Sully's Hard Knock Life
|"Y U make me do these terrible things you mean laydee?!" :( :( :(|
He knows the rules of the field and is game to do his job out there, whether it's leading second flight or following behind the first flight master. He watches the hounds with intense focus, and always carries his rider safely home at the end of the day. This horse is made for the hunt field, and there's nowhere he'd rather be.
However, because Sully's Mom also likes to take lessons in dressage and jumping and compete in schooling horse trials and other small shows, he must learn to do ringwork like a good show horse as well.
Sully thinks this is the worst idea he's ever heard.
|"Chancey YOU GOTTA SAVE ME!"|
Dressage is so, so hard for a Sully.
I'm asking him to do a lot of things that he normally isn't required to do, like hold his own body up and use his butt muscles and stay straight and go on the bit and, you know, respond when I put my leg on. This is all very difficult. It's very taxing for a Sully, and I usually have to work him through quite a bit of complaining, which usually starts at about five minutes into the ride when he realizes that he has to KEEP DOING WORK!!?1?1!?! The horror!
The thing with Sully is that he had a very good start in life when it comes to training, and he generally knows what I'm asking, but he just Doesn't Wanna. And because his primary job is foxhunting, he usually doesn't have to do this terrible dressage business! So he tries to find lots of naughty, sneaky ways to get out of work.
Like dropping his back out from under you and flinging your body out of balance when the work gets more challenging than he'd prefer. Or just... not going when you put your leg on. Or making excuses about the deer that is SOMEWHERE IN THE FOREST AND MIGHT BE PLANNING AN ATTACK. Sully spends quite a lot of unnecessary energy trying to get out of work.
|"OHMAHGAH DIS WORK SO HARD SO THIRSTY SOMEONE CALL PETA I'S BEIN ABUSED"|
The canter has been hit-or-miss. Like I've mentioned before, Sully's long back and history as a foxhunter make anything that looks even a little like collection in the canter quite hard for him. It's easier when he has the arena rail to help keep his body straight, but he does need to learn to hold himself together in canter eventually, so I've been trying to alternate where we school so he both gets the idea of where I want his body using the fence, and also has to take responsibility for himself outside the arena.
It's a challenge, and usually results in the most complaining from Sir Sullivan. It is just SO HARD for him to use his butt and do the work, and he hasn't quite caught onto the fact that the torture will end a LOT sooner if he just does what I ask! We've had some really good moments where Sully sits down and lifts his withers into and out of the canter and holds the position, but he also tries at least once per ride to throw me off balance and see if he can muscle me out of trying to get him to work. It's a work in progress!
Poor Sully. Life is rough when they make you do dressage.