I think the frustrating part was that we weren't actually doing anything hard. And yet Bobby and I could not get it.
|airplane ears in full affect|
Before we even started in on anything, BM honed in on tightness in Bobby's RH. She gave him a quick dig into his muscles to rub him out a little, and then sent us off at a jog to get him to loosen up.
Bobby does not jog. Bobby does not loosen up. Bobby does not relax. These are not Bobby attributes when we're in the ring. Strolling about on trails? Maybe. In tack, in an arena, with an agenda? No. Thus began an hour long mental battle for the both us.
BM put us on a circle at one end of the ring. I was to exaggerate the inside bend, even if I had to spell it out to him like a kindergartner with a wide open inside rein and over using my inside leg. If he drifted out while bending, that was fine as I then used my outside aids to push him back in while keeping a forward yet relaxed rhythm. All with my reins on the buckle so that he could stretch as low as he could go.
|waiting for the resident fox to show up for pictures. the one day i bring my camera|
and the stupid thing couldn't be bothered to come out.
This sounds like an easy way to run into some basic problems: losing the haunches, not getting the bend, losing the forward, etc. For Bobby, the first thing we ran into was that he wouldn't just chill the fuck out and keep diddling around on the circle at a relaxed pace. He was great at stretching, but he just wants to do everything fast: relax fast, stretch fast, everything has to be done rightawaygetitdonenow. I was more than happy to play along and half halt him every other stride to slow him down for one step before off he went again, but BM called us out on it right away.
It goes back to us nagging each other and staying on that middle ground where it's just pick, pick, pick instead of "This is how it's going to be done. I'm asking once, I'm telling the second time, end of story." Every time he lost the tempo and tried to shoot off into a big trot instead of maintaining our slow jog I halted him completely. Whoa means whoa, Bobby. That is all.
Once we sorted that out, and it took a long time, we were finally able to move back to the bending exercise. I could. not. do. it. Once again I felt like I was being overloaded with aids and I couldn't sort them out fast enough to make a difference. I finally gave up at the jog and came back to the walk so I had one less thing to focus on.
I finally got the inside bend sorted away, and then I couldn't get him pushed back over without his haunches winging out. BM told me to keep my outside leg right at the girth--in fact, since I default to bringing it back far enough to kick my horse in the stifle when asking for anything, to think of kicking him in the shoulder instead and I'd probably be at the right spot. That helped a lot and I was able to also bring my thigh into the picture and really push his shoulders around without making the hind end think it needed to be doing something large and grand as well. It also carried over into doing a super SI in our next ride.
|spring is finally here!|
We were able to move back to the jog and get the same results, and then BM had me do something else horrible and frustrating: picking up my reins. Kind of an integral part of riding, but something else I apparently can't do correctly. I was supposed to keep my shoulders back and down and my hands forward and independent of the rest of my body while shortening my reins.
Yeah, no. My body parts don't move independently of each other and everything wanted to lurch forward in a giant movement. At this point my ass was chafed from sitting the trot for an hour, my right ankle was completely numb and just dangling there uselessly, and my brain was fried. I've since worked on this on my own and found that if I focus on keeping my core hard and still instead of thinking of my shoulders, my middle holds everything in place while my hands get to go about their business on their own.
|taking bobby's picture from across a giant field is the key to making him look attractive|
In summation, our lesson was this: slow down, relax, bend.
THOSE ARE THE THREE HARDEST THINGS ON THE PLANET WHEN YOU'RE A BOBBY HORSE.
BM is pushing us hard without actually taxing