Friday, January 8, 2016

Sassy Pants

Quick little update here about Mr. Bacardi and the pants he's been wearing lately.

If the headliner isn't a hint, he's been a sassy lil bitch the last few days.

Not "Bacardi bad" sassy, just sassy in general.

We spent the beginning of the week working on flatwork and some very rudimentary skills like halting. LOTS of halting. Far too often do I forget to school walking and halting. It was FRIGID so I kept it easy on the lungs and joints, but still wanted to do some work.

Wednesday and Thursday was gridwork exercises. I couldn't change what was set up because of lessons, so my only option was gridwork. Not my first option, since B has struggles with grids for a while.

Wednesday I was  incredibly sore from Crossfit and rode like shit. Like actually barely rode well at all. My upper body and abs were trashed and you kind of need those parts to be mobile when jumping. It was my first week back to the gym after my shoulder injury and superflu, and even though I cut the volume in half & sandbagged the workout, I still trashed my lats and pecs, ugh.

Wednesday he was a sassy lil shit and took advantage of the fact that my half halts were weak and almost nonexistent and decided to run through every fence. Literally. He knocked them all down gleefully. I was frustrated, he was having fun, and there was no good schooling happening. I cut the ride short and ended with a few good transitions.

Thursday I felt better, but so did B. He was RARING to go and literally ignored every single aid of mine to pleaseslowdown so I switched him back to his waterford. I generally dislike using tools to help me, but he was just laying on my hands, exploding here and there with joy.

It was almost funny, but I was still like "OK B, we have a Jumper Show Sunday and this will not work, oh no no no, this will not do".

There were two grids alongside each long end with a 5 stride to a vertical. Away from the stalls he was OK. Just OK. Like, kind of listening to my seat and half halts and rocking back through the bounces and not rocketing through the 5 stride and making it a 3. TOWARDS that stalls though...disaster. He was just too exuberant. Which to be honest, made me happy, because 7 months ago he seemed to really be terrified of fences and poles. But really, blowing through grids does nothing good for anyone.

Because I don't have paint on my Mac, BOO
At first I tried just staying out of his way and just staying centered and letting himself carry himself and figure it all out on his own. He's a wittle bebe and sometimes they just need to not be fiddled with. So I would work on getting a lovely lofty canter at a 20m circle and then point him towards the grid and just hang on and hope he doesn't fuck it up.

1 stride away from the grid his ears perked and he CHARGED.

*Crash *clip *clip *crash, land, WHEEE IM A HORSE!!

OK, so that was a bad idea. Upon landing he bucked with joy and I was mildly unseated and we proceeded to careen around a lap until I was situated. That was a fail.

The positive note to take away from our flailing was that he was actually listening to my seat  (if I wasn't precariously tossed on his neck) AFTER the jumps and BEFORE and was going round in this glorious, lofty canter. I was overjoyed that his canter has made such improvements in the last few months.

Previously, we could jump once fence, then we would need a lap or two to re-group.

Now if only he would do these grids with a sense of self preservation and not dive forward and try to kill us.

Knowing he was new to this, I thought then that maybe he needed a little bit of help.

Going forward, I politely would ask him 2 strides out to PLEASE BALANCE back with a push from my seat and a strong half halt.

He did not appreciate that one bit. Again, crash, crash, topple, boom went the poles.

I asked again, PLEASE Bacardi be sensible and lets not run through this and die.


Ok so half halts still not working great.

I was at a loss at what to do from here since I didn't want to confuse his little self by asking for a halt after the grid before the 5 stride.

Eventually, I ended up doing more flatwork than jumping and worked on an extremely collected canter after a relaxed trot transition then I would ride him VERY into my hand before the grid and sit back a little bit while giving him support in my rein instead of just letting him figure it out alone.

Think, using one's seat to push the horse as far into the hand as possible and try and keep it there.

It was exhausting and he let it be known that he did NOT appreciate me asking him to be civil,  and showed it with some serious tail flippage...

but eventually half obliged and once we went through each grid once without knocking one fence down, I called it a day.

He was still raring to go, but our cooldown I kept simple and relaxed.

Today I am hoping I can move the fences around to more of a course, since he seems to be better over singe fences. Grids just get him excited and flat, the exact opposite of what is intended. There are no lessons after 7PM, so I have a good 2 hours before my Friday plans to get a course set and practice some height and coursework before Sunday's show.

With Yankee it was so easy...he rarely rushed through grids and was worse over single fences. Funny how different all the OTTBs can be!

Lawd, the struggles of training a baby over fences!

What are you favorite grid exercises?


  1. ha sounds like he's a little, um, excitable lol. eh, i'm sure he'll get it eventually tho. my trainer is a HUGE fan of 18' one stride lines (can trot or canter in) and integrates them into courses and grids alllll the time. for whatever reason they've really helped me (and my horse) figure out our canter.

    1. QUITE excitable hahah. Think we just need to do more together

  2. My fav is the one stride, to bounce, to two stride. Trot in over a trot pole. Bounce in the middle seems to back off my OTTB who also gets a little over eager. Hope this helps, he'll get there!

  3. My fav is the one stride, to bounce, to two stride. Trot in over a trot pole. Bounce in the middle seems to back off my OTTB who also gets a little over eager. Hope this helps, he'll get there!

  4. I had terrible luck trying to start with bounces with my ottb. I had the best luck with two jumps on a one stride and then adding poles before and after that eventually became jumps. But I remember trying to start with bounces and we just came at them with "too much" every time, even though he was not crazy he would still get excited and jump too far across the fence and then crash through the next two. Grids with one or two strides between fences were best until he got the hang of things. And anything longer was just an opportunity to get excited and strung out. Single fences were totally fine, of course.

    1. Maybe its a thoroughbred thing? I will try this though, thank you for the tip!!

  5. Yikes. Sorry he's been so sassy. I hope the work on halting has helped. He sure knows how to take advantage when you're feeling weak lol. You know what they say... the difficult horses make you a better rider! :D


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