After getting adjusted by the chiro, Bobby had one flat ride where we could turn right again, a day off due to the weather, and then we played in the snow before he got a week off while I was away at my mom's.
|my dressage saddle is about to be for sale if anyone wants a perfectly nice tekna|
that no longer fits this beefer.
Thursday was my first ride back, and the second we walked away from the mounting block I had to go to work. Bobby was crooked as fuck--or AF, as you hipsters say--and I started the bending battle. Bobby's finally getting better about being supple and bendy, but he does it at the expense of going forward. We spend a lot of time at the walk during our rides discussing how it is actually possible to do both at once.
I forced myself to stay conscious about pushing my hands forward to allow his neck to follow them out or he gets all crimped at the base of his neck. Forward hands, forward march, inside leg to outside rein, and we were finally ready to move on to the trot.
|forward trot, too, sluggish mcsluggerson|
We alternated between circling half the ring to using the entire long side, having to focus really hard on not letting him hang off my inside rein--especially if the inside rein was my left rein which is Bobby's favorite rein evar. He'd get frustrated with me about forcing this issue, and he'd get even more upset when I'd still expect him to carry on bending around my inside leg when there was no rein there to dump his giant head into. We had to come back to the walk a few times to reset, but once he got it at the trot he was a gem in the canter.
I really want to get his canter jumpier, longer, and bigger this year. We were appropriately marked down for a shitty dull canter in several of our tests this year. So many people throughout the years--both pros and casual observers--have remarked how much they love Bobby's canter, but I'm almost glad judges weren't impressed with it. I think it's a shit canter and I don't like riding it.
However, as he's getting stronger and real collection is becoming a thing, it's starting to get that elusive bounce per ounce. I'm also able to manipulate it a little more. Lengthening his stride instead of just running is a real thing now, and he's quite a bit lighter than he's ever been in the past. As per usual, this horse finds counter canter very easy, so I let him take a "break" between directions and do several laps and some serpentines to break up the monotony.
The lateral work is...coming back. He was out in his withers and lower back which made him very angry and rabid about doing any work to the right before getting adjusted, but was also strangely pretty fucked up in his left shoulder this time around, too. He's pretty okay with everything to the left, and he's starting to realize that it doesn't hurt to do things to the right anymore. It's a work in progress, and a lot of times I struggle with what's physically plaguing him and what's just in his princess brain.
On Friday, I had Hubby meet me at the barn after I was done with chores to get some jumping video. Bobby was a dragon to warm up, but he was actually surprisingly sane to jump. He maybe wasn't entirely sane picking up the canter in the first place, but once pointed in the right direction, he kept a lid on it.
We warmed up with the singles first. A blue vertical on the diagonal, a gate off an angle, and the oxer on the rail.
We took a little bit of a Hail Mary to the oxer, but I saw the distance from a few strides out and went for it, and instead of trying to jam five extra strides into the base, Bobby actually listened and went for it with me. He's a big horse, and clearing 3' from a little farther out wasn't exactly a real effort for him.
From there we moved right into the triple combination. Maybe not the best idea, but I set it at an inviting two to two with small fences. Bobby could. not. do. it. He did two and a half to one and a half the first time, and then two to kind of two the second time while nearly falling onto his face when landing off the last jump because he'd fallen so far onto his forehand. I had Hubby scrap the middle fence and put the final fence down to poles while we worked through a progression from that to two cross rails.
I tried to go big with three cross rails, but no. Bobby suddenly couldn't function over the ground pole in front of the first fence and basically lurched through the line several times before I quit and told BM she was probably going to get a Bobby ride for a holiday present. Someone needs a little related distance tune-up, and I don't want to fuck with my confidence by having to get ugly to do it myself.
Instead we finished up with a little more trotting, playing around with pushing his stride open and bringing it back. Even that was a little Bobby-like when I turned him loose down the long side and he got to winging his front end out so far that he his back end couldn't keep up and he almost fell down, got upset, and then sat on the wall in protest. Oh, Bobby. Never a dull moment.
|NEEDS MOAR UPHILL ALL THE TIME, GIANT LONG MOOSE HORSE|