Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lay it all on me

Nothing like a little Ed Sheeran to kick off your Wednesday afternoon and another belated riding recap. This post should probably be titled more along the lines of "Blame it all on me", but ear worms, dudes.

Let's throw it all they way back to Monday's ride because Bobby had Saturday and Tuesday off, and all we did Sunday was go on an hour long trail ride with a riding buddy that moved to the barn behind me and just got a new mare.

all photos by a friend's SO--paul rehbock--who needs to teach hubby the way to be a
proper horse show picture taker. when you take pictures of your SO's friends for them,
they should all turn out like this, hubby.

I set up a couple (I, or someone, will eventually move the rest of the standards back into the ring.) of small fences in the indoor Monday to work over. I originally had grand plans of putting them up after warming up and doing all sorts of angles and what not.

What ended up happening was a very good schooling ride where good things happened, bad things happened, more bad things happened, and then I made good things happen again.

Warming up on the flat, Bobby was really heavy and resistant. I'd set up on oxer right on the rail since our arena is very narrow, and we had to keep weaving around it. Clearly the dude knew what was coming, and he wanted no part of the nonsense that is flat work.

Usually I'm guilty as charged with letting him get away with this. It's something I work on for all of one--maybe two--rides before giving up and moving on to the jumping. Monday happened to fall into the cycle of: "No. You are a capable dressage horse. Go like one."

Bobby basically gave me the finger despite repeated requests for no more llamas at this party. So I spanked him once and told him to get trotting like a respectable dressage citizen, so help me god.

the good thing about going training is that it's still within bobby's comfort zone of
him being taller than the jump itself and therefore little effort is required to clear it.

And he did just that, and it was beautiful, and we cantered over the 2'3" vertical balanced and collected. On landing, he was still balanced and collected because dressage. I asked for a flying change that he was easily able to deliver and stay collected and in balance, and we turned in to the oxer.

I waffled a little bit coming up the oxer. He got a little wiggly because I was wiggly, but I gave myself a quick mental smack, sat up and put my leg on, and we delivered another perfect jump.

I was excited to capture this fancy, so I jumped off and set up my phone to video the oxer. Cue Bobby thinking he had done such a good job that he was already done. Ergh. I got back on and the dressage was pretty much gone again. I pushed for it a bit, got some of it back, but still ended up rushing through the process. When we came back to the vertical, it wasn't quite as good and he landed in a bit of a heap.

I pushed him on anyway, counter cantering and strung out, and he compensated by flinging himself at the oxer in a mad rush that was in no way ever going to get us over. We took the whole thing down, and when I got off to set it back up, I put my phone away.

No more distractions. Or sucking.

I drilled the dressage until Bobby was back to where he really needed to be before sticking just the vertical back in. We had to repeat that multiple times until he'd settled down (How he doesn't have permanent PTSD from our years of jumping escapades, I'll never know.), but eventually everything clicked back into place for us.

not clicking in place.

With one last jump over the vertical from the left, I threw in a circle on landing to make sure he was in a good canter and tried the oxer again. He got pretty backed off, but went anyway and took the front rail down with him. I came around just to the oxer again, made sure my leg was on, grabbed a little mane to stay out of his way, and he cleared it by a good foot. It was a good approach despite the obviously slightly anxious jump itself so I called it quits from that direction.

Normally I would have quit the whole ride right there, but I'm trying to push for more during my jump schools. It's never going to be automatically easy if I don't keep trying harder to get better. That sounds stupid, but I've spent so many years settling on "okay" or "good enough". I've got the killer instinct now, remember?

Off to the right we went. Just like to the left, after establishing a really good trot, I thought about picking up the canter and did it that second before I could overthink it and cause Bobby to tense in anticipation. This worked so well, I can't emphasize it enough. Bobby flowed right through the transition without any fuss whatsoever and carried on that quality dressage frame.

The vertical was everything it needed to be except he landed on the wrong lead. Instead of asking for a change since he's not as good switching left to right, I did it through the trot. It took a full circle to get the right canter back, but the oxer came right out of stride. Again, he jumped it with a mile to spare, but no getting quick or frantic.

could he be any cuter?

This ride really showed me how much responsibility lies with me. It's my responsibility to demand the good flat work--he's not going  to give it himself. If I don't do my job of asking for it then I set him up for failure. That's on me, not him.

The journey towards being a better rider and horsewoman is really exhausting, you guys. Holy shit.


  1. That second picture is quite stellar! And I know what you mean about how hard it is, and sometimes you gotta start pushing way past whats comfortable in order to get the great. But you can do it! Bobby can do it too!

  2. I love that you owned that ride and took responsibility. Sounds like a nitty gritty good ol' school on both the flat and over fences that you both can walk away from with more education under your belts.

    And to your last sentiment...yes "holy shit!!" lol

  3. I hate that moment when you realize that your crappy ride is your own doing. No pressure, self, no pressure.

  4. I feel ya, it's definitely exhausting. I'm also guilty of accepting mediocrity from Pilgrim...and then getting frustrated when I decide to ride right for once and he doesn't immediately jump on the band wagon. Love those pictures! You guys look good in purple.

  5. ugh i'm terrible about being disciplined with the flatwork when all i really want to do is get to the jump jumps.... also isn't it just the worst when everything falls apart as soon as a camera comes out?!?

  6. Discipline is tough y'all. I struggle with crossing the gap between getting a horse mostly broke to getting it doing all the fancy things. Love all those pictures!

  7. The journey really IS exhausting. For reals.

  8. Dare I say it? Bobby has quite a pretty head in the second photo...

    ... Dear god. What is this world coming to?! ;)

  9. RIDING IS HARD. And it's hard, for me at least, to know where the point is between pushing myself past where I should be, and not pushing enough. Man. But you guys are gonna kill it at training next year!

  10. ^what said said.. riding is hard! And thats why I am still taking lessons after having ridden for over 2 decades lol

    That second picture is bad ass!


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