Our little secret that I have done literally nothing so far, right?
|big brown pony lusting after the mares.|
Part of me feels like I'm copping out of a training program by doing so much ground work with Robert. However, just a week in and I'm already seeing huge improvements in him. I put him on the longe last Monday (the first work after our massive fail of a jump school), and he was an absolute raging lunatic that bore no resemblance to my dopey mule.
He started off the trot charging me with his ears flat against his head, snaking his neck as he dove into the circle. He got met with a swift crack across the chest from the whip, and that was the only time he attempted such ridiculously atrocious behavior. But the fun didn't end there. He was constantly kicking out at me whenever I asked for a transition which of course coincided with not doing anything I asked him to. He cut in on the circle every chance he got and nothing I did could move him out. His grand finale was him dragging me halfway across the arena, despite me practically sitting on my butt with my heels dug into the dirt.
Needless to say, things like "Not all auction horses end up in slaughter" and "The Amish would have you broke to drive in a week" were going through my head the rest of the day.
|with bestie memphis|
However, things did get better. I've been working him in nothing but his halter and the longe line so he has no excuses to act out about any equipment. My pockets are stuffed with treats, and I've been quick to dole them out. And Bobby has remembered that he does know how to longe respectfully.
He goes out to the very end of the line and moves off into whatever gait I call out to him. His ears are now flopped over sideways instead of pinned back, and he's ready for the next command as soon as "Aaaand..." comes out of my mouth. He halts on a dime. He reverses without me having to do more than switch the line from one hand to the other. He'll canter all day long. This is the Bobby Magee of old.
When I tell you my horse hates me, he really does hate me; that was fine because I was really hating him, too. But now he's actually doing what I'm asking him to, I have a reason to reward him and be pleased with him, and Bobby loves cookies and being told he's a good pony britches.
The first time I rode him since the No Good Very Bad Jump School was this past Saturday. I hadn't even planned on riding him, but BO was giving a make up lesson when Sarah and I got there and the outdoor is still frozen, so we rode with the lesson guy. I put Bobby in the hackamore and we trotted on the buckle for twenty minutes. Lesson guy finished up and Sarah set up a single 2'6" vertical.
Me: I'm afraid to jump that. I don't want him to hate me again.
Sarah: Hmm. Valid fear. Do it anyway.
Damn peer pressure! We picked up the canter, came around off the short side, aaaand.....
He jumped it from a totally calm lope and carried on like it was no big deal.
We did it a few more times both ways with exactly the same result. He does not like jumping in a bit. The Brown Horse has spoken. So now it's up to me to not be a lazy whore and to never jump him in a bit ever again the end.
|ladies do not like men with floppy donkey ears.|
He had another long, really good longe on Sunday before getting Monday off because I couldn't get out of my driveway from the snow. Today he had a quick fifteen minute longe in the indoor followed by a romp in the cross country field. We trotted and cantered around for half an hour and finished with out customary romp up the hill where he promptly took off with me. It might have had something to do with this being the first snow we've had where it hasn't a) also been negative five hundred degrees out and b) immediately melted and turned to a massive sheet of ice. Everyone in the barn has been a little nutty from not getting their rumpus time in during turnout.
It was the first time this horse has ever legitimately run away with me. I could tell about halfway up the hill that I had zero brakes. I immediately threw my feet forward and stood way up and went to work on pulling and releasing on the hackamore in hopes that I didn't, you know, cut off his air supply in the process. It took me the entire upper half of the field to get him canter instead of gallop, and then we did another lap of canter before he would trot complete with a few leaps into the air over imaginary jumps.
He gets tomorrow off because of more snow rolling in this evening and into Wednesday, then hopefully I'll be back out Thursday and Friday.
Also, the preliminary show schedule is located to your right if anyone is interested.