Lesson and Cross Country Schooling

The new trio!

I think Robbye and I may have gotten past our crappy misbehaving phase. Maybe she’s really just not a hot-weather horse?

Friday we had a lesson. I had hoped to work on my position, leg yields, the normal stuff, but…it turned into a lesson on how to deal with Robbye’s shit. Which sorta feels like a waste of a lesson, but at the same time is one of the most useful things I could learn. It also resulted in a huge epiphany:

Every time I slow down and try to relax Robbye after one of her freak-outs, I’m rewarding her for her misbehavior.

DUH!

It seems so obvious now:

Every time Rob flips out or even just misbehaves, I need to MAKE HER WORK. 

 

So that was pretty much the entirety of our lesson. Every time she bucked, bolted, stuck her head in the air, ignored a cue, anything – she got to either work harder/faster or use her brain more. This solution is actually two-fold – it punishes her and gets her mind back to work, and it also gets my mind back to work.
Saturday Robbye got the day off while I entertained house guests.
Sunday Robbye, Julie, Yogi and I headed out to Twin Towers to cross country school. Rob was being a total dick, so I encountered my first real test of whether I could enforce our new rule. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job – at one point, we turned for a fence and she bucked and bolted. Julie told us to pull up, but I collected her back and took the fence. Take that, you big fartfaced horse!
We really worked on galloping on this trip, and didn’t do a whole lot of jumping. Since she was being such a turd (even running around fences!), we made sure to work really hard for each fence – gallop before, gallop to the fence, gallop away.
Overall it wasn’t a hugely fun trip, and there wasn’t a whole lot of tangible progress, but I think this lesson is going to make a big difference.
What an incredibly unflattering photo of Robbye…wow.

Monday I kicked Rob’s butt again. Her lack of submission/obedience on the longe has been driving me nuts, so we practice longeing with lots of transitions. I was sure that Robbye knew vocal commands for walk, trot, and whoa, but…apparently she doesn’t. Either that or she just really wasn’t listening last night. It took about half an hour to get one good walk->whoa transition from her. Obviously, this is something we’re going to have to work on more, if I ever want to drive her.

Bareback!

Had another decent ride yesterday! The outdoor was wet, so I rode bareback in the indoor. I tried to focus on my position and especially steering with my legs and seat.

She refused to yield away from my right leg. I wonder if she’s sore or if she was just being a butthole? She hasn’t shown any other sign of soreness..

We ended with some awesome canter work. Her canter has improved immensely in the past two weeks, imho.

Big courses, longing

Our jumps!

We may finally have gotten our groove back!

Tuesday, Robbye and I worked on some concurrent big jumps. She definitely let me know when she was done, and I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted, but I was also asking some technical questions that I shouldn’t have. The warmup was also very low-drama, so I was very happy with the ride. I definitely think that 3ft is not going to be Robbye’s cap – she still doesn’t seem to put much energy into the fences!

Yesterday, Wednesday, we longed in side reins. Again Robbye told me when she was done, but this time it was very rudely…she spun at me and threatened to charge. WHAT A BAD GIRL! So we had to have a CTJ, and I ended up longeing much longer than I intended. Oh well, all her fault! She was significantly better at the canter on the longe, and she reacted decently to the CTJ, so overall I’m pleased with that workout as well.

Trail Ride, Lesson, and Decent Jump Ride

I just do not have the energy or desire to write about the past few rides. Ugh. I can’t wait until I get my heart back…

Friday we had a good lesson, but I’m not sure it was really helpful…in retrospect, it was more of a review than anything new. One big thing I learned is that I generally need to unfold. I fold sideways when I want to turn, I fold vertically when I want to work laterally, and I fold forwards when I want to transition upwards. I need to keep my core strong and my back straight.

So that was a nice little epiphany, and I’m anxious to get to work on it.

Saturday Julie, Yogi, Robbye and I went on a trail ride to Twin Creek. There was one great part (almost swimming in the creek, it was so deep!) and a lot of bad parts that I really don’t want to think about.

Sunday we managed to have a good ride, which was a great relief. My dad came out to visit, and we showed off a bit with our “big” jump, which was about 2’8″. We practiced taking the jump at an angle while maintaining a straight approach. Robbye didn’t think taking the fence at an angle was weird at all, so we ended up not needing to really learn anything.

Monday I took the day off. Hopefully tonight I’ll have a productive trip to the barn. Come on, heart, I need you back!

Introducing: Lizzie!

Congratulations, Kathy! I so hope she works out for you.

(Lizzie is a 2005 solid paint horse, unregistered. She’s about 15hh and very calm. She has experience in trail riding, hunter courses up to 2’6″, and even reining. She seems to be a very good girl!!)

And they all went out together the day after Lizzie arrived 🙂

Longe!

Longed in side-reins again yesterday. I think I saw some more progress at the trot. We did have a couple of fights about whether she had to canter or not, but I think we improved a bit on that front, too. Now that I know I’ve been helping her so much at the canter under saddle, I understand a lot more why she’s so uncomfortable cantering on the longe…she doesn’t have the normal support, from me!

We longed over a jump as well, which she thinks is too much fun.

Taking the day off today for a family party, then lesson tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get to jump this weekend! Man, I really want/need a trip to Twin Towers…

Not Feeling It

Robbye and I are still in our funks from last week, even after starting up our regular routine again. This post is probably going to be short. Where in the world is my positivity? Why can’t I see the little progressions all of a sudden? I hope it’s just a personal, temporary thing…maybe it’s the weather. It has been quite cool lately.

So Friday was our first day back from our four day break. It was our lesson, which I requested be indoor. We worked on a couple things:

  • Leg yielding down the wall at a 35 degree angle. I must sit straight, which was hard for me. Halting before the wall helps remind Rob what we’re doing. I must be willing to give up and take a circle if either of us gets frustrated.
  • Letting go when we canter. At both our transitions and during our actual gait, I’ve been hanging onto Rob way too much. This was fine when she needed my help to canter, but she shouldn’t need that anymore. I need to keep my arms and shoulders relax, let my hands follow her (not support her), and let her step into the canter without impeding or making the transition too complicated.
  • I CAN use my outside leg to steer. It DOES work, I just have to mean it, and actually use it.
  • I lose all leg progress when I canter, so I need to work on that.

Overall it was a decent lesson, and I thought it would be enough to kick me out of my funk…but it wasn’t.

Saturday my car was in the shop, so I was stuck at home. Sunday I rode bareback in the indoor. I tried to practice what we learned on Friday, but of course it didn’t really work that well. Monday I again thought it may have been the end of the funk – we had a great ride in the outdoor where we worked on leg yields (I think we’ve had a breakthrough here), the pole transition exercise, and our new canter strategies.

But then yesterday I had another funk ride. Kathy rode her new horse, who seems basically perfect, which made me jealous. And of course when I feel jealous of a friend that makes me even more upset (at myself). So Rob and I accomplished nothing but fighting, really. And I even wanted to jump.

Sigh.