Thursday, January 12, 2017

I Work Out

If riding a rabid dragon over the actual smallest of fences counts as working out. I have to admit I'm a little bit ashamed of how much I was huffing and puffing after our forty five minute jump school. Of course that might have had something to do with riding in near-60* weather when my body has adapted to believing it's never going to get above 20* again. Don't get too excited, body. We'll be right back at it by the end of the night. #literally

hot or just insane? you decide.

I warmed up on the flat while BM adjusted the few fences that were already out. I'd let one of the college girls home for vacation hack around on Bobby for awhile yesterday (After I was on him for all of ten minutes because he gave me two flawless lead changes each way with zero sass so I got off and shoved a bunch of cookies down his, close to a dozen cookies in the space of ten seconds.), and while she liked him a lot in comparison to the horse she usually lessons on, he went like a racing llama the majority of the time. He started off our ride this morning pretty heavy and resistant, but loosened up once he realized he had to do real work.

BM started off with a "simple" exercise. Off the right lead down the long side to a ground pole, 9' to a 2' one stride, around to the other long side to a single 2'3" vertical.

Dudes, I was not excited about this start. The one stride was set up in the same place as the one where I got my concussion coupled with the ground rail which Bobby had great difficulty handling a couple weeks ago, I was having serious stomach churning flash backs.

BM told me I could trot into it the first time if I wanted to, but the theme for the day was that I was not allowed to get into my deep dressage seat and cramp Bobby's forward style. I was like, this is basically shaping up to be the worst lesson ever and I haven't even jumped anything yet.

I sort of bravely picked up the trot and came around to the one stride where I promptly sank my ass down into my seat and got carried through with much lurching at a snail's pace while BM was like, "GET OUT OF THE SADDLE DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN."

Ugh, fine. It's not that I can't come up to jumps in half or light seat, it's just that over the last year I've reverted to staying as far away from the crown of my horse's skull as possible so that it doesn't temporarily blind me again. But BM pointed out that I don't have a problem keeping my weight back and staying balanced while staying up out of the saddle. There's a time for getting in the back seat, and cantering sanely up to a 2' stadium jump is surprisingly not it.

brain melt. dude had froth in his forelock

I made a circle in canter at the end of the ring in my half seat and came around to the single vertical. When BM said add leg, I did. When she told me to idle and let him come up to it, I did. When Bobby went diving over it and raced off like a lunatic, I kicked him up and made him get off his face while BM made the vertical into a wide oxer.

We did the one stride one more time, out of canter in half seat which rode easily, and then tried the oxer. No racing this time, but he was getting in a touch close so BM set out a pair of cones, rolled the ground line out more, and told me the cones were my aim for the ideal takeoff spot. Righto, that seemed easy enough.

With the one stride dismantled, I used the whole long side to get Bobby revved up so that I could half halt and rebalance if I needed to without killing the pace. The first couple times he was still getting in a touch close, although it honestly felt perfectly acceptable to me. He was lifting his knees right up, rounding his back, and pushing off his hind end with ease.

But BM was like, no. None of this rushing to the base and catapulting over it whether it's better than a bunny hop or not. So she rolled the ground line out more and gave him V rails in hopes he'd look at them and jump from farther out.

Bobby was like, as if I give a shit about V rails. He wasn't jumping from underneath it and he wasn't under-powered by any means, but the exercise was to jump from the distance BM had given us and we weren't. So she gave us an X right off the corner of the short side and told us to go get two strides.

sweaty goat beard.

That turn was tricky as fuck especially since I was trying really hard to maintain my hovering ass when all I wanted to do was park it in the saddle and use some lovely dressage to slow waaaay down and make a collected turn. We somehow got it (after bailing out of the line the first time because we did not get it) and Bobby went jetting down the line and launched over the oxer while profanities spewed from my mouth and BM called out, "Yes! That was the perfect distance!"

That did not feel like the perfect distance. That felt like death was imminent. Why can't we just jump when we're two inches from the fence? I like that better. After slowing my heart rate down, we came back to it again with a bigger jump in to the first fence which made the two seem like a lot less ground to cover. The good part was that through all of this I didn't feel like I needed to reel backwards in fear. I kept my seat light and my body made easy work of being carried forward over the jump without getting left behind or jumping ahead.

We ditched that exercise and moved on to the next: three cross rails.

psh, so easy

I was convinced this was going to be a walk in the park. Just get a good canter and do laps around the ring, right?


Bobby was in full demon mode at this point and it took several attempts just to get him to pick up the canter without launching skyward or shooting off into the canter and then getting stuck in place. Bobby. Why. At one point he was on the left lead tracking right so I tried to ask for that fucking change and he basically just threw down a counter canter pirouette which we were all very impressed with. You know, except not.

Once we got the correct canter going, we could not get the curved line for anything. Who knew I was so utterly useless at short turns? Part of the problem was that I couldn't coordinate my aids without the safety net of my butt planted in my saddle, but the other part was the rabid foaming creature beneath me. I had to keep taking breaks to wipe the gobs of sweat off my reins and then try to scrub my gloves dry on my saddle pad so that I could attempt such things as steering and braking.

it. was. everywhere.

We finally kind of a little bit got it to the left, so we switched to the right. Then the real rabid dragon came out. BM was like, "Bobby WHY do you have to be so dramatic?" and Bobby was all, "IMMA EAT THIS MOTHER FUCKING CROSS RAIL FOR BREAKFAST DON'T BELIEVE ME JUST WATCH."

I got yanked out of the saddle like a fucking five year old a few times because he'd just straight up bolt from the second corner jump to the jump on the long side and then land like he was about to do a head stand. That ended with the e-brake getting pulled and Sir Bat Shit Crazy Pants getting his face turned into the wall to stop him.

Completely unacceptable. We walked over it both ways before trotting in and throwing down a face ripping half halt that finally went through so that we were able to calmly canter over and out.

The good was that once BM laid down the law and told me to lighten my seat, I just did it and it didn't faze me or effect me negatively at all. I didn't have any fear once we started jumping, and I actually had the wherewithal to add leg when it was needed.

The bad was that my horse was a nutter and we would in no way, shape, or form have been able to jump even the smallest course of jumps with how he was acting on the landing side of the fence. Some things to work on, but after four months of no jumping lessons (and not a whole lot of jumping period) we're not doing too badly for where we were when we left off.

kind of suspicious when you're only sweaty on your neck and face, you psycho.


  1. Oh noooooo I should not find this funny at all but I'm pretty sure I take that exact jump lesson several times a month

  2. Oh man. Bobby. So much drama! I give you many kudos for sticking with it and finishing on a good note.

  3. I tip my hat to you. The idea of jumping leaves me a quivering ball of nerves right now!

  4. Such stress sweats buddy!!! Sounds like an intense lesson but really great exercises for... Idk, identifying what needs work?? And yay for trainer's instructions actually making things better. I love when that happens lol

    1. We were trying to make both Bobby and I understand that there's more than one distance than the one squashed against the base of the fence, and then we moved on to trying to get me to learn how to ride short turns because we figured out last week I SUCK at it.

  5. Oh Bobby. Man up and leave the drama llama in the stall dude!

  6. So, I mean, you didn't have a panic attack when Bobby was being batshit insane, so that is FANTASTIC! My own heart started racing a few times reading this... I know exactly the feeling of your trainer setting some tiny jump and thinking, "This is the day I die." But you lived! YAY! Robert needs to chill the hell out, tho.

  7. I love all your new fancy pictures!
    Bobby, chill out dude.

  8. That is an impressive amount of foam. Damn.

  9. Seriously Robert. What is the plan here?! (Bobby response: I wanna do what I want.)

  10. Wait, you can do a counter-canter pirouette??? BADASS.

    1. Yeah, it was bad alright. A BAD HORSE.

  11. I see evidence of a swanky camera in your media today! Two thumbs up for awesome sauce photos, even if it's a sweaty, naughty pony ;)


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