Thursday, March 23, 2017

Active Riding

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about this morning's lesson. Between the weather and being sick, it's been a good long time since our last one and I can't actually remember the last time we jumped anything.

Also my horse has fluctuated between being semi-manageable and something straight from the depths of hell these past few days so which Bobby was going to show up to play this time?

After Monday's less than stellar cooperative ride, on Tuesday I tried again. He was actually far better behaved to start. He wanted to try the bucky pumpy hoppy nonsense right off the bat at the canter, but I just kept kicking him and sat through it and he finally dropped his llama face and got to work. We even coasted through a canter half pass across the diagonal to a flying change with zero dramatics. He still does the canter half passes like we're swimming through cold molasses, but we eventually get to the other side. I mean, it's not like these tests are timed, right? So what if we need a full minute to make it from K to M?

I didn't want to burn him out with another dressage ride, but I also didn't want to jump him two days in a row--and it was fucking freezing yesterday--so I went with a longe for Wednesday. I bent down to pick up the whip and he went shooting off. Of course it was the one time I wasn't wearing gloves to longe so I was only able to yell at him while trying to send his rabid dolphin leaps into a circular motion before I finally got him wrangled down. He spent the rest of the longe snaking his head at me but at least remained on the ground.

"fuck you, i'm so sassy!"

So yeah. Maybe not the most confident feeling that I was going to get a well behaved horse today.

However, since he's Bobby and Bobby plays by his own mysterious Bobby rules, he was actually completely his own Bobby way.

BM started us off with two poles down the long side five strides apart. She sent us off to the left first saying that we could get however many strides we wanted as long as I came in with a plan to get them. I couldn't waffle and just let Bobby splat in and then race out on his own terms. "You need to be an active rider and make decisions before it's too late." Okay, well, I think we all know that being an active rider is the complete polar opposite of who I am. Sit like a lump and space out? Right up my fucking alley. 

I was able to get some good work done on not having Bobby take a nose dive after the first pole/jump (As if he would just canter over them. Please.) and then barreling down the line on his forehand yanking the reins out of my hands. When he does that it makes him feel like he's going a thousand times faster than he is, and like he's going to land and do a somersault. I got him to lift his front end up and keep it up so he felt really light, and it made the five strides feel like we were just strolling down the line easy peasy.

the picture of lightness and adjustability, amirite?

Then we switched and went to the right. The first pole came off a shorter approach that direction and, as always, I completely botched it pretty much every single time. Bobby kept swinging his haunches out, losing balance, and swapping behind which didn't help matters. I was like, thankfully Massage Lady will be here next weekend because he clearly needs work. Meanwhile BM was like, "Stop riding like shit, control your horse's haunches, and you won't have that problem, you fucking jagaloon." (possibly not a direct quote)

After bungling through that direction enough times, BM mercifully let us move on. Back to the left, we had a pole 9' to a gate 18' to another pole. She rolled the poles in and out each time so I had to get him to compress or lengthen his stride accordingly. It went fairly well though I definitely felt like I was riding Bobby's coattails as he figured things out mostly by himself. To the right it wasn't quite as pretty, but uh...compressing your horse and making him use himself apparently makes him not fish tail all over and land on the correct lead with no crazies. Hmm.

must get kitty snuggles in

We finished with a standard hunter-ish course. It wasn't the smoothest, but I made decisions and acted on them with every single fence. There was no launching, no getting left behind, and we actually got out of the two stride in two strides without difficulty. BM gave me the option of doing it once more to clean it up, but my lungs were well and truly shot at that point so we quit there.

Overall not a bad lesson for a bad horse who hasn't jumped in ages.


  1. This sounds WEIRDLY similar to the lesson I had this week! Actually riding the horse over poles is hard. :(

  2. aww kitty snuggles <3

    but also, yea. active riding. i'm actually the BEST at being an active rider. for instance: i can actively conduct invisible symphonies with my hands while riding! i can actively tap out invisible jazz steps while riding! i can actively interpretive dance myself right up into the most shittastic of jumping scenarios! really truly!! #skilled #mightbedoinitwrongtho

  3. Ha! I thought sitting on my horse and attempting to not get in his way whilst he looked after my ass was active riding. The real thing sounds hard!

  4. I hate poles. Hate. Them. Nice work using them for good rather than evil. And I'm happy the good Bobby came out to play too!


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