comfortable at this height, or at least not totally stable.

oct. '13. same height, same saddle. maybe  a little stronger leg, but still basically just
floating above the saddle. 
july '14. same height, same saddle. not releasing because i went through that phase.
it was a long phase. it made my horse very angry.

And then I sold that saddle, bought a Tekna, ripped all the blocks out, committed to some serious no stirrup work, and:

april '15. my leg doesn't budge an inch anymore, though i've taken to really exaggerating
my release and dropping my boobs to my horse's withers in the air.

may '15. 4'6". solid leg, following release, one hundred percent stable.

So let this be a lesson, kids. Do not be lazy and just sit around and eat cookies all day. Take some time from eating cookies to pull or cross your stirrups. Perfect practice makes perfect, and all that. That way, even if your horse is being a complete asshole and acting like he has never done the jumping before...

"hurh durh, what is this cross rail thing?"

...your position goes into default mode, ignores the stupidity going on beneath you, and you're still feeling strong and stable.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Like a real event horse. Just ask Bobby.

I am happy to report that my horse's under saddle personality has returned in all its bipolar glory.

My main focus right now is rebuilding muscle while not pushing too hard and re-aggravating Bobby's leg. This compromises mostly of walking whether we're off the walk-only schedule or not.

One of the biggest draws of my new barn is that there are actual trails with actual terrain, so now we can do actual conditioning work without the stress of trotting and cantering in endless circles.

terrain!

Now, having a hill to walk up and down may not seem exciting to most people. We did move up here from PA where it was difficult to find a flat area to work on after all. But it's such a rarity around here that when I came to look at the barn, the BM trudged all the way to the back of the property to show it to me.

Behold!

A hill!

So majestic!

Board here! People come from miles to use our hill!

well, at least the neighboring barn comes over.

Anyway, that was a completely random tangent that had absolutely nothing to do with the story I was going to tell about my horse being a complete fucking idiot when no one is looking. Oh, wait. I was going to write that we're doing more trail riding than arena work now because I'm trying to rebuild muscles. And then I was going to extrapolate on yesterday's trail ride.

And then I took a break to eat some candy and contemplate erasing this entire post so far and writing something that's cohesive and not rambling, but when has that ever been my prerogative? Never!

also we have a pond to go with our hill

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I'd let Bobby walk over one of the smaller cross country jumps on a trail ride, and that he then got in touch with his super fast event horse side and had a minor spaz attack. Yesterday I threw on his snackamore and we wandered back into that same field.

As Bobby strolled around mowing down grass while we "worked out" (he would probably build muscle faster if I actually made him march for the full hour-ish we're out, but....whatevs), we ended up grazing by that same jump.

sighted in

He stopped to graze a few feet away from it, but I wasn't allowing any actual stopping. Graze and go, as you will. I gave him a squeeze with my legs that he ignored, so then I gave him a nudge with my heels.

WHICH CLEARLY MEANT JUMP THE JUMP AND GO GALLOPING OFF BECAUSE EVENT HORSE FOR LIIIIIFEEEEEE.

captured by my phone which was in one hand apparently still taking pictures

i swear i wasn't falling

Really, I'm not sure what it is about this tiny fucking stack of logs he finds so inspiring, but it awakens the beast in him like no other.

He did, however, get his tiny brain under control quickly enough and remained sane for the rest of the trail ride. I parked him by the outdoor to graze while watching kids' camp play games, and BM was like, "I swear if he didn't get skinny I wouldn't believe he was a Thoroughbred. He's the calmest horse I've ever met!"

To which I was like, "......................."

"oh, hai! do you have the cookies for me?"

"yeah, no. that was a demand. GIVE ME THE COOKIES."

Today I was actually going to try to get a little bit of dressage schooling done. I put Bobby back in a snaffle since I was planning on staying in the ring, but he was an absolute fuck face and a half in it. Leaning, pulling, yanking, head flinging, you name it. I was just about to get off and stick his stupid face back in the elevator that he goes so quietly in (with one rein because obviously I abuse my horse. Pretty sure we've been through that before.) when BM stuck her head in and asked if I wanted to go on a trail ride.

Um, yes. Yes I do.

pissy pants ears that no one acknowledged he's the fastest horse in the land.

I did end up throwing the elevator back on, but with the rein attached to the snaffle ring. Baby steps to a nicer bit. Bobby was happy to trudge along at the back on the line until we started trotting. I didn't have to worry about him running up the back of anyone though because we were too busy going sideways.

Love this dude.

I let him hop over a log stack (significantly bigger than the stumps he so loves) and that actually mostly settled him for awhile. We finished off in the front field where there are more cross country jumps (there's nothing big here, but yay, jumps on terrain!).

Even though I was in my dressage saddle, I let Bobby take a touring loop of the field at the canter and jumped four things: an X, 2'6" tires, a 3' brush box, and a 2'6" table. He was strong, but in a powerful beast mode way and not an asshole way. First cross country jumps crossed off the list!

then i made him wear the ice boot for eternity. 

Tendon-wise, his leg looks really, really good. He hasn't had any fluid in it since being left in overnight. Cosmetically, I'm still dealing with his random cut. It started scabbing over in a way I didn't like and was starting to exude some pus, so I pulled the scab off, gave it a thorough betadine scrub, and told it to try again.

freshly scrubbed and picked at.

After a night with a dab of furazone and a quick bandage over it to keep it clean during turnout, it already looked better today. Let's hope it stays that way. This horse has always been sound and mostly blemish free. I guess he's trying to make up for that in one fell swoop now.

And, as a quickie in mule news--real mule news, not my imposter--check out Olivia's 200th post giveaway! A blonde mule? Bobby would be in love.