Thursday, March 30, 2017

how now brown cow

Since I had so much success with my mini jump school on Tuesday and had to deal with another bout of assholeness while attempting a flat school yesterday, I asked BM for a dressage lesson this morning instead of one over fences.

Usually I only switch out when I hit a training road block--like when our shoulder-in was going to shit which she got us back on track with in one ride--but this hasn't been a specific issue so much of, "Please, Bobby Whisperer BM, fucking help me keep this horse's brain in his head so I don't throw away my entire show season because he won't stay in the ring."

BM was, of course, accommodating. I mean, jump lessons are basically her yelling at me on the flat and the jump just kind of happens to be a momentary pause before she's back at it again. Equitation on fleek. Everything else not so much.

tried to take advantage of having my camera with me
to capture the cool early morning light. sadly there's this
brown cow in the way...

I did a ten minute stretchy w/t warm up on my own to get Bobby moving and then we started. Right away BM had me doing an exercise a lot like what Karen described the other day. She had me bending/tipping him in and as soon as he loosened and gave, I let him go and made sure he was still forward. Counter bend, release, go forward. She told me to think of it as sliding his back muscles back and forth to loosen them up and get him to soften and relax.

Bobby is such a fucking tense horse. He doesn't always use it for evil--a lot of the tension is that he wants to always be one step ahead of you, he always wants to get it right. When you're on the same page as him it's flawless. Telling him no, wait, that wasn't what I was asking, is a recipe for a blow up. If you can redirect quickly enough you can usually slide by, but sometimes he just locks onto things and won't let them go. He's a sensitive dude, but he also relishes a good fight so it's a fine line of coddling him and actually making him do the thing you want to do.

could have been an awesomely lit picture of you, bobby, but nooo.

Once he was loosened up at the walk we moved on to a slow trot doing the same thing. It was a lot of work. I had to keep him slow, but collected and moving over his hocks. Long and low, but not on his forehand. Relax and, oh yeah, don't forget to keep bending both ways. BM kept calling out to go lower and lower while I was like, "LOLZ, BM, this is the lowest Bobby has ever gone, WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN AND MAKE US DO REAL HORSE WORK MY FLABBY USELESS ABS HURT."

After a walk break, we moved on to the canter where Bobby has been blowing his shit for whatever Bobby reasons.

JK, we planned on moving to the canter, but first I had to get Bobby's back loose again without him parading around like a fucking llama. This is where my frustration really came out and BM had to earn her therapist salary a little bit.

other pone had a sweat wrap on for a hock wound. he's fine, it just
looks dramatic. 

I understand the concept of pushing with my inside leg into the outside rein. BM told me to keep at that instead of instantly giving up when he went full llama the second I picked my reins up and pulling his head down. The problem is pulling his head down takes two seconds and once he goes to work he lightens up into a true contact. It's fail safe for test work. It's not the right way to do it, but BM quickly saw why I cheat when it took ten full minutes of incessant leg to hand on a loopy rein to get Bobby to drop his giant moose face.

We're like a married couple in an unhealthy relationship. We love to fucking nag and fight and play into each other's weaknesses. He needs to respect the aids, but he doesn't want to and because he gets tense and blows up when I try to demand it, I just don't. I need to ride better, but he lets me get away with so much it's easy to cheat.

still have yet to master this camera, but i take every chance
i get to play with settings. bobby kind of looks photoshopped in. 

It took an equally long amount of time both directions to get the softening up, but we eventually got it and moved on to canter.

Which was a mess.

BM removed my grabby hands crutch and things felt pretty wild and woolly. I kept tensing up with frustration that things weren't going perfectly while BM yelled at me that the problem was that I was tensing up. Type A vicious cycle lemme tell ya.

She was telling me to relax and drop my shoulders while weighting my elbows and keeping soft wrists. Individually I could do each of those things, but everything at once felt impossible. The thing I like best about BM's teachings style is that she has a hundred different ways to explain the same thing. She finally told me to imagine that my arms were side reins--steady and firm, but still elastic. For whatever reason that finally made things click into place. She put us on a spiral circle, I got all my parts in unison, and Bobby did some really good collected work.

We finished with her yelling at us to walk with purpose and pep. Bobby has a shit walk. It's flat and dragging and slow. It's never going to be a great walk, but if we can get it into a consistent 7 range I'll be happy. I pushed and kicked and squeezed and didn't let him cheat and trot and all the sudden I had this big, rangy, powerfully moving horse beneath me. Bobby's ears literally fell over sideways--I think he was as amazed as we were and there was much laughing at his expense.

batshit crazy cow dog staring down a wild, stick eating black bear to finish you off


  1. Man I got tired just reading this. But I totally related to the unhealthy marriage analogy. I'm not there with Charlie (yet haha) but Izzy and I definitely had extreme codependencies..... Love the pics tho!! Come shoot Charlie!!

  2. Aw Bobby being photogenic. Is he uncomfortable if he doesn't have a prop or his drag makeup on?

  3. Yay for instructors who are so good at coming up with a million ways of explaining the same thing because it takes at least 99,001 for me to understand what they're trying to get me to do

  4. Hah, it's amazing how hard riding truly correctly is... and how magical your horse goes when you do it.

  5. I totally feel you on the dysfunctional marriage relationship! Dino and I are the exact same way. But I love how BM always manages to get the best out of you two! I smiled imagining that walk you ended with. :)

  6. This sounds so much like my older guy! He sticks his head so far into the sky. My problem is since he took me to prelim and now is retired and is just helping me rehab my leg I tend to treat him like he's made of glass. I know I need to ask him with pressure but he acts like I'm pulling his teeth out when I do and then I feel bad, lol!


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