Monday, April 9, 2018


The last three rides have been the tale of three Opies--three gaits, three different racehorses.

joining red pony in the winner's circle. my ottbs have not
been the winningest of creatures. 

The Walk

Opie has a great trail horse walk. He goes places. He hustles, yo. When Opie is paying attention, his walk is also fantastic in the ring.

One of Opie's biggest weaknesses? ADHD brain.

We were taking a walk break in our lesson Friday and BM casually mentioned that the free walk could probably improve by not letting him scurry forward on his forehand, pounding his feet into the earth like an elephant.

but at least a cute elephant?

No real issues in our Sunday ride, but this morning he wanted to get super crooked trotting right. Since he's still not the best at legs meaning more than Go at the trot (and definitely not the canter), I brought him back to the walk to get his front end and back end realigned.

He wanted to lay on my right leg so badly at which point he got acquainted for real with my spur for the first time. After throwing a minor tantrum where he tried blowing out even more into my leg and spur, he finally deigned to straighten out.

He drifts back and forth slightly both directions still when we're working hard on stretching from the base of his neck like he can't focus on both a straight line and using himself correctly. That's fine. When your ass and your shoulders are not even in the same universe as each other is not fine.

stay straight little dopie horse!

The Trot

Our last lesson was all about slowing down the trot. This time it was graduating to the next step and using all those things we learned while going slow--what feet are, having a long neck, being a calm horse--and pushing forward into a good, strong working trot.

Overall he's been doing really good with this. He loses his balance with the bigger step sometimes and bobbles, but BM is as quick to jump down my throat as I am about wanting to jump down Opie's throat when this happens. I'm such a control freak that the second he fusses I want to do something to correct it. BM reminds me to let him go for a step or three and see if he corrects himself first (which pretty much always happens). A lot of the fussiness can be fixed by a half halt to re-balance and then pushing him forward again. If he's using his butt and reaching for the bit, he's not going to do strange things with his head.

BM: straighten your wrist.
me: feels straight.
my wrist: is never actually straight.

Today I introduced him to the beginnings of trot lengthening. Dudes. SO. CUTE.

He's so much easier than Bobby ever was even with this being his very first attempts. He's so small that he doesn't explode into a million pieces because there's too much body to keep track of. A little half halt here and there, maybe a half a lap to slow down and get everything back in order, and then his little legs are off and bouncing and reaching.

Adorable. I think he actually enjoyed himself as well. Will get media asap.

wrists gone rogue. always. all the time.
at least i'm not falling completely forward though!

The other thing of note at the trot is for myself. Looking through the media from Sunday's ride I was happy to see some definite improvement in my posting. It's still a work in progress as I have to actively think through all the corrections BM gave me. I need to always work on bringing my shoulders back, but there's a lot less pictures where I want to yank my entire body into a different position.

The Canter

Ohhhhh, the canter.

a pretty accurate representation of the right lead departs. 

Opie still wants to jet into the canter. He's not too bad to the left--really most of the time that direction he steps pretty quietly into it--but the right lead is just a hot mess express.

Our right lead canter departs have been: cue, bolt, stop immediately with much head flinging, repeat. This has been...sort of intentional? Of course if I cue and he doesn't put the pedal to the metal right off the bat then we carry on and work with what we've got. But he absolutely cannot get away with the spastic, rabid, rage monster leaping.

Since he's not great with half halts at the canter when he's behaving himself, they really don't mean anything when he's like this. Lots of repeated halting and putting the kibosh on the horrible running off departs seems to eventually get it through his brain that we can, in fact, canter off without it being from the starting gate.

proof it can be done.

The good news is that I can finally sit on my horse at this gait. I've been in hovercraft mode since we started cantering because he couldn't deal, but he finally seems strong and comfortable enough that I can plug in my seat. Not that I always do it because I wouldn't be me if I instantly fixed my problems instead of taking forever to get my life together, but small steps.

opie's all, ride better and maybe i'll go better. touche, sir.

It's all getting there though. Some things are going to be ugly for awhile yet, but every ride he creeps forward that much more.

able to trit-trot around for cool out on a long rein without falling down now


  1. Baby horse progress! Love the updates about you guys!

  2. If you consistently get small steps forward, before you know it you'll be leaps and bounds ahead of where you were!!

  3. Right lead is hard. Sounds like much progress is happening though. Good boy Opie!

    1. Right lead is SO hard. Why be calm when you can go fast??

  4. he looks so freakin good with that clip, and such a pretty gray right now!

    1. Ughhh I hate how he looks right now! His legs are so dark and his neck is getting darker but the rest of him isn't except for the spots on his butt where the hair grew back from his rain rot which are as dark as his legs. #mangehorse

  5. Ooooh, he's really coming along! Lookin' good!

  6. He looks so good! He and Ellie are in the same place with the walk/trot work. Thankfully I don't have any TB canter bolting (yet...? haha) to work through but I am sure she will find something in her baby Morgan brain.

    1. No channeling your inner TB, Ellie! Not ever!

  7. He is continuing to look better and better! I really enjoy your no-nonsense approach to horse training and it’s good for me to read about. I’m not always as good at making sure Latai is being polite ;)

    1. Opie says it feels more like horse abuse tbh. ;)

  8. The good moments are so good though. Plus he's stinking adorable.

    1. What he lacks in staying upright on four feet he makes up for with cuteness!

  9. Next time tell her gay conversion therapy does not work on wrists (been there, done that, left wrist still totally fabulousssss!)

    1. Girl, yas. These wrists are too good for her straight ideology.


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