Thursday, May 14, 2015

Always learning

Am I ever glad I actually forced myself to get to the barn today. After our ride yesterday, the thought crossed my mind to actually never see my horse again.


Because he is an asshole and I hate him.

Yesterday we had our first New York episode of "Bobby loses his shit completely for no fucking reason and refuses to get it back because he's too busy throwing himself into walls and any inanimate object he can find." Although to be fair, we've been up here for about a month now. I guess we were overdue.

For the first time in a good long while, he actually almost dumped me. If he hadn't immediately gone from prop/fling yourself sideways to half-rear/throw your head in your rider's face, I wouldn't have been able to catch myself on his neck and instead would have gone tumbling right over his shoulder.

Thanks, Bobby. You're such a compassionate horse, always looking out for the person sitting on your back.

ricky was sure i was going to try to murder doodle in his sleep
when i walked in the paddock, so he had to go over and guard him.

Needless to say, I wasn't in much of a mood to go visit with the fucker today. But we do have a show Sunday (oh god, we're all going to die...), and I want to jump him every day between today and then. My hope is that he might actually be a little tired by the time Sunday rolls around, and we won't actually die.

Let's be honest though. The chances are high of me someone ending up curled in the fetal position by the time this is over.

Anyway, I did make it to the barn this afternoon and got my jump school in. And Bobby was actually quite alright. He didn't seem to hold a grudge from the day before--although what grudge he would have been holding, I don't know, as I certainly wasn't the one slamming my leg into the wall repeatedly. It's okay, Bobby. Who needs shin bones anyway?

I had a single 3' vertical set up on the diagonal so that I could take it off the right lead either from a short distance off the wall or a long approach. I also set up a 3' line with a flower box jump and a picket fence that could ride in a very forward 4, a settled 5, or a collected 6. Three guesses what we usually ended up getting...

My goal though was to regulate Bobby's stride between the line and get the distance I wanted. The first hundred several few times, I had no say in the matter. Bobby was just like, "Wheeeee! Best four strides of my life!" But I found that if I stuffed his ass into the first jump, he'd actually listen to me upon landing and we were able to hit both the five and the six.

From there, I worked on getting the distance to the first fence right while still having control on landing and keeping it on the approach to the second jump. Very fucking tricky, and we worked hard to get it right while breaking up the repetitions with the diagonal jump both on its own and made into a bending line with the gate a few times.

snorkeling in mud puddles.

As we were finishing up, the woman that does stalls, boards several horses there, and who has competed in hunters along with her daughter and granddaughter, stopped by the ring to watch us go. We did three jumps so-so, and she asked if I wouldn't mind if she gave me some input since I'd told her we were gearing up for our first hunter show. Obviously I was like, "Tell me ALL the things! Please, please, please!"

She told me that our canter coming into the corner and out of the corner was perfect, but as soon as we saw the fence, I drove Bobby with my seat and interrupted our rhythm. "The number one thing they're looking for is consistency in pace, so if you focus on nothing else, focus on keeping the canter the same."

Certainly not a new insight, but sometimes hearing it in a new way sticks in your head. So we came around again, I made sure to remind myself to not move a single fucking muscle in my stupid fucking body, aaaanddd.....

Bobby was golden. Not so golden on landing and needed a strong ride to not go blasting off for the four instead of the five, but the first fence was miles better than the times before.

the bird killer stalking innocent geese.

Things to chant in my head this weekend:

  • Don't move.
  • Big release no matter what.
  • Don't move.
  • Stop picking.
  • Stop pulling.
  • Stop driving.
  • Stop moving.
Things Bobby needs to chant in his head this weekend:
  • Don't be an asshole.
  •, I guess that's about it.


  1. My old trainer used to say "let the rhythm save you." Good luck! Can't wait to read the re-cap :)

  2. She gave you great advice! That's why I like to count "1-2" over and over because I know if the 1-2's get faster than my pace is no longer the same tempo.

  3. lol he really seems quite intensely locked on to those geese... strange Bobby! anyways good luck! i'm queen of subconsciously moving around or shifting my weight at the last minute and it really kinda sucks... ugh haha

  4. I'm glad someone gave you some good advice! Good luck at the show!

  5. Hunter debut woot woot! Maybe if you let him kill some geese he won't throw himself into walls??

  6. I always appreciate a goal as simple as "don't be an asshole"! I mean really, horse, how hard can that be to screw up?

    Good luck! Kill some geese or throw some salt or whatever for good juju, and when you're done you can just get that dirt off your shoulder like a bamf.

  7. Sometimes another wording does the trick! Good luck, I bet you will have fun anyways. Even though courses are the devil.

  8. Lol Bobby Bobby Bobby. Just tell Bobby Hunter is all about him so behave.

  9. Love this post! I am so glad that I am not the only one that occasionally mentally (okay and sometimes verbally) says their horse is an asshole :)

    Way to turn it around the next day, Bobby! And yay for positive, helpful input. Sometimes it really does help just hearing it put a different way, or coming from someone new.

  10. Amazing how one nugget of outside information can just make things click. Fingers crossed for you!

  11. Good luck!! Don't kill anyone! I also like to think, "Set him up, and LEAVE HIM ALONE." It's when you start messing with a good canter that things get scary, ya know!?

  12. Good luck!! Hope you will be getting some video documenting the adventure!

  13. I once overheard a trainer in the hunter warm-up say to his student, "DON'T try to ride. Don't do ANYTHING. Just. Sit. There." At first I thought, "how rude," but then I thought... you know what... he's actually on to something.

  14. And I have the opposite problem: curling into the fetal at the presentation of a fence and leaving the Archman to navigate for us both. I think I'd rather have yours!

  15. Haha, I used to have the "DON'T MOVE DON'T MOVE DON'T MOVE" mantra in my head for XC on Cash. It mostly worked, especially when I used the rhythm for striding. 1-2, 1-2, 1-2...

    Good luck!

  16. Good luck!!!! Btw, I totally forgot he was a bird killer!!! One time at Coby he took off in the indoor with me striking and hopping trying to kill all the pigeons....... him and Max could have had that barn rid of vermin!

  17. I like it! And yes, always stay the same is a good plan for the hunters, haha

  18. Gotta love people who are willing to give feedback in a respectful way :) You guys are going to rock at your show! I give you so much credit for getting out there on a greenie even if it won't be perfect. I haven't even convinced myself to do that yet.


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