Friday, June 24, 2016

Stressage Lesson

After our weekend of pacing, Bobby got the next two days off. On Monday he got dressed in his fly gear and kicked outside after a brief looksie to make sure none of his body parts were in places they weren't supposed to be. Tuesday morning he got thrown on the longe to work any stiffness out. He was quite creaky and lazy, but unsurprisingly after I got the lazy chased out of the equation the creaky went away as well.

back to work!

He was back in dressage tack Wednesday as I start gearing him back up again for more dressage shows. That ride was not so good. I've been dealing with him getting lateral in his trot work the past couple rides--not a new evasion by any means, but it had disappeared for a good long while--and completely losing control of where the fuck his haunches are going. One teensy tiny correction to try to get them back on the track sends them into orbit and usually his brain with them.

So I asked BM to change her training ride over fences into a dressage lesson. I'm past the point with this horse where I have any desire to fix his ridiculous problems by myself. It's all fine and dandy when it's actual training, but when it crosses the line to him just being a complete shit head, it's time to Phone A Friend.

Thursday's lesson was a mix of both training and being a shit head.

so little media so here is a pony who is also a shit head

BM got on first to get a feel of what was going on and to come up with a game plan of how she wanted to go about fixing it. She's determined to make Bobby "Automatic". Like, he automatically is good instead of automatically an asshole. My hat's off to you, BM. You have fun with that.

To keep things brief, a.k.a. an excuse to use bullet points:

  • Push first before anything else. Stop pulling and letting him pull back. 
  • If he gets stuck, immediately send him forward. I'd asked her to work on the turn on the haunches with him since that move seems to have fallen out of the tool box the second we started showing these tests. Bobby was very stuck starting out, so the second he got caught and couldn't turn softly and lightly anymore, she kicked him into a trot and sent him out of it.
  • He needs to get hot so I have something to half halt. You can't half halt a lazy horse. He needs to be spicy and moving forward so there's something to work with.
  • "Contain it, don't kill it." Rebalance with the half halt, don't shut him down.
  • Wiggle my fingers (not my rogue right wrist!) not to wiggle his head down but to play with the bit and get him to soften and unlock his jaw.
  • He should be so light I can ride him off one finger. 
  • He only needs a little tiny bit of bend. Once we get control of the haunches better, the bend can become deeper.
  • Make him sit deep and collect at the trot. Make him a Lipizzaner. Make him bounce me into the ceiling he's trotting so powerfully.
  • He's so in-tune to the aids that the corrections have to come from the seat only. Any leg and he's going to over correct and send his haunches a mile in the opposite direction.
  • He tries to bend from the middle of the neck instead of the base. No cheating!
It was good for me to see him with his neck and head so elevated with the muscles in front of his withers bulging. Sometimes I doubt that this horse can reach the collection needed for Third, but now I know he can sit and he can really elevate his front end, and he can do it off of one finger. You know, if you're BM and have the abs and ass muscles of an equestrian god. Plus impeccable aids and flawless timing. 

Yeahhhh, probably ought to work on some of those things.

He was super light when I got on him after her though, and I was able to ride him off one finger (and all my other muscles working overtime to compensate). Plus our flawless turn on the haunches returned once he was light and forward and paying attention. What a concept!

bad horse.

Even BM is not incapable of running into a Bobby Road Block though. I got back on him this morning, took someone out for a lazy half an hour trail ride, and then came back and hit a wall. Bobby felt like a drunk, lazy, lock-jawed fuck wit who had no interest in cooperating with anything. 

I eventually got him sort of loose and working low at the trot, but when we went into the canter he started double pumping behind because he tensed up his back so much. He hits so hard that it knocks my jaw together and completely fucks up my back. He was just adjusted last week, so it's not that he's out. He just works himself up into a tizzy, tightens his back, and then can't hold the lead because his back is a big, knotted mess.

After almost an hour of accomplishing next to nothing, I handed him over to BM. She then proceeded to walk him for easily an hour and a half, if not more, while trying to get him to do such horrible things as: unlock his jaw, stop pulling on the reins, stay off the forehand, walk a mostly straight line, and stop trying to run off.

The rules we impose, I know

BM's patience is infinite because several times he lost his shit (WHILE WALKING) and threw down a good old fashioned Bobby tantrum that after two hours I probably would have brained him for, but she just carried on.

I got on him at 9:30 and a little after noon she was able to end with Bobby walking on a long rein while not pulling or losing his rhythm and speeding off. Almost three hours to get him to do nothing more than walk like a normal horse.

I may feel incompetent some days, but it was kind of nice to see a really good trainer run into the exact same problems I do and still not be able to fix them in ten minutes flat. My horse can just be difficult. Very extremely difficult. It makes me want to kill him, but it also makes me a better rider.

Or so I'm going to tell myself. Fuck you, Bobby.


  1. Oh man. That's pretty epic behavior. I have similar conflicting thoughts when my trainer rides Nilla. Nilla will pull all her obnoxious crap with the trainer and I feel like, oh good, it's not just me sucking as a rider, the mule is an asshole. But then the bad feelings come, like, oh shit, this mule is an asshole and I have to deal with it.

  2. You had me laughing with 'Phone A Friend'. #throwback

    Sigh. Bobby, just be a normal horse and cooperate please. FWIW, I definitely would have brained him after two hours. Probably a lot sooner. Which is why I am not a trainer. And own an easy horse.

  3. Ugh Bobby is one difficult horse. At least he is an ass to others, so he isn't discriminating against just you. Perhaps BM wants to buy your wildly fabulous shithead? You know, workout plan, tax deduction and what not. One can dream, right?

  4. sometimes it seems like we should have rubber mallets instead of riding crops. :)
    It's good that your BM is so good.

  5. Goodness. Honestly, it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only person in the world whose horse every so often just -cant- horse. And I'm sorry you have to go through that too , and I'm really glad your BM is so good.

  6. lol @ phone a friend.

    Oh Bobby.

  7. "Contain it don't kill it" should probably be my new motto. Also I would like to phone a friend too please - specifically your BM!!

  8. ass of an equestrian god, hahaha.

    For real tho, I feel like Bobby and Bacardi are brothers in hell. B&B Bad Boys Club

  9. Yeah where is your BM on my phone a friend list?

  10. Ugh. Kids.
    I do take some pleasure in knowing my trainer can't always fix it right away either. We lowly amateurs aren't that terrible after all!

  11. OMG I definitely do not have the patience for a 3 hour ride. I barely have enough to do 1 hour!!

  12. Dude, your horse is a douche. I feel like your BM likes a challenge, so I'm glad she's involved. I'd probably cry.

  13. I love your BM. Can we clone her to share?


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