Monday, March 28, 2016

Hurry Up and Remain Calm

I feel like I'm in a constant mental flux state where one second I'm like, "Hurrrrrryyyyyzzzzz, the shows R coming!" and "Whoa, chill the fuck out, do not break the horse's brain."

I finally got our dressage society's omnibus yesterday and put pen to paper for a real show schedule. First on the docket is a schooling show May 21, a week off, and then our first ever recognized dressage show. It's time to pull my massive pile of tests out and start buckling down on memorizing the whole shebang instead of just schooling the individual movements.

I'm being very careful not to let this sudden rush of anticipation play into how I ride Sir Delicate Princess though. On the one hand, we've had all winter to drill on the flat, so now should be the time to polish up all the things. But on the other hand, six months ago we'd just come back from a summer off thanks to injury, and he barely had a right lead canter. Now we're comfortably (most days) schooling Third, and I feel super solid at Second.

Perspective, yo. Dial it down.

remember that time i was excited because we got to trot for one minute?
no, you don't, because i didn't even blog about it because it was the worst.

Part of my eye twitch the past two rides has been from Bobby reverting back to, "Wut iz a right bend on a circle don't know so hard bye going fast sideways now."

Oh my god, Bobby. If we can't even trot a right circle, how are we going to do any dressage test on the face of the planet?!

But that's only my thought once I get off. It's all a slow, catered-to-a-psychotic-horse process in the saddle. Back to the walk? No problem. Stretchy posting trot? No problem. Collected posting trot? Urhghghg, maybe. Stretchy sitting trot? Possibly okay. Collected sitting trot? NOT OKAY.

things that are not okay to bobby: trot circles and life. 

He feels the same way he did when his withers were out, but Chiro was just out and said they felt perfect. I poked and yanked around on his back today when I was done, and he completely ignored me which he doesn't do when he gets so much as a hair misplaced. I think he's just carrying a lot of tension in anticipation of how hard the work is, and it tightens him up through the base of his neck and front of his back. Fortunately, he is the shit at stretching now, so I've been letting him do a lot of that to reset the old brainski.

He started bracing against the bit even at the walk, so we took a time out from the horrible task of riding a circle until I got him to soften up again. I let my reins stay a little long, but used Trainer's maxim of "Sit for what you want" and, while still posting, changed my seat to tell Bobby I wanted him to collect up and get on with it.

I was proud of myself for finally having the mental and physical abilities to do this from the posting trot because not so long ago, I couldn't control anything while posting. It worked its magic on Bobby, and he packaged himself up and let go of some of his anxiety. I pushed him forward into an extended trot (#legit #wheredidthesegaitscomefrom #sostrong) in this beautiful self carriage that we reached because he wouldn't let me get away with so much rein pressure (Ooh, Bobby, are you telling on me now?!). It was gorg, and I stuffed him with candy and called it quits there.

basically ready to take on grand prix, let's be honest.

In theory, I know that as I quietly break down these individual pieces and perfect them, once we put everything together into a test, they're going to still be perfect. But for so long I've learned my tests by running through them all at once and fixing the problems spots as I stumble into them that it's hard for me to make this switch.

Plus there's SO MUCH to memorize! I'm going to do Second at the schooling show, First and Second at the first USDF show (it's two days) to tack on some scores for a Bronze since I've already paid the membership fees, and I'd like to memorize at least the first two Third tests to have them in my pocket should we reach that point before show season is over.

That's no "circle twice at trot and canter, free walk, aaaand, yep, you're good!" eventing dressage. Ugh, brain exhaustion. Off to go stalk youtube.


  1. Oooh, first and second! You go girl!

  2. Stretchy breaks really are great for broken brainz. I am excited to see what you two pull off in dressage land this year!

  3. Can you like, write the tests on your hand or something? ;)

  4. In the last couple of months, I've started asking for much harder work from Tucker, which means I have also needed to learn how to reset his brain. Because when he gets fried it's both unproductive and mildly terrifying. So, according to Tucker things are going exactly the way they should be for you :)

  5. OMG I am in the SAME MENTAL SPACE. So hard.

  6. omg i'm the worst about making all these plans and suddenly getting all frenzied and throwing the horse off her game such that we derail all those nice little plans... it's not a great trick haha!

  7. It's always so exciting when the local show scheduled start popping up, but yup, then there comes the mayhem of "OMG not ready yet - get ready fast!!"

  8. It's hard not to get hyped up about shows, try not to think about it too much (that's what I'm trying to do...but my brain is all like....WOOOOOOOOO SHOOOOOWS) :P

  9. Memorizing a 2nd level test has proven impossible for me. Even with a reader I still barely almost survive

  10. So impressed! You guys are gunna kill it

  11. Yay!! Can't wait to hear how it all goes!

  12. I feel your pain. Why do we do this to ourselves again?!?!


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