Monday, February 8, 2016

Bobby Breakthrough

Bobby got a couple of good jump schools under his belt over the past few days, and one of them was even by me. Yay! But that will be its own post because I have lots of (unexciting) video to go with it, and BM made a good breakthrough with him on Thursday that I want to document.

If you recall--and if you don't, the link is here--during Bobby's second training ride, BM discovered the joy of taking Bobby through a line. He didn't pay any attention to the first fence in his hurry to go racing to the second.

On Thursday, we pulled a simple exercise from a Jimmy Wofford grid book and set up a 32' two stride of super low, super wide oxers. Next to that we set a 30' two stride of verticals. Next to that, we rolled out two different sets of ground poles--one for a short stride, one for a long stride. The idea was to give Bobby lots of different warm up options to work on adjusting his stride length before BM had to go galloping down the 32' line over a type of jump Bobby's never done before.

Oh, p.s. Bobby has never done low, wide oxers before. Have fun, BM!

meanwhile i flatted the pony. the verticals were
too big for my weenie self to jump, even on super pony.

Once BM had warmed Bobby up over the poles, she looped him around over one of the oxers by itself. Bobby hopped over it without issue. When he's not being a colossal asshole, he really will jump anything, and he's had a lot of experience jumping much bigger, scarier things in the past. I wasn't worried about it, but then I wasn't on his back, and let's be honest--Bobby might have developed a bit of a reputation as an uncontrollable brute these past couple months.

They moved on to the shorter vertical two stride which he was a bit rush-y coming into, but overall not bad. Then they tried the oxer line for the first time. 32' might not seem much longer than 30', but it's a going two, and when your horse has itty bitty baby strides because he just likes to go up and down instead of out, it's a looooong distance to cover. The first couple times, Bobby stuffed in a third stride, so BM went back to the flat and galloped his ass around a little bit, trying to get him to lengthen his step.

She had to sit down and really drive him into the first fence, and then sit and drive him to eat up the two, and as she pointed out, "Galloping up to the fence is not really what we're working on right now!" Oh, well. He's got to learn to go fast and still be in control at some point, right?

Also, LOL. I like acting like BM is the student here and I would have the cojones to do what she's been doing on him right now. Let's be clear: I do not. I bow down to BM.

Once they were consistently getting the two, she brought him back to the vertical line. Bobby went flying through and barely stuffed in two. It was a little harrowing to watch.

"I know he's going to get over these. Its not the jump I'm worried about. It's the whole not dying in the distance in between."
"It's a fear of the journey, not the destination!"

Poor sacrificial BM.

streeeeetch, bobby!

To combat the return of the rude rushing, BM had me drop poles down in between the verticals and drop the verticals down on one side so it was: jump, 9' to pole, 9' to pole, 9' to jump. They spent some time working through this off both reins before I put the verticals back up to full height.

Bobby was actually really good through this. When they went back to the oxers, he got the two, and when they came back to the verticals, he quietly worked through that two. Major breakthrough for the crazy child, and when BM tried to pull him up after telling what a good boy he was, he busted out the swagger trot and when for an extended trot victory lap instead of walking. Man, my horse can wing those legs around. I wish he was so dreamy all the time.

BM said she wished she could just set up low, wide oxers around the entire perimeter of the ring and jump Bobby over those instead of cantering him because it was the only way she could get him to actually stretch his whole body out.

basically just a canter stride. 

But poor Bobby's work was not done yet. BM told me to get on him to take him down the vertical line so I could get a feel of pushing him all the way through to keep him forward and how easily it made him work through the poles. I gave her a dirty look, and she quickly added she would drop the verticals down to ground poles too.

It was, unsurprisingly, definitely a good thing for me to feel with her standing there yelling at me to actually close my leg around him. Get a good pace in, and then keep the good pace, and you get a good jump. Herp derp.

"You get comfortable with the collected work in dressage, and that becomes your new norm. You have to relearn how to go forward again because the forward you think you have is actually really slow. Same for the horse. When he was green, he was easier to jump because he was all long and strung out and making the distances easier. Now that he knows how to shorten up and compress his stride, that's his go-to."

not a forward jumping canter. dang it. 

In conclusion: Go fast, but not too fast. And don't be such a wimp.


  1. Great breakthrough, and I'm so glad YOU got to ride it too! Woot!

    PS. That last canter is dreeeamy.

  2. I so appreciate you sharing all the trials and tribulations, I am really struggling with not using my dressage canter for jumping as well.

  3. this post has been my struggle in a nutshell. My mare would pull what bobby pulls and just run at the fences in her earnest to go forward and jump all the things...Its taken alot of patience and exercises like your BM has done to work through it and a few conversations that Half halt means NOW not when you feel like it lol. Cant wait to see your post of your own jump school.

  4. I'm trying to make a smart comment and failing. Glad progress is being made.

  5. SO exciting that your BM is helping put the jumping pieces together for you guys :)

  6. Yay bobby! I've been behind, but glad to hear he's being less turdy

  7. ugh forward but not fast is like, maybe the hardest thing ever (imho). these all sound like awesome exercises tho and i can't wait for our arena to clear up so i can try too!!

  8. Ah yes, charging through gridwork. FEEL DAT pain

  9. The last time I jumped I felt like we were so speedy but I knew we were like barely hunter pace hahaha


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