Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lost Conection

Things have been moving along slowly and steadily with Dopie. Mostly slowly.

Riding Bestie was up last Friday so we went on a nice trail walk through the melting snow on the first nice, sunny day of the century month. Opie earned his gold star by leading the whole way, dealing with me yanking his blowing quarter sheet straight every five seconds, and not dumping me on my ass while I was mid-quarter sheet yank with one hand on the buckle completely turned around when he fell through a watery ditch. Riding out in winter is so fun, guys.

picture of errant quarter sheet by sarah

I was able to budget in enough money to finally start lessons again next month which couldn't have come at a better time. While I don't feel at all like I'm in over my head here, having a trainer on-site that I want to work with and whose training process I trust really shuts down any burning desire to battle through the hard stuff on my own.

You've turned into a massive shit at the canter? No problemo. Guess who gets to deal with it next week? Not me!

bad baby horse? never!

I feel like Opie has reached a point in his canter where he's no longer so weak and unbalanced that his only option is to listen to me or fall over and die. However, just because he's slightly stronger and slightly more balanced does not mean tuning me out is suddenly an option either which is where his little pea brain is headed. We might still fall over and die, it will just be at a higher rate of speed.

So I've shelved the canter until next Friday when BM will be riding him for our first lesson, and she can get a feel of what all his various disjointed baby horse body parts are doing to best help me going forward.

In the meantime, there are still a gazillion other newbie issues to work through.

like going on his third halter in three months since he officially
killed the first and the second one rubbed his giant noggin. 

His mounting block issues were resolved through candy bribery. He now stands quietly and politely while I get on and waits patiently for his cookie to be doled out for doing so. Only now he thinks the second the candy is in his mouth he's free to move about the cabin. Nah. You've still gotta stand, amigo. The feet don't get to move until I say they do.

He's also been a bargey asshole on the ground the past few days, so we've been reviewing the Personal Bubble and Don't Pass My Shoulder rules.

Really though, the main focus has been trying to rid him of the false frame mid-neck bulge that looks cute as shit as he prances around, but is obviously no good for anything.

so adorbs. such a faker.

I do love that his default is not to llama but to frame up, and while he takes the connection nicely and lightly, it's not correct work and I'm massively paranoid of fucking him up and letting him get away with cheating. He's got a short neck as it is, the last thing I want to do is encourage him to make it even shorter especially in the wrong part.

He's easier to convince to stretch out at the walk, but at the trot it's a big issue. I can float the reins at him completely and he won't move an inch. He holds his rhythm--he doesn't take advantage and blow off--which is nice, but there's literally no horse in my hand. Riding him more forward does nothing. He just opens up his stride and stays stuck in his little self-set head carriage.

I've been trying to talk to him by sponging my ring fingers softly as a little, "Hello, things are happening in your mouth. Would you like to participate?" That helps one day, but not the next, and then only a little the day after that.

He'll get there. If Bobby taught me anything, it's that stretching can be just as hard as collection to learn. That's our main focus at the moment though. We do a lot of walking, occasionally with some baby leg yields and moving the shoulders around to break up the boredom.

i also try to let him do some jumpies to break up the boredom,
but WOW is he bad at it.

There's a game night at the barn this weekend we'll be participating in. No real training will be going on there obvi, but any time he has to Horse in a crowded ring will serve him well in his future show horse glory days. Hopefully.

momo selfie photo bomb. this horse and his selfies, guys.
he's so #basic sometimes.

27 comments:

  1. Did the child genius come with an understanding of lateral work, or do you have any tips on teaching it? I've got similar false frame issues with the bay mare but I can't get the lateral work or shoulder isolation in my tool kit yet. Yayyyy baby horsesssss!

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    1. I've been teaching it to him. Riding in spurs helps if you're good at it. I occasionally also pick up a dressage whip to reinforce that my leg means "move over" when he's being especially mulish. Those tools might not work for a very reactive horse or with a less judicious hand.

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    2. Thanks, girl! I think I'll try teaching the concept on the ground and then use the more focused tools under saddle when she seems to get it... because yay reactive horse (and out of shape adult ammy life) :)

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  2. woohoo baby lateral work. I've been focusing on getting more and better lately too.

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    1. Yeah it definitely needs some serious polish, but the start of things are good!

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  3. despite being as long as a short bus (and occasionally a card carrying rider of said short bus) charlie is really reluctant to trust the stretch still. mostly bc if he gets heavy up front he WILL trip and scare himself, but it's oh so very hard to hold his own self up while still reaching out and down.

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    1. It took Bobby all twelve years of his life to figure out stretching is a thing. In comparison Opie is basically taking it to the ground stretching lol

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  4. Ugh the short neck problems. I'm #blessed that Bast likes stretching, but he hasn't yet figured out how to truly push into the contact.

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    1. Opie likes a good stretch at the walk after a "hard" workout, but dang he cannot do the thing at the trot. Any of the things really. :P

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  5. I'm working on "leg yields" LOLZ with my baby to break up the walk/trot in circles around the ring

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    1. There's only so much w/t to be done before someone dies of boredom.

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  6. I think he read a "Dressaging for Dummies" book and thinks that's where his head goes, so that's where it stays. But you're totally right about stretching being hard. Jamp at 18 still has almost no stretchy trot to speak of. I've accepted defeat there. Good thing he was mostly a jumper in his former life.
    I'm excited to read about your lesson!

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    1. He definitely gets an A+ at Dressaging for Dummies. F+ for Dressaging for Real Horses.

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  7. sorry but laughing so hard at your 'not free to move about the cabin' HA HA HA. Poor Opie. Life is so hard. YAY about lessons and making someone else do that shit! I am all about that. Remus is getting Emily next time to canter him and he is almost 15. They all need to be learned or reminded how to do stuff and sometimes it just helps to let a pro do it. I still think Opie is adorbs though. How is the screaming coming? (And you know what at least he is good trail riding some horses would have melted down at the quarter sheet trying to go awol LOL)

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    1. He's actually getting better about the screaming! He'll still let one loose occasionally while riding outside if someone else is calling, but he hasn't announced himself to the world for no reason while riding in the ring so that's a huge improvement. Now if we could just get him to stop weaving outside once he finishes his hay...

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    2. lol baby steps. :) Glad he is improving. He is still oen of the cutest i have seen. So he is allowed a few bad habits :) HA HA HA

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  8. He really is so cute though! Sounds like you're making amazing progress with him already even if there are still annoying baby things going on.

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    1. He's definitely farther along than he could be.

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  9. At least he looks the part? I’m dealing with the llama head set on mymare so I’m absolutely of no help but it would be a nice change of pace.

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    1. The hiding from the contact is almost as bad as being a llama in it's own way. It's very weird to have your horse going around looking like it's on the bit when you can flop and wave your reins all around and there's no horse at the end.

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  10. That snoot tho. I have a hard time focusing on the words you are saying when there is a snoot.

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    1. Yes, I have similar feels with a Smoosh.

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  11. But what if we just keep faking it forever! Will we eventually make it? (NO, Murray. We will not.)

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  12. Fake it till you make it? Haha

    Just kidding. The stretch will come! It took Annie ages to stretch down into her neck too.

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    1. Being a riding horse is soooo hard!

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  13. So Rio used to be a big fat cheater and dive wayyy down and wayyy behind the vertical at the very lightest touch of the reins. I had to spent a solid few weeks LIFTING my hands straight in the air (not back, but up) and applying leg every time he dropped down. It was a very ugly phase, but slowly started to work. He finally accept contact nicely now and doesn't instantly drop down to light pressure. Still a work in progress though!

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