Monday, September 23, 2019

Noncompetitive Riding, For Once

Would you guys be surprised to hear that there has been riding going on besides shows? For fuck's sake, I feel like that's all I bothered blogging about this summer. Then a horse tried to remove my toe from my foot, and I couldn't even write about that anymore!

Blogging has turned into a bit of a bummer for me this year though. I'm in a very weird head space where I enjoy interacting with with people through social media...except when I don't. I feel like I'm a very OK rider, and I am so completely happy being a very OK rider. I also feel like that's not an okay thing around these parts. I'm not into living in lessons, or scheduling every minute of my horse's life, or spending every second of my free time consuming intensive training knowledge. No judgement if that's you, but that isn't fun to me personally.

What is fun to me is riding my horse and improving him as best I can to reach my own Opie and Carly oriented goals. No one else has these goals, as similar as they might seem to your own, because no one else is us.

I was finally, finally able to finagle my poor toe into the world's most beat up sneaker which lead to me putting my stirrups back on at the end of my ride Saturday. No one else has seemed particularly impressed by this, but after being stirrup-less and in a post-op shoe for a month, I AM SO EXCITED.

thinking really hard about doing zoomies instead

It let us get back to mandated stretchy rides, cantering without getting taken off with, and our short term goal of being comfortable in a jump saddle post haste so BM and I can go cross country schooling before it snows. (Which, it was almost 90* this weekend, but I know you, NY. It could snow any day now.)

i was so happy to tell bm we jumped a jump, and then she told me her horse
was foot sore. c'mon man! fortunately he should be good to go again soon.

We were able to do some super fun, mostly pointless, yet highly rewarding things in our ride this morning. I had a sneaker, I had my stirrups, the horse was filled with candy, morale was fucking high.

We spent a long time at the walk because that's our fave. I trailered some ponies down to a hunter pace yesterday and two of my barn mates were in the truck with me. They were discussing how BM has been on their cases lately about getting the lesson horses to Walk and not trudge along in lesson horse mode, and how it was so much work. I could not relate. My horse screamed his fool head off Saturday morning, spun around in a circle, almost fell over, and got smacked upside the head for his troubles, but hot damn can he walk.

can you hear the drama? because i can.

After getting cooking into his giant, marching, back swinging me nearly out the saddle walk, we threw in a couple leg yields both ways with no fuss. Once I figured out that corralling the shoulder to keep him straight was the key to those, they've been great. Then I decided I wanted to see if he remembered the half pass. We worked on them exactly once this spring and he found them super easy.

First we had to make sure the shoulder-in was good.

It was not.

me: imma pull on you
opie: cool, imma brace against you

After seeing my media from Saturday, I knew I had to stop fucking pulling at the lateral work. He throws his head up, I pull back to compensate for the sudden slack in my reins, he tenses everything, nothing works, the end.

I started off fixing this by dropping ALL contact. Opie was like, "Cool, cool, free rein to do whatevski, here's a little llama anyway."

So then I had to go and fix that, too.

We had to agree to meet in the middle which took the length of both long sides. There was some sitting on the kick boards and plenty of head flipping, but he eventually got it. You no pull, I no pull, still do what I'm asking though, the end. I did still have to work on other stuff. Like, okay, you're soft over your topline, but stop bending your neck like a C. Shoulders being held responsible for things is definitely a weak spot for our Dopie Horse.

We finally moved on to the half pass. He is so good at these, I love him. For all that Bobby loved flinging his body sideways, and how easy he found the rest of the lateral work, the half pass never seemed great. Opie is so good, I can't. He got so many pats and scratches he finally stopped to look back at me like, "If I am A Very Good Horse, you should give me moar candies." SO I DID OBVIOUSLY.

is not shy about expressing his emotions. like how he's here expressing his
displeasure over being asked to do anything when his friends get to go outside

After hitting up a few halts where the new rule is No Llama--Ever....

the halt is not for staring at your adoring fans, sir.

...we moved on to the canter.

He stepped right into from the walk continuing his Very Good Boy streak. I feel like the up transitions to the canter are finally a reliable thing, even if the down transitions can still be a bit hurried/harried. Only took almost two years!

We frolicked around in half seat for a few laps before I decided to see the state of his flying change. Having ridden racehorses, I can pull these out of pretty much any OTTB. I wanted to see how far off from dressage pony changes his are.

They are very far, guys. They're accessible, and they're clean, but they are hands down, "I was a sprinter, see how fast I go the second I get my new lead! SO FAST!!!!!!! The flying part is my favorite part of this game!!!!!" I gave him some candy anyway because at least knowledge is there?

And really he gets candy for everything. Bribery as a means to results is my training motto. Take it or leave it me alone, folks.


  1. Excuse me can we talk about the muscle Opie has put on! Holy smokes he is SEXEH

    1. He is maaaaybe a little fat, too, but we won't mention that. :P

  2. I love him in green! He is so freaking gorgeous. Well done molding his body into such a gorgeous thing.

    1. I won those polos at a show and this was the first time I've used them. I'm not totally sure I love the color on him yet though!

  3. If you were closer to me I think we could be good friends. I’m all over the you do you but I’m going to enjoy life with my horse however that looks train.

  4. " I'm in a very weird head space where I enjoy interacting with with people through social media...except when I don't. I feel like I'm a very OK rider, and I am so completely happy being a very OK rider. I also feel like that's not an okay thing around these parts. I'm not into living in lessons, or scheduling every minute of my horse's life, or spending every second of my free time consuming intensive training knowledge." <- I can relate so, so much. It's why I just stopped blogging about horses outright.

    1. It's pretty easy to get soured by things with horse people, that is for fucking sure.

  5. your blog is my goals. you're super down to earth, you actually share your shortcomings (which is rare) but in reality you're turning out a really awesome, well rounded horse and having a good time.

    and you're sassy and you say fuck in your blog posts and I'm here for it. so please don't go becoming a pretentious lesson hoe cause I'll have to go somewhere else for my realism.

    1. Profanity laced posts forever and ever amen.

  6. I love it when morale is fucking high. I am with you. It should be fun. None of us are going to the olympics (unless it's the drama olympics, then my mare is coming home with gold). It's supposed to be fun.

    1. Opie would like to participate in the drama olympics as well. Parade one of his soul mates past him and he would probably be in the running for a medal as well.

  7. lol @ "the flying is my favorite part of this game!!" also, he looks fab. i feel like getting an ottb to second level just a year off the track kinda validates whatever your preferred method and approach to training lol

  8. Yay for a sneaker foot!!
    Also, I'm so intrigued by how you got a flying change. I think its so cool you used to exercise race horses(yes, I read every Thoroughbred book in the series as a kid)

    1. It involves zero finesse and bodily knocking them over usually with a tug on the new rein. Jockeys aren't asking for flying changes with a shift of a seat bone and their legs. Sadly now our young Dopie Horse has to learn that's a thing, and it doesn't mean run like the wind after. :P

  9. I have many thoughts on this post so I will just do some bullets:
    *I love reading about your adventures with Opie, whether they're intense workouts/shows or wading in the pond together.
    *you two look fab in green and navy
    *Opie looks fantastic, you're doing a great job with him
    *I really hope you get to go cross country schooling and I want to see lots of Opie Does Jompies pictures

  10. I'm really surprised to read your thoughts on blogging and how you perceive it - mostly because of all the bloggers I read you are the person who goes out and shows the most!

    Back on topic, opie jumps really cute and you should consider making him a hunter :P Also I'm glad you are able to fit your big ol fat toe in a boot and riding again :)

  11. Hooray for old sneakers! And for more side eye pictures. Those are the best

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