Monday, December 4, 2017

All the trot work

I got a fresh batch of Snootcentric media this weekend, and while the Big Adventure was a two hour trail ride spanning seas of hibernating alfalfa and treacherous holiday traffic (located approximately ten feet apart because welcome to the 'burbs of Rochester), I just left you all with a trail riding story last week.

So. I will save that for tomorrow. It is full of daring and intrigue walking calmly on the buckle while I annoy my barn mates with incessant giggling and pointing to The Snoot exclaiming, "LOOK AT HIM. LOOK HOW PERFECT." And they're all, "Yes, we're too busy leaping into oncoming traffic on our naughty old men supposed-to-be-seasoned-trail horses."

Alright, maybe some daring and intrigue.

opie says trail rides R stupid, cookies are better

Hubby was kind enough to swing into the barn on his way to do other things to grab some new pictures and a couple quick videos for comparison's sake. I hadn't gotten any video until I forced Riding Bestie to record a couple minutes of very boring trot work when she was out last month.

In this video, we'd already gone on our trail ride, had a meltdown over screaming to relocated best friend and Ralph (who was in the fucking ring with us), and trotted for about five minutes. It was hands down the worst Opie has been under saddle since he came off the track.


Yeah, I know. Someone should give me an award for being able to stay on.

In all seriousness though, what it's hard to tell in the video is that he was constantly trying to yank the reins out of my hands using the considerable power of his block head and tiny, flexible neck. Using his tiny neck as a weapon is one of his favorite tricks--one that usually only comes out when fighting over picking up the canter, and is not very much on display here. The second favorite trick being rein-yanking.

Of course, now that I've made some changes, a lot of that was probably coming from a too-narrow saddle. Now that he's equipped in fancy leather that's approximately seventeen inches wider in the gullet (more on fancy leather once our official one gets here), he's slowly transitioning to just following the contact down and pleasantly stretching instead of hurtling me ass over teacups with a particularly ferocious yank.



Typical for most fresh OTTBs, he started off rides overly excited about the prospect of other horses in the ring with him. I actually don't usually ride during the weekends because they're so busy, but for now it's a great introduction to what's going to happen during warm up at shows. That is, mass chaos.

"WOW, HORSES, NOISE, COMMOTION, MUCH EXCITE."

Fortunately in Opie Land, while things remain interesting, you are the side eye master of the universe and all those interesting things can still be watched without putting forth undue effort.

one lap later.

He takes maybe five minutes of trotting around before the half halts start to compute and he's ready to go to work. It's going to be a big difference for me warming a horse up at shows with the goal of riding them down before actually warming up, but he's so fucking lazy I don't think it's going to take much.

He no longer cares about other horses passing him in the ring--from behind, the side, head-on, or if they're jumping or cantering elsewhere. Should we be in the way of someone else trying to work, no worries. We've gone from being the danciest to the standiest. He'll park it wherever and whenever for however long you want. Possibly even longer than you want. Grand Champion of standing and hoping more cookies get doled out.

He's never been one to err on the side of llama--he carries himself naturally in a pretty cute frame, although certainly Victorian-era carriage horses must be in his lineage somewhere--but he's learning to let go at the base of his neck with his new saddle, and stretching has become his jam. I am slightly bitter over this as it took Bobby all twelve years of his life to figure out stretching was a thing.

my saddle will have a seat my ass fits in. i eagerly await its arrival.

Overall, my biggest impression of him is that he's super honest. If he doesn't get it, it's not because he's being bad. He either isn't quite there physically yet, or the concept is not computing in his brain. If you tell it to him correctly, he will try. He's also going to be super good for me because he tattles right away when I get handsy. "You do waggy waggy with your hands? I do waggy waggy with my head." 

gah, so cute.

I don't know if it's just the emotional clusterfuck 2017 has been for me that's making me extra-appreciative of how easy this kid is, but right now I'm having so much fun restarting him. The knowledge that I was going to have to be at square one yet again after I put Bobby down was depressing at times, but Opie is making the experience really rewarding instead.

26 comments:

  1. That last photo though 😍 I'm glad the snoot has such a good brain and is making the restarting process fun for you! Also anxious to hear new saddle deets, cause ya know, #tackho 😉

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    1. She's coming next week to fit it to him so I'll do a post on it then. So soft. So pretty. So expensive it hurts.

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  2. im glad youre enjoying him and hes being a model citizen. it helps when theyre not crazy buttfucks.

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    1. Ain't nobody got time for crazy buttfucks.

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  3. omgosh i just love him so much tho <3 so glad you got such a good one!!!

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  4. what a good egg!! loving all the media.

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    1. I've been completely unapologetic about shoving my phone at barn mates this time around. Fortunately the Snoot love spreads to everyone.

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  5. Fun is what it's all about. Love seeing him progress!

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    1. It's bordering on an obscene level of fun. OH WELL WHO CARES SO FUN.

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  6. I got a little sleepy watching those trotting vids. I mean really Opie, couldn't you do something exciting like maybe fling your head once? Otherwise nobody's gonna believe you're a 4yo OTTB.

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    1. He kinda isn't steady in the contact yet. That's kinda exciting. No? Not even a little bit?

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  7. I need to start riding with more people... so *I* get comfortable with it. I'm used to having a big ring practically to myself

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    1. I'm not a big ring sharer person myself, but I know it will be good for him in the long run. Even if I prefer the hermit lifestyle lol

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  8. He looks fantastic! I’m glad you’re having fun and he’s learning so quickly!

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  9. I'm so happy for you. He looks (and sounds) lovely! :)

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  10. Ahh I didn't notice his little snoot tongue in the first picture until I made it bigger. It's so cute! (sorry, creepy lurker here just talking about your horse's tongue...)

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    1. His tongue goes into overdrive after peppermints. It's adorbs.

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  11. That brain just makes all the difference in the world. I'm there too and it's a great place to be.

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    1. I never realized how much time I spent going backwards on Bobby (like, literally running backwards into things) until I was on something so stupid easy.

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  12. I love hearing how wonderful he is! What a doll.

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    1. Good because I just can't stop myself from oversharing!

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.