I feel like I've finally got my head wrapped around a good show plan for Bobby and I this year should we still be together. However, I'm keeping it on the down low on the blog because I feel like if I put it in writing, something about it is going to blow up and put me back in the world's most tweaked out horse owner category. I will say that we're going to be doing a lot of playing around on the flat because that doesn't involve stadium jumps, so I'm trying to rev up the quality of work we're doing in that area.
|the face of one fancy show horse.|
Our warm up was a bit sloppy with Bobby hanging on the left rein and not being particularly interested in bending, and I was kind of going around thinking, "Now you've gone and done it. All you did was think good show thoughts and he's already trying to combat them."
I couldn't quite get him sorted even once we got into the left lead canter, so I just dropped that inside rein on him and we cruised around remembering what a outside rein half halt was, and how inside leg does not mean go faster. Once I brought him back to the trot, he was feeling lighter and was able to stretch his neck out productively instead of like a llama.
The right lead canter was also much better, and we worked through a ton of counter canter all over the ring. Bobby is usually very good at the counter canter, but today he was trying to show me how lovely his right to left changes are. Pass, Bobby. Your changes are easy, but you're no third level horse. Let's stick to the counter canter for now.
|bitchin' ass decals of bobby and red from beka|
After a walk break where I made him walk long and low and loose and not just amble around like a slug, we picked the trot back up and prepared to do real work. He started out a little tight, so I had him do a halt (and stay halted quietly for as long as I want, Bobby) and rein back a couple times. That usually gets him focused and unlocked, and I could tell he was trying a little harder once we went back to the trot so after a lap I let him stretch again quickly as a reward.
I feel bad I didn't incorporate the stretching as a reward in my rides before, but honestly he was so bad at it, and I'm a greedy bitch. He definitely appreciates it, and when I asked him to come back up, he was ready to really work.
I had him doing shoulder in to haunches in down the long sides, all the while focusing on get him up, up, up--really lifting those shoulders and lightening that front end. I threw in some lengthened and shortened trot to mix things up, and then switched directions to the left.
He was even better that direction. A lot more supple in the lateral movements, and easier to adjust the length of his stride.
|room for one more. MOAR THOROUGHBREDS!|
I was riding with BM who was on her personal horse Secret who was being a serious brat about canter work. As Secret protested Secret things and had a bit of a flail across the ring, Bobby was like, "Look! That horse is doing fancy things with his feet. Look at the fancy things I can do with my feet!" And by himself he slipped into this effortless extended trot--his whole front half elevated, his back rounded, and it was the easiest trot to sit. He was floating across the ground in this massive, powerful, but loose stride, and I was basically just in magical unicorn land for a lap of the ring before I asked him to walk.
Obviously I quit there, and doled out the rest of the cookies I had in my pocket (always ride with cookies with Robert), and heaped the praise on him.
He seems like he has been a little better with his attitude on the ground. I don't know if it's the magnesium, or the better riding from both myself and BM that's boosting his confidence a little, but he's not quite so mean mugging, teeth grinding (which he's done his whole life, and only does on the ground), "I hate your face unless that's a cookie in your hand" asshole-ish lately.
|AND!!! i can't believe i haven't shared this lovely yet, but look|
at my totally bobby-centric saddle cover from nicole!
Training ride tomorrow where the Bobby gets to work on lengthening his whole body over jumps with low, wide oxers. Poor Bobby.