I'm constantly drawing strength and wisdom from the horse blogging community. I want my posts about my journey with Bobby to help someone out even in a small way even if you're just laughing because oh my god Bobby, what even are you doing. I don't want to be the person always begging for my hand to be held or fishing for compliments.
You don't need to tell me I'm a good rider or that Bobby is a talented horse. While everyone has their insecurities and doubt can creep in, I know those things.
|willing to pose with the mule when he's been good.|
However, like any horse and rider, there are plenty of things for us to work on. I have to self-police my riding most of the time, and my blog is a great way to keep track of those things. So instead of bitching (always a little bit of bitching), I'm going to share some of my Emma level amounts of media and layout what Sir Robert and I are working on right now.
Last weekend, I shared the ring with B on the baby green horse. I've written about B before and how she keeps a steady stream of chatter going while riding. I made a point to tune everything out and really stay focused. I've been playing around with a lot of different warm up variables as I try to figure out what Bobby likes best when he's tense, when he's half asleep, or when he wants to be ridden up into collected work from the first step.
At the walk, he's really gotten a lot better about not flinging his head around and waiting for you to take the bait and pull on him so he can pull back. I've been trying to live by Trainer's rule to "Sit for what you want" and ask for a medium walk with my seat before doing anything with my reins.
|such a hunk right now.|
I've always admired Jen's posts because of how she can break down every muscle and body part she's working. That sort of attention to detail and body awareness is pretty much out of my scope, but as I sloooowwwwllyyy start working out again, I've started to realize something.
Yo. Baby's got (a) back.
And it's a separate part of my body from my seat. Well, hmm. I remember Trainer telling me that when Bobby felt heavy, I needed to be stronger in my back, and I was basically like, "Okay, so just stop pulling, Carly. The answer to everything." But now, months and months later, I get it. I can control things if I engage my back muscles. Whaaat.
But. I've actually been focusing on riding off my seat and core and back maybe a little too much.
As you can see in the above very blurry indoor video from a week ago, I'm doing all this while letting my reins get way too long. I had let myself play into "Long reins are being nice! Short reins make Bobby angry. No more reins evarrr!" Of course that's not right, and when I got done watching those videos back, I was kind of like, what the fuck is happening there, Carly?
It's hard to keep your hands down and your horse connected properly to the bit when you have sixty feet of rein in front of you doing absolutely nothing but getting in your way.
So I went back out in my next ride and worked on gathering up my reins to what felt like a stranglehold, but in the mirror proved to be maybe even a titch too long still. Did Bobby get angry? No. Bobby didn't give a shit.
With my vastly shorter reins, I still made sure I incorporated the other parts of my body. If I felt like one of us was starting to pull, I didn't throw my reins away. I softened my arms and tightened the flabby bits in the middle of my body. What did I discover? Um, well, turns out there's way less pulling with shorter reins than there is with long reins. He needs a place to come up to when he responds to my seat; I'm not doing him any favors by floating the bit at him.
|not freaking out because i have contact. not surprising. d'oh!|
I think I'm going to make the canter its own post because holy fuck balls has that been a process. This is also getting really long, but I want to include videos from yesterday's ride to compare to the other ones.
Bobby was in a "If you do not sit on me, I cannot bring my magical pieces together" sort of mood, so I warmed him up in sitting trot right from the get go. Making myself adapt to the horse I bring out every morning instead of what I rode the day before (oh hey Megan's post) has made our rides move along so much quicker.
While my reins can probably be even shorter (noooooo! so hard!), I'm okay with this as the very first go-round in trot. As we kept going, he started bringing himself up a little more, and I started asking for a little more forward.
His canter was great, and after I let him have a little walk and stretchy trot break, I wanted to play around with his mediums. Nothing is more fun to get pictures of than a blasting ass trot, amirite?
|basically i just sit there and giggle like a child while trying not to fall off|
|and bobby tolerates it because bobby likes to go fast.|
My right arm has most definitely decided to go rogue again just when I thought I'd corralled the bitch:
Still. How cool is my horse for being able to do these things with me as his sole fancy prancer instructor?
The answer is obviously very cool.
My to do list for things to start really buckling down on:
- Quiet my hands.
- Lower my hands.
- Consistently shorter rein length.
- Bring my leg back a bit more.
- And all of those things will be so easy peasy once I strengthen the flabby middle region. Sit up boot camp anyone? This biking shit needs some reinforcements in the work out department.