Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Can-can (or can't) canter

After Dopie's training/"getting to know you" ride, I gave him Saturday off. He'd worked all week, and since he's just the sleepiest I figured he'd appreciate the break. Hubby and I slayed all day instead, getting a ton of shit done most notably of which involved not getting sucked into a time vortex while down at his parent's house. I swear they exist in their own universe; you think you've been there for an hour and poof! Surprise, bitches, two years have passed.

I did get a ride on Sunday for which Hubby was kind enough to be dragged along to. I've got social media to run here after all. There's only so many of the exact same head shot of The Snoot even I can take.

Opie's gelding soul mate--who he has not been turned out with since the first month he was here, but whose existence Opie still worships--was cooling out in the ring when I finally retrieved my horse from Hubby who had gone out to get him and then disappeared on a trail ride armed with nothing more than a halter and lead rope. This ended up being a really annoying distraction for the first half of the ride until Wym was finally turned back out.

only one baby scream when he heard wym walk down the aisle though!
it's about to come out of his llama head here.

We keep getting these weather swings where it snows a lot, then warms up and melts everything, and then freezes hard without the benefit of snow cover so everything is sheets of death ice. Unlike most horses that get sassy when the temperature dips, Opie seems to get sassier with the upswings.

He started off with a huge, swinging walk that felt like enough of a muscle warm up that I rolled with BM's advice to disperse the canter throughout the ride and asked him to step right into the left lead. That involved some hilarious dramatics.

this is him bucking and me trying not to laugh at him too hard

He thought he was very wild and crazy. Unfortunately for him, porpoising into transitions is frowned upon so after a few more neck flings and leaps through the air were shut down, he had to deal with a normal horse canter transition.

okay, it was still maybe a little enthusiastic 

I have mixed feelings on the canter. I gave him a few weeks off of it because it was the cause of a lot of drama--the transitions weren't great to the left, he didn't want to pick up the right lead, and the canter itself was too big and unbalanced for our narrow arena on a horse whose self preservation instincts are absolutely not on point yet.

While the kick in the ass by BM who reminded me the only way the canter was going to get better was to canter the horse, I also think he came out better for the break. He's a little stronger, a little more aware of his moving parts. I think in the long run this horse is going to have a really fabulous canter. Probably that's just because I already think he's the cutest though. He was being naughty for BM while I was watching her ride, and I was all, "WHO CARES SO CUTE PERFECT TEN."

a little less racehorse and a little more dressage horse would be nice

My struggle is my own head. As always. I think I take lessons more for brain training than horse training.

I have in my head this idea of the canter I want. It's a schooled horse collected canter. The canter of horse whose had years of dressage training, and whose ass is both trained and fully equipped to handle the work load. It's been so long since I've ridden any other canter that I'm not a hundred percent sure what canter I'm supposed to be getting from Opie. BM told me to work in half seat in the canter for now as Opie's back gets stronger. Opie offers me up a big track canter, I get into half seat, and my brain goes in track brain right along with his. I set the reins on his shoulders and let him do the work, the end.

stirrups set at shorty height from BM's ride for better half seat stability

Obviously that's not what BM was trying to get me to do. I'm still supposed to be trying to put a half halt through, still supposed to be working on getting him slower and working over his hind end more. Instead my brain checks out and we cruise around in too big of a canter for what the current goal is. I know getting back into the groove of weekly lessons will help. Some of this baby horse stuff is coming back naturally, other things definitely are not.

We've had two rides since Friday, and in both I made sure to drop the beat canter sporadically throughout. He had some big outside distractions on both days, but I was pleased with his mental effort of staying with me. He wasn't always completely tuned in, but I was able to bring him back without much difficulty at all.

#workingonmyfitness so hopefully my fat roll stops impeding me from sitting
the fuck up straight while posting. 

BM also wanted me to work on trying to get him to follow my longer reins down to lengthen his neck. That was a definite no for the start of both rides as Opie wanted to either make a run for it or curl, there is no in between. Then I could get him slow, but his back felt tight to me and I wasn't confident I was doing the right kind of slow.

On Monday morning I shifted back and forth between a bigger trot and the slow jog, and eventually he started softening his back, but I didn't get any stretch at the trot. On Sunday, he did manage to offer up a few strides here and there where his neck wasn't completely cramped.

plenty of other things to work on here, but look-his neck comes out of his shoulders
and doesn't just end part way!

We have so much to work on that I want to shove it all into each and every ride, while simultaneously having brain melt over trying to do more than one thing at a time. I'm hopeful Opie's mouth will be good to go by Friday so I can get some rider feedback on the canter. His gums looked pretty okay for the abuse they endured when I took a brief peek this morning. I'll give them a solid flush tomorrow just because I'm nervous about anything getting stuck in the holes as they heal up, but so far everything looks fine.

24 comments:

  1. Look who is dressaging! What a fancy pony!!!!

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    1. It's so nice to have a horse who makes it look easy, even if it involves the occasional porpoise!

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  2. He is looking fancy! :)

    Gavin was the first green horse I ever owned, and I avoided riding his god awful unbalanced tranter for too long. I feel your pain!

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    1. Flailing just isn't a good time for anyone.

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  3. Obviously still a baby race horse, but he's really come so far! Look at him! He's getting so fancy!
    Also, I failed miserably at baby race horse canter. But then my baby race horse broke anyway so I guess it didn't matter in the end.
    He's a trail horse now. With a little kid. And she probably canters him just fine.

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    1. I can't believe he's a kid's trail horse now. What a fucker. You're welcome for having a good mom!

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  4. I think he looks amazing. LOL on your hubby stealing him for a trail ride :) I think he is growing up and becoming a REAL horse :)

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    1. I should have been suspicious when he volunteered to go get him so quickly. I wish he had the time to ride more. And, you know, we had the finances for a second money pit lol

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  5. The baby horse struggle is real and girl I feel you on the canter! Mine went from pleasant and easy to giant and powerful all because of BACK MUSCLES. So we're trying to strike a balance where I don't left in the dust:) I love the glimmers of Opie's brilliance though! He's really special.

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    1. The getting stronger game is both a blessing and a curse!

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  6. You guys have come so far already!!

    Also, I feel this: "BM who reminded me the only way the canter was going to get better was to canter the horse" on a spiritual level lol

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    1. Omg, right?! By why can't the canter just fix itself??

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  7. Looking like such a good baby dressage horse!

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    1. Even when he's faking it, he's too cute to handle.

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  8. I do the same thing at the canter -- second guessing if the pace is right. Trainer keeps telling me to "just ride it" and frequent lessons to check-in help me mentally a lot

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    1. I'm ready for my next lesson already lol

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  9. The mouth is super quick at healing so I'm sure he'll be really good to go soon!

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    1. I'm amazed at how normal it's starting to look already!

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  10. Definitely looking more like a dressage horse and less racehorse! Slowly but surely. He makes up for all errors with his cuteness at least

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    1. Everything crossed judges give extra points for cuteness. ;)

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  11. i kinda love his proud sassy expression in that bucking picture lol.... ohhh dopie....

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    1. He was super impressed with how wild he was. Whatever you say, dopeasaurus!

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  12. Hahaha yeaaaah the cantering thing tho. ZB has zero canter issues, but I brought enough for both of us!

    So uh. It's a work in progress (if I actually do something other than toodle).

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