Friday, February 9, 2018

All the little things

Whelp, it's only been approximately eight thousand years (or five months, same thing) and one cancellation due to a gimpy LF foot, but I finally got the lesson train rolling again.

Farrier was nice enough to poke around Opie's tender tootsie Tuesday morning on the grounds that "If I was a hugging person, I would hug you for actually training your horse to not be an asshole for the farrier." To which I was all, wow Farrier, your job must really suck because ground manners are life and I just assume everyone else lives by that rule. He was, of course, actually sound that morning and has been since, but he did hoof test a little tender in one particular spot. Farrier pulled the nail there so that in case there's a latent abscess it will have a place to go. The consensus was probably just bruising though, and if he continues to be too tender to deal with the frozen ground we'll give him some pads.

the cutest penguin around.

On to the lesson!

As planned, I had BM get on him for the first ride. I found this to be a huge help with Bobby who could look easy from the ground while you were actually working your lady balls off to keep him from spiraling apart. I wanted BM to get a baseline feel for how Opie's body parts actually moved and know that she would have an idea of what I was talking about during lessons when I was having a problem with something.

you can thank emma for these pictures as my phone was buried in my pocket with
my hands until she texted me mid-ride. it was so fucking cold i only got a few though.

She gave me a lot of good stuff, brought to you by my fave: bullet points!
  • He has a good walk, better still after a a few transitions to loosen up. 
  • Agreed he needs to use the base of his neck and stretch down and out better. Thought he was probably galloped in draw reins as he likes to default to that signature curl. 
  • Slow down the trot. Once he learns to slow down and shift his weight back, he'll lighten off the forehand and it will make it easier for him to use his neck properly.
  • He's light in the contact--but he's either light and lovely or straight up pulling you out of the saddle, there is no in-between.
  • He's sharp off the leg, but maybe too reactive. I think BM had a harder time with this because I ride in spurs every single ride and she only uses them when she thinks a horse needs a corrective schooling. She's stronger with her leg than I am because of it, and I think Opie was kind of jumping to obey quicker and more reactive than he does with me. Simple difference in riding styles though, not worried about it. 
  • He gets hotter off the seat than in half seat which is weird because jockeys aren't exactly known for urging down the stretch with their seat bones digging into a horse's back, and neither of us has a particularly driving seat. I mean, let's be real, I live for a slow, collected trot or canter. We'll stick to canter in half seat for now until he's stronger.
i didn't say they were good pictures. i was huddled in the corner
and not moving for fear of losing my small bubble of heat.

These are all for the canter--the main reason I wanted her to get on him:
  •  If he loses balance, back to walk or trot and try again. He doesn't have a real half halt so there's no re-balancing within the canter yet. 
  • Zero tolerance policy for a bad transition. Don't want him to learn that running into them is okay, and even if I don't ask perfectly, the level of drama he's giving is not okay under any circumstance. 
  • Scatter the canter throughout the ride, don't just follow the w/t with it and end there. Don't let it become A Thing. 
  • When trying to get the right lead, he forgets he knows how to do anything--suddenly doesn't know how to move off the right leg or that he can bend right. Once he gets it though, it's better than the left lead.
the elusive right lead
angrily trying to yank BM out of the saddle instead of
picking up the right lead. such sass, much drama.
Overall, her impression was that he's going to be a fun, easier-than-Bobby horse and what more could any rider ask for? He's far more forgiving in that he can get upset over something and throw a tantrum, but once you move on, so does he. The ride doesn't have to end because his brain quit working for the day like a certain big bay moose we all knew and sometimes loved. 

He doesn't have any glaring issues beside the standard green, young OTTB problems with balance and strength. 

My homework is: counted walk; work on as long of a rein as I can at as slow of a trot that he can manage without dumping onto his forehand; and lots and lots of canter throughout the whole ride.

the morning ended with me chucking my gloves at this asshole's
head to get him to stop standing here weaving and screaming because
momo was being ridden and all he was left with was a stupid pony
and an entire bale of hay. his life is the worst

25 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lot of great feedback!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad that was so successful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You say successful, Opie says horse abuse. ;)

      Delete
  3. ugh i do not miss the days of charlie constantly pulling me out of the saddle with his giant ass head. love all the points on canter too, esp about integrating it everywhere in the ride and focusing on the transition vs holding the canter no matter what.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah that was really good for me to hear as I had been trying to make it work by more nonstop cantering which resulted in me not cantering for three weeks because fuck the struggle sometimes lol.

      Delete
  4. That's so cool that you've got an instructor who can get on to assess and then make sure she's giving you the best help possible! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also helpful down the road when I inevitably fuck things up and she has to get on to fix them. :P

      Delete
  5. Trainer rides are the best. That’s a good point about not doing w/t then canter and ending it. That’s my current downfall with flat work. Gem knows I do a ton of walk, a bunch of trot then canter and little and call it a day so now she tries to rush straight to the canter part and be done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Opie was getting so wound up after he was done trotting that any cue he thought meant canter so he'd just start spazzing. I ended up just scratching it from our rides altogether for a couple weeks since it was becoming such a mental hang up for him.

      Delete
  6. You said bad indoor photography, I say cool lighting accents. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love the bullet points. Sounds like some fantastic feedback to think about and integrate into your rides!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love when trainers actually ride, because some things just are hard to explain without someone feeling it. At least for me. Love reading about his growth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She even picked up on some things I thought I was imagining or that were just from me sucking lol.

      Delete
  9. omg i was so into this whole post and nodding my head and then...you threw your gloves at him. Dying laughing here. OMG. Opie never change. He keeps you laughing (well me anyway). SO glad the trainer riding him was so informational!! YAY to onward and upward with Opie!! :) (HEE HEE still giggling a wee bit, sorry)....what a duf...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG he drives me so fucking crazy with the pasture drama. He knows he's not allowed to do it around me, but the second I'm out of sight it's fair game.

      Delete
  10. It is quite reassuring to have your trainer ride him and give such great feedback and assure you all is well. (Also glad he is sound!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO glad he's sound! I was going to be really bummed if I missed yet another lesson due to lame horses!

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Can't even with the penguin cuteness sometimes.

      Delete
  12. I love Trainer rides- soooo helpful

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the first trainer where I actually feel like I'm getting what I pay for!

      Delete
  13. Sounds like you're doing a great job with him! Trainer seems to think so too! He's going to be so much fun for you once he figures out the canter.

    ReplyDelete

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