|jan. 2nd: looking like some sort of strange warmlood mule cross.|
2) Compete at one recognized event.
3) Get consistent 7s on trot work on dressage tests.
where Bobby continued his trend of being a complete drama queen about pretty much everything, and I resigned myself to debuting at Starter the next month. However, once we got out on course, something clicked in Bobby's brain and he decided to step up to the plate and put his Event Horse knickers on. We were one of only two pairs to finish our division, and Bobby came home with a blue in his first show of the year.
We continued our ass-kicking ways with a second at Plantation and a first and third doing Training dressage before starting off with a third in dressage at BCHP, miraculously moving to second after stadium, and fully prepared to cinch a win when I fell off at the second to last. Check off goal one! We actually weren't out of the top three all year.... that is, when we finished with a number and not a letter!
Despite some trepidation about making a fool out of myself at a recognized show, we headed back to BCHP in September and Bobby carted me around for a third place finish. Check off goal two!
We finished the season retiring on xcountry at our first Novice.
As far as goal number three, we averaged 6s and 7s, with 8s for our test at Plantation. For a horse that spiraled downhill in his dressage work this spring, I'm more pleased with his improvement than what his scores reflect. We have a lot of work to do next season with focusing in the ring. The jumping comes later, Baby Horsie. You still have to do the competitive prancing!
So what have I learned this year with Bobby?
- When he learns something, move on. For lacking the look of eagles, or at least a look that shows he has brains between his mule ears, he's actually a very smart horse. Once he understands the concept, he knows it. Period. If you drill it into him, he gets mad. If you try to repeat it and you change some little part of it--like doing his newly learned exercise in a different part of the arena--he gets very anxious. I have to believe that he's got it under his belt, and find something else to work on.
- Bobby internalizes everything. He has a breaking point and when he reaches it, he goes bonkers, but he really tries to behave himself in all situations. This doesn't just mean holding back the crazies, though. When he's excited about something, like going into stadium and he has to stand politely at the gate, you can physically feel him pumping himself up without moving a foot. He does his ready stance and ocassionally looks back and gives me the eye to let me know he thinks we should be moving now.
|"i'm standing because you told me to, but i am READYYY!!!"|
- Most importantly, Bobby has taught me to trust him. At the beginning of the year, I think we were all ready to give up on him, but as he grew up, he really gained his own inner confidence. He got to the point where all I had to do was point him in the general direction of the next jump, and he took us up to it and over it without fuss. Where I was crippled with nerves doing BN in September after my fall, I left the start box for N confident, thinking, and prepared to see what Bobby could do. Riding is such a mind game, and jumping solid obstacles can really fuck with your head. Having a horse I can trust to get us around a course safely, no matter what I do, was not something I expected out of Bobby eight months ago. I think he's going to be able to wear the packer label at BN and N next year--at least out on the xcountry course. We'll see how far we get this winter in stadium.