Friday, March 11, 2016

Fancy pants

Trainer A is heading out on vacation.  I know, I know, who authorized that?  Unsupervised for a whole week?   That's crazy talk!  But it's happening.  My lessons for next week have been turned into training rides for mi papi, one this week and one the week she gets back.  Because three lessons in a week is crazy talk and I thought she was over due for a look under the hood.  Theo's changed a lot since we started working together and aside from a few minutes trying out my jumping saddle, she hasn't sat on him this whole time.

I showed up to spectate.  Okay, I actually showed up because I realized late Thursday that my tack is scattered all over the place in a system even I can't fully understand or use and if I wanted her to ride in the potential new to me dressage saddle, I should get it out for her and put some stirrups on it.  Old groom habits kicked in and I handed her a fully groomed and tacked up horse.  I also dropped off a bag of meringues on her desk.  Bribery?  Absolutely.  I'm not ashamed.

I sat with my coffee and bacon and gouda kolache from the local bakery and watched her work.  It's the most yuppie horse owner moment of my life to date.  I was even wearing my River boots over my jeans and a polo.  Not ashamed of that either.  I work long hours wrangling data sets to earn the right to sip my coffee, nom my breakfast roll (still warm), and enjoy watching someone else explain the rules to Theo while he makes faces, kicks out, and protests the whole using his body evenly concept.

But guys.  Guys.  I own this incredibly lovely beast.

It was so fantastic to sit there and see him go through his paces.  When he really sits, I realize that this horse has a ridiculously short back and is just made for traveling uphill.  And unloading people, but that's what happens when they're very short coupled.  He really is all legs when he's moving.  No kidding he can sit and turn on a dime.  He actually stretched from his shoulder at one point and I saw a faint glimpse of a future medium.

Good grief, I own that fancy thing!

My homework while Trainer A is away is to work half passe, not leg yield.  Mi papi is the master of drifting and blowing through legs.  Leg yield makes that too easy for him, so we're going to swap to half passe for awhile.  Also turn on the haunches.  No more nagging him to get off my leg.  If he's drifting, walk, half passe, continue on.  I also need to work on the idea that when I get on, we have started to work.  No more lolly gagging about while I settle my gloves and gossip.  I'm on, we work.  Once he's on his game, he can stretch and take a break.  The mental difference was eye opening.  She wants him to march away from the mounting block so he knows this isn't one of his plopping school pony rides.

After this ride, I went and paid for that dressage saddle.  Trainer A is happy in it, I'm happy in it, and Theo moves great in it.  Being off of the saddle market is such a relief.

I think a weekly training ride may become a regular thing.  Theo loves Trainer A and worked his pony butt off for her.  She also mentioned that he feels different than he looks, so it will help her manage him in the future.  It's not in his shoulders, it's right under the saddle.  We have a disconnect between the back and the front.  The front is strong enough, the butt is strong enough, the connection right under the seat is too weak.  Time to work those abs and get that topline in order.


  1. wow he has real presence doesn't he? I totally get that sense of amazement when you look at your horse's incredible beauty.