In a – we probably won’t win but also probably won’t make complete fools of our selves – way. At least Trainer AB thinks so after my lesson last night which was full of baubles and bucks and horrified faces along with some great moments as well.
Eeyore was in a fine mood which actually surprised me a bit since he generally gets Mondays off after being ridden at least two of the three weekend days (I count Friday because why not?). Life has happened and now apparently Trainer AB is at the local to me barn on Monday instead of Wednesday which is meh for me, but I will make it work. Anyway…things started off ok but very quickly degraded.
You see, Frat Boy likes him some company when he works. Maybe its the distraction is provides or maybe misery loves company, either way he was pretty thrilled and high on life when we entered the ring to warm up while the previous lesson was cooling down. He was none to happy to watch them exit the arena through the open gate and decided to show his displeasure by bucking and throwing a temper tantrum when I wouldn’t let him leave too.
This became a thing for the majority of the lesson too. Each time we would come by the gate, Sir Head Up His Butt would attempt to exit stage left and when I didn’t let him he would throw down a temper tantrum. While I could get pissy about this, instead I just pulled his head up from between his knees, dug my heels into his sides and rode him on. I don’t know but something happened out on that xc course and he no longer scares me with his stupidity.
Trainer AB was extremely happy to see this and commented that not that long ago behavior like that would have resulted in her getting the ride. I was pleased with myself even if over his attitude.
She wanted to work on “dressage stuff” as she put it with the goal being to introduce actual work, roundness, bend and the whole being on the bit thing which, to be completely honest, is something that has been beyond me for my entire riding life. She put u on the 20 m circle going left and I explained my biggest circle issue. I start off on a 20 m circle but soon find myself on a 15 then 10 then 5 as I ask him to give me inside bend. She began a n explanation of all the different aides to keep him bent, round, using his hind, not spiraling in and still moving forward and uh…my brain melted. So she came and took the reins and walked beside me as we went around once to show me what I was looking for as a response from him. For his part, Eeyore is still stuck on the fact that any rein aid means to slow or stop, so it took a while.
We did manage to get it for a few strides at a time and man, when I got it from him, it was pretty great. Exhausting. But great. At one point, as we moved to the sitting trot, Trainer AB started to laugh. I looked at her funny. My entire life I have always stuck my tongue out the right side of my mouth when concentrating hard. Many a times someone has told me I would bite it off. I never have. Well, it seems Eeyore has the same habit and as we worked around asking him to round, lift his back,, step under and still bend while moving forward, he stuck his tongue out the right side of his mouth and looked deep in concentration. Trainer AB couldn’t help but chuckle at us.
For all his oddness, Trainer AB actually really like Eeyore and gets a kick out of how expressive he is with his face. She can always tell when he is bored, thinking of being naughty, proud of himself or lost in thought.
We worked on this concept at the walk, rising trot, sitting trot and canter and while we a re no where near perfecting it, the few strides I managed to get were pretty great feeling and now I have a better understanding of what I am looking for so I can work on this at home.
After that we moved to jumping a bit but that kinda went off the rails. We attacked a small cross rail off a left turn heading away from the barn at the trot. He landed, bucked, sharply turned left and proceeded to move as if he left his front left leg back at the jump. He was OFF. Big time OFF. He worked out of it though and we came around but now I was paranoid he was lame (remember this is the leg that the chiro vet is worried about) and Trainer AB kept an eagle eye on it as we approached again. He was ok and went over and wasn’t lame on the back side but didn’t feel right either so we changed to a right hand approach towards the barn and that he was perfect for , so who the heck knows. The farrier is coming Thursday and has changes to make to the LF shoe job so we will see. I think he hit the ground and when he made a roping style sharp turn off the back side he twisting his already twisted front left leg and hurt himself a bit. Maybe he will learn? Who knows?
After that she wanted me to tackle that darn pipe jump again this time saying we would do the two stride pipe combo, but we never made it that far. He took the first one with 3′ to spare between him and the pipe and it popped me up out of the tack, left me behind and allowed me to experience the wonders of crashing my crotch into the pommel of my saddle as he landed and bucked again. This wasn’t a naughty buck per se. This was his celebration of his own greatness, but I could have lived without that. I managed to stay on throughout, but it shook me so when we approached again i rode backwards and he said no.
The third time we made it over and did it ok but he still over jumped and I still freaked out. Trainer AB once again laughed saying that both Eeyore and I had the exact same look of terror approaching the pipe which isn’t really the best way to learn how to make this stupid jump a non issue for us. The current plan is to have her school him over it the next time so at least one of us doesn’t picture imminent death while we approach and hope that that translates to a more appropriate jump effort on his part and more confidence on mine.
We ended over the cross rail a few more times to get the groove back and called it a night. While I was untacking, she came over to talk to me. She looked Eeyore over and was happy to say that she could see new muscling, less fat and more of a horse versus a hippo shape starting to come out. She said that we have progressed way beyond what she thought we would have at this point which is all to her own credit though she is too humble to take it. She told me that Eeyore is a rather tricky Butthead to ride which I guess I don’t really see since Gem was my last ride for a decade and well, anything is easy compared to her. But he is tricky in his own butthead ways and isn’t shy to throw in a buck or twelve when he is displeased with the plan or run off a bit or duck his shoulder and cut in. But we are working on all of that and he is making me 1000x a better rider int he process.
She also informed me that we will be entering a show this fall once she returns from showing at AECs. She prefers the fall season to the spring because in her words “all the northerners are gone, the atmosphere is less competitive and the locals are much nicer”. She will be choosing the event that she feels will be best for us and will be coming with (which she has no choice even if I have to kidnap her and bring her myself). I mentioned my goal to show at the amoeba level which is a w/t dressage test, 18″ stadium that you can walk over which I literally did with Gem, and a xc course at 18″ with only 3 mandatory fences. She said no way. We will be entering at starter. Uh…..