Also, this is not my boo hoo post. That's still sitting un-touched in my draft folder waiting to be unleashed should I see fit.
Today let's quickly talk halts. After a good jump school under BM yesterday, I brought Bobby out for yet another flat ride with myself. I finished my last of three show entries for the moment overnight, and I couldn't remember a single step of 1-2 besides something involving a leg yield, so I figured I better run through that.
|waiting for BM yesterday|
I also feel like there are not enough days to do all the things I want to do. I want to jump my horse, too. However, he probably still needs his BM tune-up and undoubtedly a day off each week. MOAR DAYS, PLZ.
Anyway, halting. So fucking scatterbrained lately.
|the king of conformation shot posing.|
We come up center line for the first halt in the test which is at X which is parallel to our mirror on the wall. Bobby halts. He's square and--for once--straight instead of whipping those haunches to the left like he likes to do. What he's not anymore is connected to the bit. His head is in the air, and he's starting to tilt it to eye me up.
This is not a new problem. Bobby is very expressive in all his feelings, and he's patented The Look.
"I think you're an idiot."
"I do not want to do this."
"I am going to throw a giant tantrum if you ask me again to do what I don't want to do."
"Why are we standing here instead of doing fun things?"
This doesn't fly in dressage tests. "Unfocused" is a comment we've received before during our first halts. Our final halts have rarely scored below an 8, but who has time for first halts? Let's go do the thing so we can be done, Bobby says.
So I was like, "Let's work on halts before we tackle this test, Bobby!"
And Bobby was like, "Let's go fuck yourself."
My first approach was to ask him to halt, and if he threw his head/neck up, I immediately made him go back to the walk. Not the right answer, Bobby. No halties for you.
The problem with this tactic was Bobby very much hates to be wrong. Those quick w-t-w-h-t-c-t transitions send his brain into orbit every time. "You told me to do the thing and I did it why are you now telling me to do something else acknowledge I did the right thing right not that I did something wrong you are wrong I hate you!!!!"
|possibly just looking for cookies.|
or a nap.
This quickly spiraled out of control and Bobby would fling himself violently into the support beams of the ring (his favorite thing to do in this arena) any time I asked him to do anything besides walk on a loose rein.
So I quickly put the kibosh on that and tried Plan B. Always have a Plan B with Bobby! I asked him to halt. He anticipated me telling him he was wrong and to go forward so he had a melt down. I said, "Just halt, Bobby. Just stand here and bask in the glory of a halt."
He thought about it, stopped moving his feet and trying to sit down (another favorite move), and then took a deep breath and relaxed a little. Yay, Bobby! Thinking things through!!! I squeezed my fingers on the reins with half an ounce of pressure and he quietly dropped his head. I gave him lots and lots of scratches while I told him what a genius he was before giving him a cookie and trying again at a different spot.
Same result, more scritches, more cookies, and back down center line we went.
The first halt was very good. The test itself was fine. First is pretty much warm up for us at this point. Around to X again, aaaandddd cue Crouching Bobby again. I quietly sent him back out at a trot (a very lovely trot at that), turned in at B, and tried twice more before he stopped moving his feet and paused to see what would happen before throwing his tantrum. I gave him all the praise, he relaxed, and we did the whole thing one more time without any drama to call it quits.
Halts need calm work. Horse needs a trophy for how quickly he moved on from his anxiety attack.