Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rise and kind of grind

Three weeks seemed like a long time between shows when I was writing out my schedule, but hot damn. Here we are with the second block starting next Friday and it feels like no time at all.

After our last show I gave Opie two days off. He got his feet done on the third day and I gave him a light hack when he was done with that. He felt loose and forward so I called it quits early as I'm always looking for any excuse to not work on hard things. That's how champions are made, folks.

Or not.

Because then we spent some time on the longe in the front field working over cross country jumps, and suddenly it was lesson time and my horse had been ridden one whole time since the show. Opie was distracted by everything and kept returning every squeak that came from inside the barn with his own bugling. BM asked if he was always such a mess in the outdoor, and I had to admit that maybe probably he had an excuse this time. At which point BM slapped us both upside the head and put us to work.

the best at looking at everything

It was a tough lesson because it played to neither of our strengths. She wanted Opie to un-crimp his neck and poke his nose out, and she wanted me to stop fiddling with the reins and for fuck's sake straighten my rogue right wrist out. Not unreasonable requests and obviously things that really need to get done in a timely fashion, but ugh. Woe is me, riding is so hard.

In the spirit of "Show season is here, I need to actually ride my horse like a responsible competitor.", I saddled up again Saturday. I mean, I spent most of the ride playing over jumps, but I did work on some canter on the flat as well. That felt semi-responsible.

He did end up getting Sunday off as I had a lot of other grown up things to do which is just the worst, but the past two days we've been back in the grind. Yesterday he was super relaxed and focused so the whole ride was lovely. Leg yields at the walk both directions, some stretch shown at the trot (the actual comment I'm hoping we can achieve because stretching is soslow in coming), and a super relaxed canter. This morning's ride was more of the grinding variety.

The focus from the day before was nowhere to be found. Every noise from the barn set off a scream, and every movement from outside the ring had to be swiveled around to look at. There were a lot of small circles and abrupt changes of directions until I finally had an ear on me.

The canter was dreadful. He wanted to go fast, I wanted him to slow down. He thought quitting was the answer for slowing down, and when he got booted back into the canter it was off to the races again. After a few unpleasant canter-halt transitions I got my point across, but I didn't even bother touching the left lead.


Fortunately, as is always the case with Dopie, we always end on a good note. I've been working on a bigger show trot and its been fun to play with him to see how much he can offer up while holding his balance, and he really gets into his struttin'. We wrapped up with some slow jog on a long rein with a long (for him) neck.

It gets frustrating some days when he takes a huge leap forward in one area and then the next day he doesn't steer anymore, but such is the life with green horses. I'm trying to balance the whole show prep/should probably get my horse trained thing with keeping it fun and not boring myself to tears with remedial work thing. At this point I'd say I'm drifting pretty hard towards the latter. After all, you can still leg yield and work on stretching while out and about!

That's my justification and I'm sticking to it.

20 comments:

  1. gotta love that green horse roller coaster. even 18months into the game, charlie still has moments of extremely dubious steering lol.... but ya know. we work at it.

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    1. Who knew steering could be such an advanced task?

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  2. Aww it sounds like you guys are doing great! The focus will come with time. I think it's great that you trainer is focusing on stretching out his neck- I know first hand how difficult that can be with horses that prefer to curl and evade. Can't wait to see his new big trot! I'm having so much fun following your journey with him!

    <3 Kelly

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    1. BM is a stretching Nazi and I have never had a horse naturally good at it so I'm horrible at riding it. So hard!!

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  3. Babies. Too hard to think two days in a row! But it's really great that he can come around and finish strong most rides. And I think you're smart to have fun with him too. You want to both be able to have fun amidst the hard stuff.

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    1. I really shouldn't complain about him being naughty since we can always finish well, but sometimes I just want to shake him and be like, WHY ARE YOU SUCH A CHILD?! Nevermind that it's because he IS a child...

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  4. Baby horse adventures! He seems to be doing super well even if there are minor setbacks!

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    1. He's coming along super in the big picture!

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  5. Ugh young horses! Only now at 7 is mine getting reliable but that also may be because we moved to a place where it gets really hot. All your hard work will pay off in the end though!

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    1. Oh god, I don't want to imagine what Opie's going to be like when it hits 90* with 90% humidity. He may refuse to move at all.

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  6. I have a rogue right wrist too! I've thought about faking an injury and wearing a brace, just to force it straight!

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    1. I've tried that and it makes my elbow shoot out. I swear, I can't control my body parts to save my life.

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  7. It's tough, isn't it?
    Four steps forwards, ten steps back.
    He has come a long way tho, and you should be really proud. It can be hard when things don't go 100% to plan. I think a good mix of Fun Things and Srs Things will be beneficial to the both of you!

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    1. We definitely need the variety of Things or I'd go crazy from boredom!

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  8. Ebb and flow. He really seems to be one of the good ones though, and I'm sure the ebbing and flowing will become less as the positive moments outweigh all others.

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    1. He's the easiest one I've ever had, it's just been so long since I had to deal with green horse stuff it's hard to remember that sometimes!

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  9. He really is improving and learning a lot -- I think sometimes it's hard for baby horse brains to put it all together at once.

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    1. For sure. Walking and turning is advanced mathematics some days.

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  10. I will chime with the baby horse brain chorus, green horses am I right? As a side note I feel like your pink shirt looks amazing with Opie's coloring :)

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    1. I love my pink shirt so much. I was going to get navy to be conservative but then said fuck it. Pink is much better!

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