Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Leg Day

Bobby had a flashback, on Wednesday.

I had a rock solid game plan all worked out for leg yields. He knows these, and he's done them well in the past. "It'll just be a brush up!" I told myself. "We'll have a nice warm up, work on making sure the leg yields are correct, and have ourselves a little trail ride. Yay, dressage can be so fun and easy!"

Spoiler Alert:

This is not how things went.

i get this face a lot, mostly from the saddle when he's giving me the dirty eye.

It was bitterly cold today so Bobby got an extra long warm up on the longe line followed by an extra long warm up under saddle. By the time we got down to business, he was forward and loose, and his poor naked self was nice and toasty. Heck yeah, things are going to go awesome!

I began leg yield work at the walk to the right since that's usually his easier direction. As soon as we turned down the quarter line, Bobby was all, "SIDEWAYS! THIS MEANS SIDEWAYS!" So I had to be all, "Let's just make straight lines first. Also fun!"

Things actually went pretty well both directions at the walk. I set forth three steps that I repeated to myself out loud to make sure I was doing them:

  1. Go straight.
  2. Shoulder fore so the shoulders aren't leading.
  3. And now the hind end can join us.
He got loads of praise for being correct, and I interspersed his hard work with several laps of his dream boat trot he uncovered over the weekend.

let's revisit that trot since it's so dreamy.

I was already mentally high-fiving myself, and I was so super proud of Bobby for keeping a lid on it and working through it like a calm nine year old who's been ridden since he was eighteen months old. 

Now we can do this shit at the trot, and then we can have a little canter and be done! Back to the right, and....back to the diving across the area to get to the rail as fast as he can. 

You see, Bobby is a problem solver, and his solution to things is never wrong. He's just so much smarter than I am that it frustrates him to no end that I think I know what's best. No. Bobby knows best. I want him to go sideways to the wall? Look how fast he can accomplish that! MOVING ON.

Back to the walk we went. To the left, he had a couple of slam on the brakes and contemplate spinning moments, but he very quickly worked through it and we were able to pick it back up at the trot with the same success. Yay, Bobby! Way to be a team player!

To the right? Nope. He was having none of it. Which brings us to Flashback Wednesday: Baby Dressage Brain edition. 

I have sincerely missed the spinning, rearing, leaping, flying sideways, bashing my leg into the wall, refusing to move, periscope head, and dirty looks Baby Dressage Brain brings out. Fortunately, I got all of them today!

But back to the problem solving quickly because it made me laugh even while he was doing it and I knew it was naughty. We were about halfway down the quarter line, and I put my leg on to ask him to step over. He threw on the brakes--which was his chosen aversion tactic at this time--and began backing up diagonally. Next thing I knew, he had basically parallel parked us on the wall, complete with a very smug look back at me like, "There. I'm on the rail and I'm straight. That's what you wanted. Does it matter how we got here? NO."

After a whole lot of leaping and flailing about, I finally got the three steps over that I was after and I heaped loads of praise upon him. "Fuck," I thought. "Let's have a nice loose canter and call it a day. Bobby loves a good canter. This will chill him out."

No, it did not. It incited the worst of the spinning and backing, and I'm note entirely sure why. I guess because why not at that point, right? But to find the silver lining of the whole thing, I didn't get upset the entire time. Rides like this used to crush me. Now they just kind of annoy me. He'll get over it, and I'm confident that the next time I ask for a leg yield, he'll be much more compliant. 

anxious sweats.

note the rivulets of sweat pouring down his shoulders.

Two coolers and forty minutes later, he was happily mugging me for treats and trying to stuff the barn cat into his mouth. See? There is a grown up brain in there now!


  1. Oh Bobby indeed! The Morgan cross I'm working with will every so often decide that half pass at the canter is ABSOLUTELY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN and resorts to "pirouetting" around, which mostly involves him dropping his shoulder, ignoring any half halts whatsoever, and falling sideways. When he decides to stop we aren't moving again unless I've got a crop and can wollump him over the butt to go forward.

    His owner, being the doll she is, is prone to exclaiming "he's ready for fourth level with pirouettes like that!"

    This is a long story to say that backing diagonally to the wall is hysterical and awful and I'm super amazed that you stayed calm because my reaction tends to be profane.

  2. Sigh, silly Bobby. If you had video of him going backwards, you could have just edited it in reverse and looked awesome ;)

  3. Maybe he just decided to be very expressive about his opinion today? The good thing about the bad rides is that they make you appreciate the good (or even decent ones) all that much more. That's what I try to keep telling myself anyway.

  4. Everytime I read your blog I get Janis Joplin stuck in my head.

    "Rides like this used to crush me. Now they just kind of annoy me. He'll get over it" <---this is always something I'm having to work on! Way to go you for not sinking into the pit of despair!

    1. That's where he got his name! Only it had to be spelled MAgee for his sire which always messes up show secretaries.

  5. I'm convinced that Baby Dressage Brain is a proper condition. My horse has definitely re-contracted it after starting back into work after a vacation, but she likes to add bucking into the mix, too!

  6. Oh Bobby!
    But serious kudos for keeping your cool & positivity going forward. :-D

  7. Replies
    1. It's more mature than sulking in the corner and pretending like someone just beat you into oblivion which was one of his favorite things to do last year.

      I'm not sure the barn cat appreciated it too much though.

  8. Perhaps he was worried life was just getting too boring with him being so good lately and all. :)

  9. Bobby needs a TV so he can watch soap opera because apparently he needs drama in his life.

  10. Someone needs to illustrate you and Bobby! Comic book maybe?


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