Tuesday, October 23, 2012


oh, spyder. you have no shame.
Continuing yesterday's saga....

I left a note on the board to have BM put his sheet on when he went out since I thought it was supposed to get down to 40* at night, but driving home I heard it was barely going to drop to 50*. Even half naked, I knew he'd be too warm dressed up, so I was like, "No bigs. I'll just call her and tell her not to worry about it. Oh, wait. My phone's still at the barn--half an hour away."

I grabbed a bagel to go and headed back out. Since I was there (again), I decided I might as well ride. We headed to the outdoor for a jump school. The footing was still a little deep so I had to push him forward in warm up. However, once we started going over the little 2' - 2'3 jumps, he was completely ignoring me.

Coming into the oxer (2'3 back rail) to xrail (2' maybe) line, he got quick to the oxer and then blew through to the X. I don't even know how to describe it--it wasn't just rude, it was bordering on bolting. I couldn't get him to acknowledge the elevator bit until he'd made it over the X. He was so locked on, having his face ripped off was of no concern. After two times through where I couldn't get him slowed, I pulled the e-brake and spun him around so he was facing the oxer again.

I gave him a big pat and told him good boy because this is a horse whose confidence is easily shaken blown to smithereens. He immediately relaxed and looked back at me like, "Phew. This isn't a punishment. This is just a new game your crazy ass is trying to get me to understand." The next time through, he still rushed a bit, but I didn't feel like it was out of control.

And then we tried a different line and he did the exact same thing, jumping over the second jump sideways because I was trying to crank his head around to stop him, but I couldn't get him pulled off the fence. We practiced the "WHOA RIGHT NOW!" pulley rein a couple of times, then tried the line again. Jump, land, explode for next fence, PARK YOUR ASS RIGHT HERE!

Needless to say, this was turning into neither a fun nor particularly safe ride so I let him walk around a bit for a brain break while I assessed.

Pain? Maybe. His hip was definitely out of whack. Going back trying to find something that could have set that off, I remembered that a hind leg had slid out when we'd gone xcountry schooling very briefly awhile ago. I'm 99% sure that was the cause for the counter cantering and general yuck work for the following two weeks. The past half a dozen rides he hasn't offered an awkward step. He very well could have strained a muscle in his bum which has since become more comfortable. Yesterday he wasn't showing me any signs of "Ow." It's a matter of knowing your horse, and I don't think this was an "Ouch, this is painful jumping. My reaction to the pain is going to be bolting." That was Red's MO; Bobby's is to quit working. He would have been swapping leads and sucking back. He did neither.

Maybe he's just disrespecting the jumps. Well, clearly he's disrespecting the jumps. Maybe if I raise the jumps, he'll show them a little more caution. This was hard for me to consider because the last thing I wanted to do was point a barely stoppable horse at an even bigger jump. But I knocked everything up to 3' and picked up the canter again.

Came in, added some leg around the turn because I felt him lose a little steam, kept my leg on coming to jump, and..... we had a very polite, very forward, very nice jump over a 3' vertical. Came around again and got the same result. Added in a 3' to 3' line, leglegleg through the turn so he doesn't have a reason to speed up on his own and get unbalanced, polite jump in, big shoulders back half halt and a "WHOA" without taking my legs off and polite jump out.

I guess this is why they call it training rides? To train the idiot rider to figure it out? Why is Bobby jumping 2' jumps? Um, no reason. No reason at all. Nothing under 2'6 from now. There's no reason for it. 2' jumps are an excuse to call upon your inner racehorse and see how fast you can gallop over them since they're clearly not big enough to actually jump. Sometimes I forget Bobby's a young OTTB with a year and a half worth of training by only me and lots of useless breaks in between. He's not going to go around any and all jumps like a hunter.

headed up with silver.
This is going to be a long week. I can't wait for this show to be over so I can give Bobby some serious time off and let both of us recoup from a looong year. One last push!

1 comment:

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