Thursday, February 11, 2016

Schooling Second

On Tuesday, I brought a couple of freshly printed and laminated tests to the barn to play with whenever I had the ring to myself. BM told me I probably had enough time to get in before she had to teach CLL, so I pulled the top test off my pile to work through. My selection was super planned out because I am such a good planner.

Well, whatever.

I'd grabbed 2-2 which I read through briefly as I waited for BM to finish dragging the ring, then plopped it on a standard to get to after we warmed up. Bobby was a complete idiot right off the bat. It was a cool 35*, but nice and sunny and the doors to the indoor were wide open which they haven't been in ages. SO MANY THINGS TO LOOK AT!!!!!

I struggled to get Bobby doing any real flat work period, let alone a good warm up for a second level test, and then BM dropped a box inside the door of the ring and Bobby was like, "WHAT IS THAT WHAT ARE BOXES PEOPLE LOUD NOISES NEVER SEEN ANYTHING BEFORE EVARRRR."

So we took a time out and investigated the box which was very scary. Then BM opened the very scary box and showed him that it contained a bag of shit to put on the footing to keep the dust down, but the giant crinkly white bag wasn't scary at all. Neither was the push along spreader that it went into. Priorities. Boxes are deadly, nothing else is.

"judge away, cookie lady. judge away."

I tried once again to get his brain focused, but then CLL brought Ralph in for her lesson which set off his pasture mate screaming for his lost love, and it was not happening. I got off and excavated my tack trunk contents to pull out my draw reins. Judge away, bitches. I never have to actually use them. The second they go on (to the sides of the girth), Bobby smartens right up. Every time I passed the mirror, I realized I'd let them slide through my fingers again and they were flapping five feet to the sides of my horse and I'd have to quickly shorten them up again enough so that they weren't a safety hazard. Not actually engaged, but they trick the baby Bobby brain into engagement!

The second I got back on, Bobby was one hundred percent focused and ready to work. BM was like, "I don't understand how he's now more uphill and lifting with those on." Because he doesn't get worked with them, but he knows they carry a threat and it's better to just do your shit right.

i'm awful about getting pictures lately. here's one non-fb friends haven't seen yet.
i call it "bobby the jumping horse."

At that point our real warm up began, and once more at the canter we visited the changes. He was sloppy both directions the first time around, but I just kept sending him forward and making my cues very loud and precise. He slipped right over R-L. When going the other direction, I asked right as we passed poor Ralph, and Bobby snaked out his head and pinned his ears like he was going to eat Ralphie, but the very next stride changed right over. Naughty bastard. He got his pats and candy anyway.

I finally picked up my tests and walked through it on horseback. My impression is that it's filled with a lot of tricks and a fuck load of counter cantering, but I guess you're actually required to show you know how to do things besides going in a circle past First. Hrmph.

It's been a loooong time since we rode through a dressage test all in one go, and I'd forgotten how quickly you need to make adjustments before the next movement is on you.

Plus I have this horse who's memorized every dressage test he's ever performed. I swear on my life, if Bobby could speak English, he would be able to tell you every single move of every single test in perfect order. We've been running through tests before and I blank and forget where to go next, and Bobby just turns on his own and carries on. It's uncanny.

It can also get a little annoying when you're trying to teach him new tests, because until he memorizes the new one, he tries to figure out which test we're running through so he can do the movements. He was convinced the second I picked up my reins off the short free walk to medium walk that we were doing one of the eventing Training tests which meant he cantered in between A and F. We worked really hard on smoothing that movement out, so he was gung-ho to show me he knew it now. Only, in 2-2, you come around the corner and go into shoulder in, not canter.

The whole first run through was a little rushed and sloppy as expected. He got a tense and short in the counter canter anticipating doing the changes, but he held his lead like a good pony. I also couldn't get him to trot the fuck off from his first halt. Like I said, it's been a long time since we've done a dressage test.

We schooled the halt to trot until he was sharp off my leg, and then came around and did the whole thing again. Everything went much smoother this time around, especially a far more relaxed counter canter, though I'm still a little confused about the geometry of the loopy S shaped thingy going across the ring from shoulder in to travers/renvers.

Lindsey's post really resonated with me after this ride. Bobby has unlocked a whole new working trot that's an absolute blast to ride, and I know it's going to really elevate us to a new level in any of our tests. Obviously he's the one performing it, but I have to remind myself that I'm the one that taught it to him, and I'm the one that took him through the steps to getting to where he's at now. I making my horse a little bit fancier by the day. Go, me.

working on that canter since eighteen months.


  1. I'm super jealous that Bobby memorizes dressage tests...think he could teach Roger to memorize jumper courses?

  2. Nibbles is an anticipater too. You have to be sneaky not to let her get the gist of things and keep changing it up, darn smart ponies.
    Rebecca (

  3. i love that she's just "CLL" now haha. seriously tho, it looks like everything in Bobby's genetic make up has tried to go in the opposite direction of fancy. and yet, he has become fancy. Go you indeed! lol

    1. That's pretty much the best description of Bobby I've ever read.

  4. Haha draw reins worked like that for me on my old guy. Put them on, he'd have a 20 minute meltdown without ever touching them, then go straight to work and be fantastic.

    Again, never touching them.

    Wouldn't put them on Courage, but he's a whole different horse.

  5. That pic of "Bobby the Jumping Horse" is precious. I wonder what a labeled pic of the rider would look like? :)

  6. I love Bobby's fancy prancing abilities.

  7. Achievement Unlocked: Fancy Trotting.

  8. Im pretty sure Ries has pole tappers too..but they are his cannon bones


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