|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?'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 looked and saw that, indeed, Carmen was attending to the outside.
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
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!