Thursday, May 31, 2018


Welllll.... tomorrow Dopie Horse makes his rated dressage debut. On Tuesday I was feeling super excited about this. Last night I had a dream I lost my brakes and was getting pulled backwards by my trailer in the rain. This morning I had the worst ride on Opie yet.


i have no new or exciting media, so enjoy these pictures from the zoo this weekend.
really though, how adorable is this posing rhino?

Actually things aren't that bad. If Opie continues his trend of being better at shows than at home we'll be fine. And let's be real. It's Training level. All he has to do is w/t/c and not fall down. A monumental task at times to be sure, but getting increasingly less worrisome with each ride. Coming off of showing dressage on Bobby, my expectation for scores is still bottom of the barrel. I literally can't be disappointed by scoring anymore. If we stay in the ring, I'm like, "Already winning!"

Our lesson Tuesday was fucking great though. If I can recreate-ish that, we'll be in a really good spot. (Spoiler alert: couldn't recreate one step of it this morning, so...)

Back in my lesson last Friday, it was all at the walk. BM had us starting in on counted walk which is mentally very fatiguing, but he needed it. It was all about getting him to slow down and go to the contact honestly. At the very end BM sent us off into a slow jog to see if there was a stretch ready to be offered. He got a little tense when he got unbalanced--both because he's five and green, and because I'm his wobbly rider--but he made an effort. Then she had me send him forward and he loosened right up and went way down.

i definitely wasn't the only person to say, "oh, look. it's hedwig!"

I played with that a little bit in our warm up Tuesday while waiting for BM and he gave me a long neck on a long rein. Not a lot of stretch, but none of that awful crimping he likes to do either. When BM came in, she had me pick him up a bit and get him marching in the walk. And then get him marching into the trot.

It was another lesson on half halt then catch him and send him off quickly to get his hind end activated and really pushing without letting him get so forward that he loses his balance. He was finding it almost too easy on the straightaways so we moved to serpentines and circles which took some finesse, but we made it happen.

When he came back to the walk, he was all about the stretching. I had to keep leaning forward to let him go to the ground because even with my reins on the buckle he wanted all the room to go down.

For the canter, we worked on the downward transitions. That is, after we had to get after Opie for being a quitter and trying to die whenever he got even remotely tired. How about a little try, sir? The theory was to hold the half halt until he came down to trot and then immediately send him forward to keep him from diving down and quitting. That worked so-so, but it just needs work.

For the left lead canter, he wants to throw his shoulders out. I want to try to bend him around my inside leg, but all that's doing is overbending the rib cage and letting the shoulders escape even more, so I have to think of shoving the shoulders back in to line up with the rest of him.

The canter itself is slowly getting better. I can actually sit on him reliably now, but he's got to learn that any shift of my weight isn't an excuse to quit, and that a half halt can mean rebalance and not die. He's so much more fit than he was a couple of weeks ago though. God bless the Thoroughbred and their ability to get in shape at the drop of a hat.

By the end of the lesson, I was riding a big, moving trot that felt like a real horse under me for the first time with this kid--one that I wasn't working my balls off to manage and one that felt like the horse was doing it easily and comfortably.

this snoozing lion enjoying his mister is how opie would like to spend his life

And then this morning I couldn't get him to pay attention for more than a second. All he wanted to do was canter. I couldn't get him to take up any contact without him wagging his head side to side. His neck was short, his legs were everywhere, and he was completely tuning me out. I ended up putting him in side reins and working him on the longe for ten minutes before calling it quits after he offered a little stretch.

My goal is to leave the barn around four tomorrow morning for our first test at 7:30. That's early. That means the fucking horse better get on the fucking trailer.


  1. omg the last statement in your post. OPIE please load :) LOL good luck!! Love the photo of all the zoo animals. Have fun :) if not that just survive and stay in the ring :)

  2. woooooo Dopie's first rated!!!!! so exciting!!!! i hope!!!!! lol ;) i kid i kid, but seriously tho sounds like some good work is happening and hopefully even with the one bad ride, all your recent lessons will have time to sink in during the drama-free trail ride!

  3. Hopefully the old adage "bad school, good show" holds true for you. And also hope he loads easily!
    Good luck, and have FUN!

  4. Good luck!! And yikes, that is early.

  5. Hmm, there's some good lesson tidbits there I think I want to steal. In the meantime though, Opie. Listen bro. Get in the box, okay. Get in the box and nobody has to get hurt... Or not get cookies. 😉 Good luck!

  6. I feel like "survive" horse shows is a really good goal for baby horses. Just sayin'


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