Fortunately, due to my hyper obsessive Type A personality and #childgenius, coming up on two weeks later I'm feeling much better about things. A hodge podge mix of cheap supplements slapped one on top of another seems to have settled Dopie completely back in his skin. The change in his general attitude towards life is amazing. When I left the barn yesterday he was at the top of the field eating hay by himself while his two
|we had a few days in there where he was too anxious to|
even take candy. that is just not okay.
On to the riding!
|bobby's regular trot while being an event horse. probably not a fair comparison.|
I climbed back aboard Opie Monday to see what I was really working with. Were they in there and I jut wasn't asking for enough? Turns out, no.
It seems there's this strange phenomena where every horse is different, and the strength of one might not be present in another. Does Opie have a natural lengthening? Nope. Did Bobby have anything else going for him? Not really. Does Opie? Well...pretty much everything else.
My mantra for the trot lengthening has become, "That's good...for you!" I might be crossing my fingers to score a 6 every time on these, but that's going to be good enough for now.
|opie trying his utmost to make his trot bigger.|
I haven't abandoned them completely though. After that initial fact finding ride, we took to the longe for most of the rest of the week. I'm most comfortable tackling problems from the ground, an approach Opie was happy to get on board with. By the end, he basically understood the entire English language and responded immediately. (Okay, he understood the difference between "big trot" and "whoa trot". #babelhorse)
My goal was to see from the ground what I was working with, but mostly to let Opie figure out his body's balance without any interference from me. You can push bigger and open up without me clonking about on your back, little horse! He did try, and he did get a bit better to the point where when I got back in the saddle there was more of a difference than before. He didn't suddenly go from a (fingers crossed) 6 to an 8, but there was more push and bounce, and most importantly he stayed soft and relaxed the whole time. That's a good starting off point win for me.
|we seem to do a lot more snacking than training.|
Aside from his mix of feed-through happiness, for the second year in a row he came back from the first show of the year feeling worldly. He's so funny. There's a palpable change in his attitude where he's like, "Yo, bitches. I'm a show horse. Never mind that I sat down like a complete fool in a gravel parking lot for no reason. I did show horse things." He's come out to work full of confidence and focus. He gets right to business and when he gets something right, it's all, "Candy now, mother. That was a worldly show horse workout. I'm amazing."
Along with the trot lengthening, we've been working towards such exciting things as better self carriage, better hand carriage (UGH), and forward forward forward.
I've been pulling a lot from 2-3. We're not going to be showing that test this year, but there's a ton of good movements to work through regardless. On Tuesday he did his very first full counter canter serpentine. The first time I was hanging off the side of him riding like a drunk cowboy to make sure he held the lead, but he did it so easily I thought that maybe I could just ride like a normal person and still get it. Unsurprisingly that worked just as well. He got all the worldly horse praise for that and I jumped right off for extra candies.
|"i exist. for that i deserve candy."|
10/10 works every time.
He still has some normal horse derp moments of course. He tried his "I'm going to break, ope you gave me leg, better bolt instead!" tactic in the canter yesterday, but I immediately shut that down and that was the end of it. Much improved from last year where he'd try that multiple times and then get mad when I kept telling him to not do it.
He's also off and on with the sitting trot. Some days it's glorious and relaxed and flowing and I can ask for anything out of it. Other days it's tight and I quit on it pretty quickly. Being a growing horse is hard work.
Overall I seem to be struggling a bit more this year with the whole no comparisons thing. Even if I shut out what everyone else is doing, I can still find ways to compare our progress to things I've done with other horses. I think it's because I no longer have no base line for this horse, so I've got a new set of expectations for him. But I'm getting there, and my main goal is to make sure young Dopie horse feels like he's the grand champion of the dressage world, even if he does kind of trot like a dachshund.