Oh my fuck, it is so fucking hot.
I had a really intense learning ride on Saturday that I was really excited to share. And then I got home and just...hot. Bobby had Sunday off because hot, and then I snuck in another good ride this morning even though hot.
|how hot? eyebrow sweat hot.|
But I'll try to remember the highlights for my own use because warning: we did a lot of walking and not too much else.
I got to the barn in the early evening Saturday which meant that everyone was slowly wandering out to go home, and we ended up with the place to ourselves. I've really liked being back at a place with activity going on, but it was nice to have a quiet solo ride, too. I was able to focus on mechanics without any of the "pressure" (that's fake pressure, and I just make it up myself because that's how neurotic people roll) of making my horse look fancy right away for onlookers.
That's not Bobby's style anyway. Ever since he was diagnosed with Lyme, he comes out a bit creaky even on a good day, and he really needs that extra time to kind of giraffe around a little bit and just get his joints moving.
|spying on ponies.|
As it was, we never moved too far out of the warm up stage. Every time I think Bobby's starting to regain most of his strength back, all I have to do is a real dressage school and he shows me that he's still weak behind.
He is getting stronger, for sure, but it says a lot when my main focus over the weekend was getting my horse to trot a giant circle to the right without his hind end losing control and swinging around all over the place while his shoulders dropped out from underneath me and he sneakily pulled the reins out of my hands as he dove onto the forehand while losing rhythm and racing off in the most unbalanced trot of his life.
What worked best fore regaining some control besides constant half halting to maintain some rhythm was counter bending the short side of the ring to shift his weight over. That helped keep him upright, and then I'd let him go straight on a true bend for a few strides before back to the counter bend as we made the turn.
I had to keep reminding myself that this is one hundred percent a strength issue, and I couldn't get ahead of myself. It's all about basics right now as he rebuilds those butt muscles.
After a million and one walk, back, walk, halt, walk, halt, back, walk, trot, walk, walk, walk, trot, walk transitions, Bobby finally really stepped under himself and marched off straight as a rod in a walk that reminded me of Allison's breakthrough. We did one whole lap without falling over and I jumped off and gave him much love.
|dressage is exhausting|
First thing this morning, when it was only 8am and already close to 80* with probably ten thousand percent humidity, we shared the ring with two other riders for another flat school. Unlike at a lot of barns I've been at--and literally every horse show--BM has assured me multiple times that her riders are pros at navigating hunter show warm ups, and there is no possible way I can get in their way.
This translated to none of us having to call out where we were going once because we all knew to pass left shoulder to left shoulder, and who got to stick to the rail, and when to circle without cutting someone off, and all those magical things.
I was, however, not quite as focused this time around, and Bobby was pretty much melting in the humidity, so our warm up wasn't quite as strong as the other day's. I was able to get his walk right where I wanted it, but he was just....flat at the trot, so I threw in a little canter to get him looking alive.
Because he was so connected at the walk, his canter was actually really, really good. Feeling him sit down and cruise inspired me to go ahead and let him play with his changes quickly. His right to left changes are usually flawless--sometimes I have to look down to see if he's even done them because he's so quiet.
His left to right change isn't quite as good. He's usually a step late behind, and he flings himself into them more often than not. Today though, he jumped (like, literally) right over super clean and correct even if it was a little exuberant.
That woke him up and we were able to finish with some perfectly acceptable trot work to the right for where we are now.
|buttercup head cools out on the trails.|
After a long shower, Bobby got stuffed in front of his fan to be fawned over by camp kids who think he is the greatest horse in the entire barn. I'm not sure why this is, but Bobby is perfectly okay with accepting all their cookies while having to do exactly nothing to earn them.