Monday, May 2, 2016

Jedi mind tricks

Bobby carried his trend of being an overly dramatic twit with multiple personality disorder all the way through his super hard, ever exhausting, downright traumatizing work week (in case the sarcasm doesn't come through--that was fake pity for a Bobby Magee) to the point that I put in an order for several tubes of calming paste on Friday. Better living through chemistry? I'll take it if it means I can access his spastic brain long enough to explain to him that he's freaking out over nothing.

rawr, dinosaur horse!

But then he really wasn't too bad over the weekend, and this morning's soaking wet ride was quite alright.

Last Wednesday we spent ninety percent of the ride at the walk, two percent at the trot, one percent at the canter in half seat, and one hundred percent having a melt down about life. #winningatmath Things like bending left were cause for much grief, and when occasionally he'd just be trotting around cool as a cucumber, he'd remember, "Oh shit! I'm supposed to be overly dramatic ABOUT EVERYTHING EVER!!!" and would just randomly shoot sideways.

I talked with BM for awhile after that ride, and then the next day before she got on for his training ride I brought the selling option back up. I would like to be able to focus on a really intense dressage ride and be able to school every movement that needs to be worked on, and then the next day do a full jump lesson.

I'd also like a horse that sees all his distances, never acts out, doesn't crack under pressure, is immune to sitting on arena fences while you're sitting on him, doesn't casually threaten to lay down under saddle when he thinks you're asking him to do something hard, and still has a 10 jump and 10 gaits. The little things, right?

The main points of the Bobby Roast were that he's an anxious horse, but he's also dominant. He wants to be in charge and do whatever he wants, but he get so worked up over things he can't even with his own brain. He'll get tense in his back, but he'll blame you for it even if you haven't actually done anything. Also though, it's spring and almost everyone in the barn is on the shit list at the moment. BM's words of advice as she jumped around 3'6" at an easy lope? "Carly, you can not sell this horse!"

So. I'm gonna work with (around?) what Bobby's momma gave him. And by his momma I mean his daddy because his dam was a gem and his sire was a vicious fucking lunatic. When Bobby's on, he's superb. It's just that when he's off, he's fucking horrendous. Fuck, he is such an asshole.

Let's hit up those good rides though. I'm constantly changing and evolving my game plans for training, and it's good to be able to look back on what did work.

On Saturday, we did a straight dressage school. I really took this comment from Heather on my post about canter work to heart:
I rode with a clinician several months ago who stressed the idea of not reacting to weirdness. He said not to reward the incorrect answer or green moments, but instead of making them a big deal to just keep going and then make a big deal about the right answer. The idea was that then the good moment sticks in their brains, while they were too busy moving on from the weirdness to remember that they had done it.
In general, that's what I try to do, but I'm trying to really emphasize the reward now. "Oh, you listened to that half halt? You are such a genius! How did you get so smart?!" "You allowed me to shorten the reins without trying to flip over backwards? Holy cow, what an amazing animal you are! Good boy!"

I also tried not to nitpick so much. Warming up, he was getting a little speedy in his long and low work, but so long as he stayed on the bit and off his forehand, I let it slide. It's warm up. It's fine. Don't ruin the rest of the ride trying to micromanage something that's not that big of a deal. We ran through 1-3 (after looking it up on my phone. I really need to start memorizing these tests at some point.) which was a touch sloppy and resulted in one very minor meltdown at the canter, but I'm blaming all of that on myself getting annoyed and distracted with the other rider in the ring.

On Sunday we did a really short jump school over two tiny verticals on each diagonal. Bobby was a gem. He's so good with listening now. He locks onto the jump from three or four strides out, but instead of yanking the reins out of my hands and bolting to the fence, he holds his excitement in. "If I just keep cantering, the fence will still be there and I'll still get to jump it. Plus I won't get in trouble for being the fastest racehorse ever which apparently is supremely under-appreciated in this establishment."

Even though this post is getting long, I'm going to tack on this morning's ride as well. I hate getting backed up on posts when exciting things might actually happen.

I made the jump on the left diagonal a 2'3" oxer, the right diagonal jump I added a gate under to make it 2'6", and put a 2'3" vertical on the rail. The first jump attempt was the one on the rail, and despite getting to it on the perfect distance, Bobby didn't bother picking his feet up to it and clobbered it down. After that though, he gave it plenty of air. Heavy wooden rails are ouchy.

The gate rode really well every time, and I was able to just sit there and let it come up to us. Good boy, Steady Cantering Magee.

The oxer, on the other hand, was cause for much angst. Bobby kept taking a fucking flyer to it for some reason--seriously leaving a full stride out--and I ended up sitting there brainless three or four times in a row not doing anything to help him out distance-wise. I eventually dropped it down two holes and put a ground pole 9' out which made everything peachy keen, and we finished stringing all three jumps together really well. Plus I was able to tack on some really good lateral work at the walk and trot as we were "cooling out". Ha ha, Bobby. DRESSAGE EVERY DAY.

shitty weather makes for a distinct lack of media.

Getting to watch BM ride a lot on top of watching her jump my own horse has really done a complete turn around for my jumping style. She advocates a very upright ride and minimal movement in the air which is perfectly fitting for Bobby and myself. If he bungles into a bad distance, I'm not getting pitched forward potentially resulting in falling off or getting caught in the face by his head and bashing my brains into a week-long blindness. It makes me feel a lot more secure coming down to a fence knowing that my position is only working for me. It may not look pretty, but it's not getting in the way. Also I'm always for not dying.


  1. I brought up selling Fiction again after our last show. So tired of the drama :( But there really is no big reason to sell him, just like Bobby has all the potential you could want, but just likes drama. I find praise works well with Fiction too, so I hope you and Bobby can work it out!

  2. He makes 3'6" look like 2'9" now if only his brain could brain everyday!

  3. Fingers crossed you guys can get out of this funk soon. The challenging horses definitely make it worth it at the end.

  4. I'm not sure how old Bobby is but sometimes all the talent in the world isn't worth the drama. That said, Irish threw some major hissy fits in his youth and his brain would leave the country leaving me sitting on a red head twit leaping around like bug on a skillet.
    He also needed lots of praise so I perfected a sugar sweet voice while saying 'thank you for walking you **^*%$ nit"

  5. I think you look mighty fancy on that mighty steed. I was also told to not do so much in the air and to be more upright and stronger through my upper body. I was making Bacon's job harder. Whoops. But you guys look great to me.

  6. I concur with just "going with the flo" and not reacting to those green/baby moments. It can be frustrating tho when the horse is no longer a baby... or green. Kudos for sticking in with him

  7. Ah the drama. While wildly talented, I don't know if I could deal with the drama again. App was like that, which is why he got his Mr Awesome/Captain Asshole nickname. Now that I have had 2 "steady eddies" (at least in comparison lol), I don't think I could go back. Kudos to you for sticking with him, they say all upper level horses are ridiculously quirky. Just keep telling yourself he is an upper level in the making!

  8. Theatrics get old, hoping bobby gets his brain together soon!

  9. As many tried to remind me on my blog, horses CANT POSSIBLY be assholes ;) god Carly

  10. I'm sorry Bobby is being a twit but it does make me feel a bit better about another bay gelding who is also being kind of unrideable at the moment... I hope both of us figure out how to make our equines able to brain on a more consistent basis!

  11. I wish I'd been more articulate with that comment, but I'm glad it made sense and is helpful! :)

  12. If only Bobby would just agree to be ON more often than otherwise. He looks so good when he is feelin it!

  13. If wishes were horses, eh? I'm in the same boat... not a REASON to make a change but also not having the best time ever, heh.


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