Journal: Vacation Mode

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My last journal was about my successful hunter show (still so excited for that!). The week after the show, I was in full honeymoon/vacation mode – we were leaving a week after the show, and I found it very difficult to maintain an semblance of motivation.

So Sunday Rob got a rest, then Monday we had a wonderful bareback ride in the rain. The ride was an incredible bit of sensory overload – warm Robbye, cool rain, and a nice double rainbow for the eyes.

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Tuesday we had a short dressage ride; my mom and brother came to watch, and I really wanted to show my mom the progress the two of us have made. She did seem impressed! Then, Mom and Connor cooled her out. I just love that I can put non-riders or out-of-shape-riders on Rob and trust that she’ll take care of them.

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Two more days of lazy no-rides, then Friday we had a GREAT longe with lots of transitions, and particular emphasis on the downwards. She was awesome. I was very pleased.

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Saturday I tried to replicate that work under saddle. I shortened my reins a tad and focused on working through my core, and Robbye really stepped up to the plate. Longing really does a lot for Rob – both mentally and physically.

Sunday I flew through my barn chores and then it was time for THE HONEYMOON. Which was amazing. I’m still planning on documenting it here, for my own sake.

The next Monday was my first day back home, and of course I didn’t feel like riding. I was in vacation mode, still! So I spent a day grooming – buzzing her roach down, clipping her face, giving her a good curry. She was in a horrible mood – I should have seen the next few days coming…

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Playing with her head just to show off her nice haircut. How sweet!

Tuesday was our first ride back. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was bad. There was a lot of random stopping, kicking, protesting, and general brattiness. Her upward transitions were absolutely nonexistent. It was like she had regresssed a year in the week she had off. This is the TRUE vacation mode, right here!

We did end with some good work, and the next day I tried riding bareback in an effort to create less of a “work” environment. I thought a more relaxed ensemble would inspire some more compliant work. Unfortunately, Rob was still in vacation mode and, riding bareback, I was left with fewer tools to fight with.

At this point I was mad. I had just spent a week having so much fun, and here I am, not excited to be back, having to fight to enjoy my hobby. Those rides were not fun, and she was being a bitch on the ground, too. Time for a intervention.

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So…back to the longe! The longe is such a safe place for us. It’s a perfect way for me to instill dominance, forward, attentiveness, and roundness all at the same time. Robbye also seems to appreciate the structure – I think it’s an activity she genuinely enjoys.

I completely kicked her ass on the longe. FORWARD TRANSITION FORWARD ROUND FORWARD PROMPT-WHOA FORWARD TRANSITION TRANSITION TRANSITION FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD.

And she was great! Willing to work and trying very hard to please. We got a good workout, and I honestly felt like our relationship immediately improved.

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Mom and Rob!

She and I just really can’t like each other unless I kick her butt every once in a while.

So that was a great workout, and a great exercise for our relationship (and my sanity). Friday we did the same thing but shorter, then she got two days off to think about her life.

Monday, it was time to get back to riding. So I longed her as usual, but with her saddle on instead of her surcingle. Then, I got on her, changing nothing else. Julie longed us, providing a little motivation with the whip when necessary.

It was good. She wasn’t as forward or as prompt as I would have liked, but there was no kicking, no bucking, no brattiness. She was submissive and fairly forward, so I was happy with our progress.

Tuesday, our trainer, Kim longed us. Now that was an experience. It’ll get its own post!

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5 thoughts on “Journal: Vacation Mode

  1. sounds like lots of good riding (even with a little bit of butt-kicking). will be super curious to hear about the longe lesson – i’ve never done one before!

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  2. Yup. Periodic ass kickings are an integral part of my program. If I let my guard down, then things happen like “not getting in a trailer for two hours because f*** you”. Glad you’ve got a handle on it!

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