Monday, November 28, 2016

Balance, you bitch

First and foremost, make sure you check out Equinpilot's giveaway for Riding Warehouse gift cards! I know blog land is a RW-obsessed place, so who wouldn't want to win?

using old pictures since the outdoor is now underwater. yay, winter!

I've been struggling to come up with coherent ride reviews lately--which is probably why it's been a good three weeks since I actually did one. To be honest, I think I'm incapable of writing long, detailed dressage recaps about what my body is doing to influence my horse, and how his inside leg is doing this and making his back do that while his eyebrow (Do horses technically have eyebrows? I don't even know that.) is pointed towards the holy grail of Dressage Jesus because I feel like a fraud and, quite frankly, like a fucking idiot.


I'm able to nod and follow along when I read other dressage lesson/clinic/rides by people far more knowledgeable and introspective than myself--people that are vastly superior to me in their ability to convey what the fuck they're doing to their horse at any given time. It's not that I'm necessarily clueless in how to train my horse (I mean, it's kind of like we move in a hardening molasses sort of way, know, it gets done eventually.), I'm just completely unable to put all of it into words that make any sense.

I'm also spiraling back down into "I will never be good enough, I suck at this so much, why can't I do anything right, why is this so hard, I'm working my balls of and things are still suckingggggggg" mode. WHICH IS GREAT.


But in the interest of sharing all aspects of the journey as I've tried to do on this blog from day one, I'm going to attempt to consolidate all the angst learning I've been at lately. And I have some video again, so for the sake of posterity, I'm going to put that up here, too.

warm up trot

I have loads more positional things I'm more than happy to drone on and on about for myself, but first let's dive into Bobby Land.

Despite outwards appearances of still being a large tank that may or may not be pregnant with a litter of puppies, I can tell that his time off from being unsound did actually do a number on his fitness. He's always let me know when he's hit the wall on collected work, and we get there pretty quickly. That's perfectly fine, and we go right into a nice stretchy walk or trot break which always needs more work itself.

Since coming back from his lameness stint (I can't even bring myself to call it an injury anymore because no one knows why he went lame. u r so awesome, Bobby.) I hadn't touched on any lengthening or medium gaits while still testing out the waters on the soft tissue possibility. As I keep upping the work and he continues to be stone cold sober sound, we've all but tossed that out the window along with literally everything else.

We did his first medium this past Wednesday. It was surprisingly super light and easy. He just oozed into it after getting flustered with asking for collection and I let him open up his stride to defuse the situation. We revisited it again a couple days later and it wasn't quite that easy.

I've got him starting it on a large circle so that he can't just start running off his feet and lose his balance. It's hard to build up momentum in our ring when you take away the runway of the long side.

He's only getting it for a few strides at the moment because, again, he needs to rebuild that strength, but I'm happy with the quality of it when it's there. Mostly I need to police myself to make it easier for him. Being a bit flabby myself, I tend to balance myself by leaning back and accidentally driving/chasing him with my seat which just runs him off his feet. I started talking out loud to myself yesterday, reminding myself to sit up and not back, don't drive, close the legs, keep the rhythm, and just let the stride open on its own without ever getting faster.

At the canter, hes getting much lighter and the left. He's telling me loud and clear he's ready for some body work to the right, so that will be on the docket shortly.

I'm still not getting a great stretch at the walk for a real free walk until we're finishing off our ride, but I need to play around with pushing my hands forward more and not just letting my reins out. The stretchy trot is something he's really learning to get behind though!

Overall I'm happy with how he's doing. Me, on the other hand? I kind of feel like I've regressed in all areas. My hands are bouncing, my legs are bouncing, I still want to slouch and when I'm not slouching I'm leaning too far back, my reins never seem to be at the right length, and my hands still like to revert to sky high levels.

You know, the little things.


  1. I can personally relate so much to the first half of the blog, glad I'm not alone haha. And I loved all the video in the second half. His canter looks so fun to ride!

  2. frankly i'm just so happy to see bobby out and about doin his thing again!! all those other little things tho... dear god i am right there with you. tho with the added bonus of a horse that definitely isn't doing the whole 'going well in spite of it' thing... oops haha

  3. Ride recaps tend to be kinda boring anyways. Yay videos!

  4. Dude, the leaning back thing. Why is that SO MUCH EASIER than actually engaging your abs? It's not faaaaairrr...

  5. I am glad Bobbi is doing so much better! And I am also with you, after no real riding for over a month lord I feel like a noob. So...we are all in this together?

  6. I think part of being a rider and actually wanting to get better is spending 75% of your life convinced that you're the actual worst rider in the universe. But um YAY SOUND BOBBY!

  7. Yahoo. Welcome back Bobby. I think we are all way too hard on ourselves. You look great!

  8. He looks like a pleasure to ride so that means you're definitely doing something right. ^.^ I still feel your pain with the "I don't know how to explain what I'm doing" wagon. Like when I take a lesson I nod and do everything that trainer tells me to do and it's great and they say, "So what did you learn?" and I just sit there with this stupid look on my face and legit want to say, "Do Things..."

    For how much you've been able to ride and work together, you guys look great.

  9. I also suck at writing ride recaps. For some reason, every time I sit down to write one, it all seems so incredibly boring. Like... did I really just do THAT for an hour?!

  10. I can't wait to ride again but at the same time I know its going to be hard and frustrating.

  11. I hope he keeps up this soundness stuff!! :D

  12. I think it's seasonal angst... I mean LEARNING. I feel like I should get myself a nice 25 year old quarter horse and just trot laps in the ring from now on...
    Sounds like you are doing a great job of starting Bobby back. I'm sure your mind will come around shortly!


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