Monday, April 30, 2018

Together but apart

Unsurprisingly, dear Dopie made himself a bit back sore after last week's overly dramatic shenanigans. Tightening all your muscles while jigging downhill and then throwing multiple tantrums while flying backwards off the trailer will do that to you. He got Tuesday off and I attempted to give him a light, loose ride on Wednesday. It was full of head flinging and general No-ness, so Thursday I popped him on the longe for some light, loose circles.

Yeah, no. Still not feeling it. Instead it turned into a schooling session on manners and listening, but we roundabout finished with a slow, relaxed jog.

BM was kept abreast of the situation and our lesson on Friday was catered to getting the back to relax while still doing its job of lifting and engaging.

looking all cute waiting for his cookies to arrive

I started the ride perched in the saddle as a peace offering and Opie responded by giving nose to the ground stretches at the walk several times all on his own. He got lots of praise and scratches to reinforce the idea that stretching is always a good answer.

Not wanting to drill the horse, I got drilled on my riding instead. Dudes, much needed. I will never turn down this type of lesson.

At the trot, BM really wanted Opie "looking out of the bridle" instead of down at the ground or behind him--aka, stop curling your big ole white snoot, sir. She tried to describe it to me as getting his front half to lead instead of my top half leading, but that visual wasn't doing it for me. The great thing about BM is that she has a hundred different was of saying the same thing. When she told me to imagine lengthening his front half out I was like, "Oh, duh. That makes total sense."

We worked on half halting and then catching him and sending him forward promptly to make the hind leg the one leaving the ground the quickest. It took several attempts of sending him forward and then having to bring him right back again as he got too quick to balance himself, but once he got trucking and really pushing off the ground it was awesome. For a tiny horse he's got a big stride, and when he's not falling down it's killer.

his bookends would also like some cookies

Then there was the fucking canter.

I have an incredibly hard time with coordinating multiple aids, and I was getting really frustrated with myself. I could tell BM was struggling with teaching me as I kept falling apart because, as she told me at the end, "You're an educated rider so I think I can give you all this information, but it's not computing real time." A-fucking-men.

I was supposed to be half halting the outside rein to slow down Sir Runs A Lot while simultaneously keeping a light feel on the inside rein unless Sir Throws His Head A Lot threw his head in the air at which point I was to gently vibrate that rein with my ring finger. Two hands working at the same time doing two completely different things.

I. Could. Not. Even.

he's much cuter now that his summer coat is coming in so dark

And if I could magically trick my brain into working Together But Apart, some other part of me got left out of the picture and went to shit. Like I was supposed to be working on all this as well:
  • Thumb down to hold the reins in place so that the ring finger has freedom to talk with the bit. Otherwise it's too busy all the time and sending mixed signals. 
  • "Lean back" (basically be upright/don't fall forward if you're me) in canter transition so his front end has a place to lift up to.
  • Think of pushing my hand forward as if I was pushing into her fist.
  • Long rein in the canter transition. "If you can't push your hands forward on a long rein then I'm going to make you do it on the buckle."
  • There's a block behind my back that my elbows aren't allowed to pass behind. 
THAT'S SO MANY THINGS THO.

Meanwhile Opie is over here checking in with every air molecule in the state of New York , and BM's trying to threaten him into learning at the same time as trying to kick my own brain into gear. "If you don't stop being so ADD we're going to put blinkers on and ear plugs in to cut off all your senses." (Aimed at Opie, not me. I think.)

"i pay attention to everything."
we know, opie. that's the problem.

We had a powwow at the end while I casually ripped my hair out in frustration and defeat. While BM lectured me on how I make dressage too complicated in my head, and I was all, "Who's making whose hands do two separate things at once, BM? Not me!" And BM was all, "Well, clearly." (...that might have been inferred and not an actual quote.), she stopped and pointed at my leg.

"Look at what your heels are doing! Doesn't that hurt?"

Okay, listen. Just because my heels like to try to dig into the ground every second of their lives even while hanging neutrally at my side does not make them bad heels. They just don't know the meaning of being horizontal. Ever. BM added on to her lecture that I have to police myself at all times to make sure I'm not weighting only the outside of my foot and over-flexing my ankles. The entire ball of my foot has to be weighted. Just the worst.

Opie started three days of Bute that Friday and continued through the weekend which he had off. When I got to the barn this morning he was ready to work. He was also a little squirrely to start, but that's to be expected.

I was able to really tap into my seat aids again without any resistance from him, and it got him going so much quicker. After a nice stretchy walk break, I picked the trot back up and he offered that great big floaty trot we worked most of the lesson on all on his own. He got tons of praise as I rode around enjoying it before finishing with a much nicer left lead canter than the first one he offered.

finished the morning with inhaling grass

22 comments:

  1. I can't coordinate multiple aids to save my life, the struggle is real! XD
    I love that bookends pic, sew cute

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their field of grey ponies is on the road and they all look so cute out there together.

      Delete
  2. I get you on the frustrating bit of trying to make all the pieces do the right things... So hard. I had a lesson like that recently too and I am pretty sure my brain was melting out of my ears (but maybe that was just sweat) by the end of the lesson.

    Also- I really like the thought of weighting the whole ball of the foot... going to think about that next time I'm in the saddle. (which is goodness knows when based on Jack's hives)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I can't wait for it to get really hot so I'm actually melting while trying to coordinates aids. I think it's safe to say I will no longer be responsible for anything my body does correctly. It will be dumb luck.

      Delete
  3. Who even knew we had so many body parts to control? It can be very frustrating to get one piece in check and then realize everything else fell apart. Your BM sounds like a good fit for you and Opie though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's very good at being nonjudgmental when I have to stop and have a quick cry break because I CANNOT for one more step.

      Delete
  4. Yup - the canter struggle is real. It will get better, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's my 4th fresh OTTB so I know the future is bright somewhere down the line. ;)

      Delete
  5. ugh canter. Sometimes i just stop dead and stare at Emily in horror (You want me to do what? No way). so annoying when our body doesnt do what we want it to do. I too have a tendency to bury my heels to the ground and then wonder why my ankles hurt and i can barely walk when i get off. SIGH....one day..maybe..hey who am I kidding.

    I am glad Opie's back is better though. Good thing he is so cute!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I pretty sure my ankles don't even have any tendons in them and that's why they fall to the ground so easily. Also probably part of the reason I suck at posting so much. :P

      Delete
  6. I love an instructor who can tell me the same thing in 100 different ways. Its amazing how many times I'm like "huh???" until they rephrase and it totally clicks. Well at least in my head, my body does things of its own accord.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a must for me because everything takes so long to compute in my perpetually concussed brain!

      Delete
  7. Organizing body parts is difficult AF, even on the best of days.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Way too many things to remember at one time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More than one thing is too many things!

      Delete
  9. Ugh. So many things all at once. But hey, the trot sounds amazing now! The canter will come. You're doing great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His little fancy trot is so cute! I hope it shows up to play at the show this weekend.

      Delete
  10. Oh god, I feel this. The hardest part of riding for me (and I have said this in lessons many times!) is understanding in my brain what I am supposed to do but having apparently no ability to coordinate it to actually occur. The disconnect is real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I can get it in theory and once I'm off the horse it makes complete sense, I just can't get my body to do it in real time.

      Delete

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