Monday, March 18, 2019

Test Riding

This morning I stuffed all the jump standards into the corners of the ring, pulled up 1-3 on my phone to look at it for the first time since the new tests came out, and did our maiden run through.

Wow it was so bad!

Okay, fine, in all fairness the test itself was probably the best part of the ride. Opie was a total gem in a busy arena yesterday afternoon and I got on expecting much of the same. Instead he found the arena doors terrifying because the sun was melting the snow off the roof and it was dripping into a puddle just outside the closed doors.

Basically haunted, duh.

one never knows where serial killer water drops may lurk

As such, our warm up was a hot mess from step one. Aside from him being spooky--genuinely flinging himself sideways and snorting, not just breathing hard once as is usual for him--I was running through the test in my head to memorize it and was distracted myself.

Fortunately I clued in when we picked up the canter and it was the nastiest jarring thing alive. That seems to be a solid tell that someone is neither supple nor off his forehand so I went back to the walk, got some good work there, picked up the trot again, and had a flaming retard.

not a flaming retard, but also not from today

I ended up getting off and putting him on the longe in side reins to let him run around like a fool while I was on the phone with another boarder. A good romp both ways, a cookie shoved down his throat, and I got back on. 

He felt much better after that. I trotted him around a couple times to make sure his brain was somewhere in his head and turned up centerline to begin our test.

We have been practicing halt transitions up the whazoo lately. Walk-halt, trot-halt, halt-trot, whatevski-halt, we've done them all. So of course the first halt he stumbled over his own feet and almost ate shit. That being a patented Opie move--and one of the reasons we do so much trail riding because feet are a thing--I brushed it off and came around for another try. This time he didn't trip on air, but he did halt and instantly throw his head up.

Nah, bro.

I'm finally getting a handle on the canter transition head fling, there's no way it's going to start creeping in on any other transitions. After a brief CTJ, he suddenly remembered what staying on the bit was and off we went for the fifteenth time.


The first trot lengthening was more fast than lengthened because he was still a little tight. The leg yields and 10m circles are getting much, much better, moreso to the right than the left. Counter canter is fine as always. 15m circles are fine, lengthened canter is always good and I'm feeling like I can probably bring him back in some semblance of time and order in this test. The walk is always the star, and the final lengthening was right where I wanted it. 

And the halt was a 10.

Overall not a bad first trip. I want to run through it in its entirety a few more times this week so I can figure out where I need to dig in and clean things up. I should probably take a look at 1-1 at some point, too. 

That will have to wait another day though as Dopie got his vaccines after his ride. To make up for it he also has a massage scheduled next week, and sooner rather than later I'll have to call the worst-scheduling dentist alive. But then we'll be all set and ready for show season to begin!

he's very excited, i promise.

19 comments:

  1. He is so cute. You've done a lovely job with him, and I really appreciate you sharing your frustrations too. It's funny, my horse is a spooky, spinny fuck but his canter transitions are fantastic. When I ask him to pick up on the long lines he lifts his withers and steps into it with his outside hind.

    Now if only I could ride him... OR do the dressage test on long lines!!

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    1. We much prefer bracing against our underneck and jamming our withers over here. It's all the rage in canter transition land.

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  2. Dentist is heading our way too. H'Appy has some messed up teeth so I'm sure she will recommend braces or full on implants or some such expensive things because it is him and he loves to spend my money.

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    1. Oh gosh, for real. Hopefully he at least doesn't have extra teeth!

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  3. lol Dopie..... i mean, hey, even trying 1-3 is pretty exciting!! there was a period way back when, when i thought maybe we were ready to tackle all the first level tests.... gosh i miss those days LOL!

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    1. I figured I probably ought to give it a gander since we have to show it in just over a month. Feeling super on top of things over here!

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  4. Aw he just had the freshies to start. Spring fever and all that. Glad he finished up nicely. You guys are going to be great again this year! He's just the cutest, even if he falls down halting.

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    1. But just think how much cuter he could be if he stayed upright! :P

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  5. This is so cool to read about because it seems like just yesterday he was barely cantering like a civil horse! He's looking SO good Carly!

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  6. Sometimes they just need a good lunge to get their marbles in order.

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  7. He has such a lovely way of going. And THAT FACE. Even without his marbles and despite needing a good spazz moment on the longe, he's still a cute horse.

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    1. He very much gets away with things by being cute. This is a trap I need to stop falling for so often lol

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  8. So exciting about the upcoming season. I just ran through my Training test for the first time on my moms horse and didn’t die lol. Success. When’s the first show

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    1. Not dying is 100% what I aim for during the first few run throughs! First show is 5/4!

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  9. What a lovely stretch he has, that is my favourite thing to find in a horse. His canter looks like he will really develop in future! I can see some loft coming! OOOoooo

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    1. It took Bobby his entire life to figure out what stretching was and Opie picked it up in about the first four seconds of coming off the track. Such a nice tool to have on board!

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  10. He looks soooo good! What a silly stinker to spook at that stuff 😋. I love how you handle it though, and don't let it get to you!

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