Monday, February 22, 2016

Self Doubt

I finally convinced myself that I needed new dressage media more than I needed Hubby to be around to raise or lower fences I may or may not have the balls to jump and brought him along Sunday morning for some video. I feel like Bobby has been doing pretty well on the flat recently. Obviously we have our awkward/inconsistent/"what the actual fuck was that?!" moments, but overall it's felt...dare I say easy? 

Obviously I needed to see what was actually going on here because easy and effortless are not words I usually ascribe to Bobby. Especially since the last time I rode him--Friday--I basically had to beat him to get him to trot. Ugh, he was so tired he literally could not

literally could not go forward on occasion on sunday either, being a horse is exhausting.

I was quickly joined in the arena by B who was walking around bareback on her OTTB. She kept to the inside of the track and was hyper-aware of where Bobby and I were at all times which I really appreciated. 


This is why I'm anti-social and just prefer to be a hermit at all times, thanks.

She kept up a running dialog the entire ride. I'm way too non-confrontational to be like, "Yo. I love you, but I have ten working brain cells when I ride and they all need to be directed to my horse. Please HUSH. I can't focus on what in the hell my right wrist is doing when you expect me to talk back to you."

Fortunately, Bobby felt relatively solid after his day off Saturday. Warm up was correct if uninspiring (see above video--that was our first trot). I wasn't too impressed with his canter:

But at least that canter to walk transition is getting somewhere. 

I was able to tune out B long enough to get Bobby off my left rein after our walk break, and I went to work on opening up his trot. 

This trot is a winter trot. It's a work in progress as I fuck around and experiment with different things. When I focus on a good, forward working trot with no other bells or whistles, damn. That is a good trot.

I'd laid off the lengthenings a little bit because he can get spicy after doing them. And by "spicy" I mean slightly unhinged in the dome piece. I'd throw one in there every now and then before instantly forgetting it so Bobby didn't feel the need to go jetting off into the atmosphere every time we turned a corner. 

I've started to work on opening up his stride again though. Only this time around, we're moving on from the lengthening and shooting for a really good medium, and by a really good medium I mean one step away from a true extended trot. 

That trot? HA. That is my, "Go forth and do something, Sir Robert!" And Sir Robert saying, "UGHGBHBKSKJHDSFK, MY BODY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND."

Bobby has pretty ballin' lengthenings, and every now and then we'll stumble into a pretty ballin' flicky toed fancy prance extraordinaire thingy. The thing with lengthenings though is that the horse is supposed to lengthen their entire frame. This took many dressage judges writing this on my tests for it to sink in, but a longer neck should go with a longer stride in First. 

We're not down with a long, stretchy neck for extended gaits. And by "we" I mean, whoever. The dressage gods. Whatever. The point is, Bobby is finding his toe flicking style getting cramped by having to remain in what he thinks is a serious choke hold. So that's something to bear down on. 

His changes, on the other hand, are super fun now.

Because of the jumps in the middle of the ring, I wasn't able to take him across the full diagonal to get them. That made the much harder L-R change uh, scattered to say the least. I'm super slow in my aids for the changes because they're hard for my brain and body to get on the same page about so I really need that whole length to get everything sorted out. Bobby went scooting sideways for that change because who has time to remember straightness in like five strides?

His changes are clean though, and he's no longer getting the least bit frazzled about doing them. All the candy I stuff down his throat for them probably helps. We probably should start doing them down the long sides now. Or down center line. Like, bitch, here are five perfect changes. I mean, I did three tempis once on a school master, so I'm basically a pro. 

LOL, anyway.

good britches. sorry i am your mother.

This morning I was all gung ho for a jump school. I changed the two jumps on the diagonal from the weekend to a teeny vertical and a big X that was higher in the middle than the vertical. Bobby warmed up like a pro, and right away we had that bouncing canter BM drilled us over on Thursday. Instead of trotting the jumps first, I cantered right up to both. Yeah, Bobby was legit perfect. 

I made him transition down to a big, forward trot and then trotted both of them from both directions. Yep. Still perfect. 

Thanks to BM, I'm trusting my horse again, and it's making jumping so much easier. I know that I can half halt him and he'll check himself before he wrecks myself, and I know that when I release that half halt he won't jet off. Good riding is becoming instinctual again: my leg automatically goes on approaching the jump even if I'm staring down the fence in semi-horror. 

i cut my sunday ride short to go for a quick trail ride with B.

I cut the jumping off there because why fuck with perfection, and instead made my horse do MOAR dressage work! I wanted to work on the canter to walk transitions because they are straight up sloppy right now.

Yeah, they were still straight up sloppy to the left, but after going around on a circle to the right chanting "Lift and bounce and lift and bounce" out loud to myself, the one in that direction was perf.

I'm finding that as we start to progress to more "advanced" shit, I'm harboring a lot of self doubt about my horse and myself. We did a few turns on the haunches and I was like, "Psh, what a breeze. Moving on." But then one second later I was all, "Why did that feel so easy? Why does this all feel so easy?! I must be doing something wrong!!"

I'll read other blogs, and when someone explains a problem they're having with a certain movement, I automatically try to put that problem on my own horse. If they figure out a way to fix it, I'm just like, "Thank god they figured it out. Now I'm going to have to do the same thing."

Like, what. That doesn't even make any sense! Just because someone else is struggling with the same thing we're working on does not necessarily mean Bobby isn't doing his own shit right. Get your shit together, Self. Give yourself some credit.

this is the face of a god damned champion after all.


  1. I'm right there with you on arena talkers. There are two times per day I absolutely do not want to talk to you even if I love you: between 7am-9am and when I'm on my horse.

  2. You definitely deserve a lot more credit than you give yourself!

  3. Dude, you are one of the best dressage riders I know, and YOU are the one that taught Bobby to be so awesome on the flat! Pat yourself on the back once in a while. :)

  4. You know, I'd never really thought about a longer frame accompanying the longer stride on the lengthenings in First. I'll have to remember this!

    Your canter looks so lovely and so nice to ride! Jelz.

  5. Dude, you guys look amazing. Seriously!

  6. Face of a champion! I don't mind arena talkers, but that's because I'm so inherently lazy I will take any excuse to stop and chat. I'm not even social, I don't like chatting. But if it means I can not do exercise for a few minutes, sign me up.

  7. Love how quiet he is in those changes! Yes, pat yourself on the back you are doing wonders with a challenging horse!

  8. You guys look awesome! The quality of his canter has changed so much. I love how quiet he looks, but still active. No more self doubt!

  9. I can either chat or work. No in betweensies.

  10. I am legit relieved that you and Bobby are getting back into your groove jumping. I've worked so hard on rebuilding my confidence and you and your lady balls are like my standard for bad ass riding. Also, sweet baby clean changes Bobby!!

  11. You guys look great, your flying changes are pretty awesome too, esp if you were having to deal with "arena talkers" as well.

  12. I'll chat for about five minutes and then if someone doesn't leave me alone I'll start to ignore them. I talk a LOT at work and I'm required to be bubbly so when I get to the barn it's my self care and down time. I like people so a short time is ok but past that point it's all about my pony :)

  13. You are so right about people talking when you are trying to school... I can barely concentrate on what I'm doing - pls shut up. LOL

    Bobby looks so mellow!

  14. Self-doubt - I hear ya! My mind is like, "Please, I know how to do this, I've done it a trillion billion times, and I can teach it and do it aces." and then my confidence goes, "Are you sure? Maybe you wrong..." and BAM big old mushy pile of leaky nerves and I'm convinced I'm gonna mess up the horse for life...

  15. Look at your badass selves with those changes. And that canter. I'm so jealous.

  16. Confidence does amazing things to ourselves, I am glad you found BM to help get you back on course with trusting Mr Bobby again. And that last picture is totally Bobby. Ha!

  17. You guys look amazing!- the arena talker was right haha!
    I cannot concentrate on riding and simultaneously having a conversation. Just no, systems fail.

  18. Half the time when in a lesson it takes me forever to take words from my trainer and translate them into body change

  19. I 100% approve of all the purple.


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