Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Already Written

Dopes has been back in "work" since this weekend. Technically he never really left work (except for his heat vacation while he threw himself about in melting tantrums because Nature), but I think we can all agree that prancing about over jumps didn't feel much like real work.

mother fucking zoomies time, on the lookout for jumpies

Instead he's been sent back to earning his show horse keep in the dredges of dressage land. This has been going both exceedingly well and simultaneously quite fucking poorly.

It's funny though, because there have been a handful of posts over the past week-ish where I was like, "Wow. Who needs your own blog when you have so many other people writing all the shit you want to say!"

So I bring to you #dopiedoesdressage (conceptualized by Tracy--I don't even have to come up with my own damn hashtags anymore!), as written by other bloggers.

Teresa wrote a clinic recap, and one part really stood out to me:
I brought Carmen up to the corner closest to the piles of wood and trees and began to work on the ground work exercises. She was doing (in my mind) really well with them. Nikki came up and watched for a bit and then said- 'she's not really focused on you though is she?' 
I looked and saw that, indeed, Carmen was attending to the outside.
With the big arena doors open, the front of the ring looks out over the parking lot and into the front of Opie's paddock. You know, the one where his pony soul mate resides with him. He's gotten much better since I've had him about not taking every opportunity to scream his fool head off, but he still keeps an eagle eye on the fenceline every time we pass the doors.

I feel like he's doing the work, but ever since reading that post I've been super aware of how much he might be going through the motions, but he's not actually with me. It's made me really make sure to do something either in one of those corners or as we're passing--shoulder in, haunches in, maybe a quick trot-halt-trot transition.

Your life revolves around me when I'm in the saddle, bro. Not around Apollo.

the view from the ring. this was about 15 seconds after i turned
him out in the morning and he couldn't believe i was sacrificing
him to the great outdoors yet again. 

Then Emma posted about how the horse has a job and needs to do the job, and while of course we always try to be fair and kind, sometimes the horse needs to have the rules more clearly laid out in front of them and made to do the fucking job. Even if they don't wanna.

Opie is the quietest laziest horse I've ever had, and I've spent so much of my riding career managing tense horses and not pushing for fear of dramadramadrama, that it's verrrry easy for me to fall into the trap of letting him get away with the bare minimum--and even that feels like slave labor to Opie sometimes. 

Emma's post and the mindset it put me in tied in closely with Catherine's clinic post about how the horse needs to be responsible for carrying the forward on their own. So that's been getting tied into the last few rides as well. Focus on me, not on the great outdoors. When I say move off my leg, I need you to go. And when you do go, I don't want to have to kick you every other stride to make you keep going.

how opie feels about that nonsense

Those are more generalized ideas and concepts that I'm working on implementing right now, but more specifically I really need to get his canter up to par. Almost every single test I've gotten a comment somewhere about his tense back in the canter--usually combined with getting somewhat above the bit in the depart or an abrupt downward transition into the trot.

The canter in general has always been Opie's weakest gait. He doesn't particularly want to do it, and while I can now cue him into it like a normal horse and he steps right into it (unless he's being a lazy, distracted cow staring out at the field), it takes a lot to keep it going without legs and body parts flying every which way. I've made myself stop trying to micromanage and override it so much and ride it like it's already this beautiful, developed canter which has helped in some aspects.

But from Kelly's post:
When I ask Rio to shorten his stride and carry his step a bit more, he sometimes breaks to the trot. He KNOWS that isn’t want I want, it’s just easier. Knowing this, I often accept a flatter/longer canter, because I am scared that if I ask for too much, he’ll break.
I'm still oh so guilty of doing the same thing. This morning I really made myself ask for more and not accept the multiple attempts at quitting. And you know what? What a great fucking canter! The up and down transitions out of it are still a work in progress, but I've reread Nicole's transitions post multiple times now and I'm going to make Opie read it through me multiple times until we get them better.

being held responsible for your body is hard work

Each ride has topped out at maybe twenty minutes. I don't want to drill him, and while he'll certainly offer to quit at the first chance he gets, when I tell him he needs to try harder, he'll try harder. He's not getting upset or frustrated and that's very much how I want to keep it. Our next show is this Saturday--a schooling show--and then the next weekend is a two day rated show which I'd really like to improve those canter scores for.

will absolutely work harder for extra cookies

Next week he's got a got a massage scheduled and the saddle fitter is coming out to make sure everything looks right as we dive into part two of show mania. But maybe I won't have to write my own posts about that either since everyone does such a good job of blogging all on their own!

20 comments:

  1. I did come up with a pretty awesome fucking hashtag tho, AMIRITE?! #GoTracy

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    1. Your really need to start a hashtag marketing business.

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  2. All really great takeaways which definitely highlight the beauty of reading blogs - learning from others!

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    1. Proof there can be good in the blog world. ;)

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  3. Lol yeah other people are so much more eloquent than I am! I know I do a poor job explaining my thoughts. But, aside from having a place to store my photos and track my rides, the blog is a good way to continue practicing my writing. :)

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    1. It's so good to be able to look back on your own experiences too!

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  4. Ahh love this post! I feel the exact same way- sometimes I don't know what to write because it seems like everyone else in the blogosphere is having the same issues. Sometimes reading other people's blog feels like a mini clinic for me, it's the best!

    Sounds like you have some really great and very clear goals to keep working towards, and I think that makes all the difference between improving and just getting by. Good luck at the show!

    Now I'm off to go read a few of those blogs you linked to that I haven't gotten to you!

    <3 Kelly @ HunkyHano

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    1. This is why I love reading people's riding recaps so much even though I know a lot of people feel like they're kind of boring to write. There's really something to be pulled from every one of them!

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  5. I'm glad that you found my post helpful! i get so much info from reading others and thinking about how it may apply to me.

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    1. I love reading about how you work through her distractions because while Opie isn't a spooky horse, he's sooo unfocused most of the time.

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  6. ugh horse back riding is so hard. actually, apparently according to charlie, just plain old HORSING is really fucking hard sometimes too. sigh.

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  7. Oh man, I've been feeling like other people are feeling my feels lately too!

    Megan helped a lot with the transitions recently too. She helped me conceptualize the correct moment for the transition, and then was like "oh hey look, when your horse is properly forward it looks like the transitions aren't really a problem..." and I was like "fucking damn and bother fuck".

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    1. Ugh but why is forward always the answer and such an easy answer BUT STILL SO HARD.

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  8. his purple is on point :) Love his side eye. I look forward to more "ADVENTURES WITH OPIE" OMG and yes there is such an education in all these blogs. Love it :) More cookies for Opie thanks :)

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    1. He was giving BM some serious side eye yesterday when she dared to walk past him without cookies and she was like, "Opie, don't your eyes get tired from giving side eye all the time?!" LOL poor kid. He can't help himself.

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  9. I've never succeeded in having more than like 30% of Jamp's attention on me at any given time. I always blamed it on him being a stallion, but once I gelded him I think it got worse.
    It's so great to read everyone's posts about what they're working on with their horses, because it really is so helpful. It's also funny to think about all these horses all over the country all using the same evasion techniques. Horses: they're all the same! (sort of.)

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    1. Blogs: Proving that horses are universally naughty! ;)

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  10. That's why I enjoy reading others' blogs- others have the same issues I do also! Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one. Great post!

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    1. Sometimes I'll read a post and be like, I didn't know anyone else on the planet had this problem lol.

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