Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hardest easy lesson

I had one of the hardest, most frustrating lessons ever last week.

I think the frustrating part was that we weren't actually doing anything hard. And yet Bobby and I could not get it.

airplane ears in full affect

Before we even started in on anything, BM honed in on tightness in Bobby's RH. She gave him a quick dig into his muscles to rub him out a little, and then sent us off at a jog to get him to loosen up.

Bobby does not jog. Bobby does not loosen up. Bobby does not relax. These are not Bobby attributes when we're in the ring. Strolling about on trails? Maybe. In tack, in an arena, with an agenda? No. Thus began an hour long mental battle for the both us.

BM put us on a circle at one end of the ring. I was to exaggerate the inside bend, even if I had to spell it out to him like a kindergartner with a wide open inside rein and over using my inside leg. If he drifted out while bending, that was fine as I then used my outside aids to push him back in while keeping a forward yet relaxed rhythm. All with my reins on the buckle so that he could stretch as low as he could go.

waiting for the resident fox to show up for pictures. the one day i bring my camera
and the stupid thing couldn't be bothered to come out.

This sounds like an easy way to run into some basic problems: losing the haunches, not getting the bend, losing the forward, etc. For Bobby, the first thing we ran into was that he wouldn't just chill the fuck out and keep diddling around on the circle at a relaxed pace. He was great at stretching, but he just wants to do everything fast: relax fast, stretch fast, everything has to be done rightawaygetitdonenow. I was more than happy to play along and half halt him every other stride to slow him down for one step before off he went again, but BM called us out on it right away.

It goes back to us nagging each other and staying on that middle ground where it's just pick, pick, pick instead of "This is how it's going to be done. I'm asking once, I'm telling the second time, end of story." Every time he lost the tempo and tried to shoot off into a big trot instead of maintaining our slow jog I halted him completely. Whoa means whoa, Bobby. That is all.

Once we sorted that out, and it took a long time, we were finally able to move back to the bending exercise. I could. not. do. it. Once again I felt like I was being overloaded with aids and I couldn't sort them out fast enough to make a difference. I finally gave up at the jog and came back to the walk so I had one less thing to focus on.

I finally got the inside bend sorted away, and then I couldn't get him pushed back over without his haunches winging out. BM told me to keep my outside leg right at the girth--in fact, since I default to bringing it back far enough to kick my horse in the stifle when asking for anything, to think of kicking him in the shoulder instead and I'd probably be at the right spot. That helped a lot and I was able to also bring my thigh into the picture and really push his shoulders around without making the hind end think it needed to be doing something large and grand as well. It also carried over into doing a super SI in our next ride.

spring is finally here!

We were able to move back to the jog and get the same results, and then BM had me do something else horrible and frustrating: picking up my reins. Kind of an integral part of riding, but something else I apparently can't do correctly. I was supposed to keep my shoulders back and down and my hands forward and independent of the rest of my body while shortening my reins.

Yeah, no. My body parts don't move independently of each other and everything wanted to lurch forward in a giant movement. At this point my ass was chafed from sitting the trot for an hour, my right ankle was completely numb and just dangling there uselessly, and my brain was fried. I've since worked on this on my own and found that if I focus on keeping my core hard and still instead of thinking of my shoulders, my middle holds everything in place while my hands get to go about their business on their own.

taking bobby's picture from across a giant field is the key to making him look attractive

In summation, our lesson was this: slow down, relax, bend.


BM is pushing us hard without actually taxing us Bobby physically. My brain feels like goo after each lesson, but once I chill out and have time to process, there are about ten million new things I have under my belt to work on which is a really, really good thing. I'm hoping to get some help with the canter tomorrow as the right lead has gotten...interesting.


  1. You know it's a good lesson when your brain feels like goo after haha!

  2. hmmmmm. this sounds an awful lot like my ride on charles last evening. does that mean charles is at bobby's level now?!? schooled to 2nd and working on 3rd???? YAS. (that's how it works, right?)

  3. Hmm, I wonder if he was just too stiff to stretch and relax? That would make everything much much harder

    1. He was stretching great, it was the whole relaxation thing that wasn't, ever. ;)

  4. Brain goo lessons are the best! Tough in the moment but I always end up with so much more to work on after

    1. For sure! As long as my brain isn't goo for other reasons and I can't remember a single thing I've learned ever lol

  5. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest. Straight is SUPER IMPOSSIBLY HARD right now. Adding in bend just makes my head explode. It's ridiculous and I end up feeling like I can't ride, but that's how progress works, right? ... RIGHT???

  6. The simplest things are sometimes the most frustrating to put into practice lol!

  7. We always fall apart at first when we go back to "basics" like this but it's necessary. Especially for horses who have names that begin with the letter... B 😂

  8. Ugh. Why are trainers so insistent on doing thing the right way? Sheesh.

  9. Ugh that always happens to me that my brain just gets fried and I CANT RIDE.


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