Lesson #2 with the Big Man

You know what’s a great feeling?? Every time I sit on my horse, I am more and more sure I made the right choice. Of course I already knew that- it was too much money to spend on a horse I was unsure of- but with every ride, I’m more and more certain that he was supposed to come into my life.

That’s not to say that everything is magically perfect all the time and he farts rainbows. I still make lots of mistakes, and his farts smell like normal horse farts.

But he’s FUN. And he’s SAFE. And he’s TRUSTWORTHY. Since the day he stepped on the property, he has done his job happily without any fuss. I haven’t had to worry about him at all- I can focus on my riding and know that as long as I’m holding up my end of the bargain, he’ll hold up his.

Our lesson last night was full of fun little things to test us- but we’ll get to that in just a moment. We’ll start with our warmup.

Really his flatwork is where his lack of polish becomes apparent. He’s nice and quiet and willing to work, but he clearly hasn’t been asked for much in this department. He requires a lot of support around the corners to encourage the bend, he finds collection an interesting concept, and his lateral work is a little dull. None of this is misbehavior or evasion: he simply has not been asked to any of these things with any consistency. We’ve already established better balance around the corners and I’m learning how to push him up into the bridle which gets him to soften through the ends of the ring. I’m trying to incorporate a little lateral work with every ride, and I’m also working on that a bit in-hand too. He has a very firm grasp of “leg means go, hand means stop,” and I want to refine that a bit more so that we can make that “different combinations of leg and hand mean go/stop/collect/extend/turn/move over/etc.” Any suggestions for exercises to work on these things?

Then the fun part! Last week my big bad habit was leaning with my shoulders before the jump,so I was very focused on staying straight and tall to the jump and allowing him to jump up to me. I think this definitely improved! He has a fairly flat jump which makes it easier to hold my position, so I’m able to focus on one thing at a time without getting jarred out of place.

But of course, we fix one thing and I start making another mistake. But at least it’s a new mistake and not the same one! Last night my trouble was with getting the right power to the jump. After riding Addy for a year, I’m used to trying to collect and package to the base of the jump. Basically take her big stride and make her wait to the base. And this is not how to get the best ride out of Frankie. I had a couple really weak jumps before going back and realizing that if I boot him up into my hand, we can gallop up a bit to the jump and he’ll give me a spectacular effort. He has a lovely rhythmic canter and doesn’t race at the jumps at all, so I don’t have to worry about holding him to the base, I can allow. When I did that, everything flowed up out of stride and it was great!

What were the fun little things we did?

  • A one-stride to a one-stride combination. You all know how much I love combos. That would have been fun enough in itself. But just to make it even more fun and because we ran out of flower boxes, the last vertical was super bootleg. We had one flower box, one traffic cone, the mounting block ,and Trainer’s jacket all under the rail. A couple horses peeked at it a little but Frankie couldn’t care less 🙂
  • A canter in-trot out four stride. IMPOSSIBLE. Poor Frankie had NO idea what on earth I was trying to ask for there. But seriously, put the jumps up and then try to ask for a trot jump out of a four stride line. And when you figure out how to do it, share your secrets. We got it eventually, but it was UGLY as all get out.
  • Rollback! Swedish oxer, hard right turn to big vertical. This was the combo where it helped IMMENSELY to leg up out of the turn and keep my outside aids strong. No more holdingholdingholding to get the turns, now it’s time to strengthen my legs, push my hands forward, and get moving!

I’ve also got a lovely level of soreness going on today from our no-stirrup work. I’m getting stronger at this! Luckily Frankie has a nice bouncy trot that helps me post, and a gloriously smooth canter that helps me sit. Thanks for the help, bro.

Short version? I absolutely love this horse. There are things for me to work on to encourage his best effort, but even when I clomp around doing nothing to help him, he is willing to cart my butt around. The definition of ammy-friendly. I have a feeling we’re just going to get better and better together!

And we’re officially saving up for our first show! End of June is the goal to step in the jumper ring. Honestly I’d love to go out and show this weekend, but mama’s gotta save some $$$ first.

Here’s where I need your help: Frankie does not have a show name. They just called him “Frankie” and that’s not gonna fly with me. Let me harness all your creativity to help me come up with a name for me to register him with!!

PS- pardon my lack of pictures. My officially videographer/photographer is out at drill for two weeks and I’ve been too focused on loving my boy to remember to take pics. We’ll have some soon!

27 thoughts on “Lesson #2 with the Big Man

  1. Hillary H. 04/07/2016 / 11:22 am

    Is he registered? Or have any interesting lines? I like to start there for names. Houston had his name when I bought him and I just called him that and Houston B for showing. Annie was called Annex because her jockey club name
    Is LittleOrphanAnnex. I opted to call her Annie bc I think it is cuter and her show name is just “Orphan Annex” because I don’t like little.

    I’ll be interested to see what you come up with!


    • hellomylivia 04/07/2016 / 11:27 am

      I don’t actually know his bloodlines! He’s an Oldenburg x TB so as far as I know, he isn’t registered anywhere. That would be a good question to ask his previous owner…


  2. Allison Stitzinger 04/07/2016 / 11:25 am

    So happy for you and Frankie!! I’ll let you know if I think up any great (ridiculous) show names.


  3. sarahczspots 04/07/2016 / 12:39 pm

    I have a cool show name in my brain that I’m saving for my first cross on my OTTB mare (that I’ve yet to tell anyone about…lol). I like Such Great Heights, like the Postal Service/Iron and Wine song. Plus her JC name is How High, so it works? I don’t know how it fits for Frankie, but it seems cool for something that jumps. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Megan 04/07/2016 / 2:40 pm

    It’s so great to just KNOW you bought the right horse. He sounds like such a good boy! As for show names, if I had a horse named Frankie, I’d totally be considering Frank Underwood (House of Cards) lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. carey 04/07/2016 / 3:38 pm

    Hmm, show names…..Frankfurter? Franc? Frank N Beans? Fantastic Frank? Franktastic? My Frankie? Flyin Frank? Big Frank? Frankie Says Relax? …I could probably go on if you give me more time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stacie Seidman 04/07/2016 / 4:30 pm

    Maybe a last name of a famous Frankie? Like Sinatra? Or how about Franklin? Or maybe just Frankly? I kinda like Frankly!
    I’m so excited things are going so well for you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. CallyJumps 04/07/2016 / 7:40 pm

    Huh, I’m really surprised at the lack of solid flatwork given an eventing background–usually solid dressage is a must to be competitive. Are you sure he’s just not more used to a more “managed” Dressage-type ride than the “expected to carry oneself” Hunter ride? Anyway, my horse hates lateral work, so we do a lot of it. Alternating shoulder-in down one long side and haunches-in down the other is good. So are riding squares at a walk, alternating asking for a turn on the forehand and a turn on the haunches to makes the corners. Canter leg-yields also really seem to unlock the hind end, too, so they can step over/under, as does spiraling in and leg yielding out on a circle at all gaits.


    • hellomylivia 04/08/2016 / 7:09 am

      He was actually a career foxhunter, they only campaigned him as an eventer for about 6 weeks before I snatched him up! He’s quite willing, but doesn’t have that foundation yet. These are all FANTASTIC exercises, thank you for sharing! Definitely going to try them out 🙂


      • CallyJumps 04/08/2016 / 9:32 pm

        Ahhhh, that makes a whole lot more sense!! Lateral work is so valuable, but man, it can be hard to explain to the horse and get them going right.


      • hellomylivia 04/08/2016 / 9:34 pm

        I’m starting to slowly ask for things at the walk and while he’s not quite sure what’s going on, he’s been very game to try! I’m lucky that he’s got such a good work ethic and genuinely tries to figure things out.

        Liked by 1 person

    • rachelum33 04/12/2016 / 12:59 pm

      Frankie Goes to Jumpers. Lol. Wasn’t there a tee-shirt in the 80s that said Frankie Says Relax. What about Frankie Says Jump?

      Liked by 2 people

  8. heartofhope10 04/08/2016 / 9:23 am

    You could play around with Frank Sinatra info (Rat Pack, etc,) but I LOVE ‘Come Fly with Me’ for a jumper. Just saying. Also, I like sayings, in this case you could do ‘To Be Frank’ or something?

    Liked by 1 person

    • hellomylivia 04/08/2016 / 10:02 am

      I love Come Fly with Me too, it was my favorite! But there are a whole bunch in the area, and the chances of us competing against another one with that name are pretty high :/ I love the idea of To Be Frank, it’s short and sweet!


      • heartofhope10 04/08/2016 / 10:04 am

        Lol dang! We have one here too, but thought I’d throw it out there. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • rachelum33 04/12/2016 / 12:58 pm

        I was going to suggest Sinatra but I LOVE Come Fly with Me!! I may need to steal that some day!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Emily Suhr 04/08/2016 / 3:00 pm

    I love the name Sinatra… classy and short!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Emma 04/08/2016 / 3:38 pm

    Aw it’s just so awesome hearing about how happy you are with him! No ideas on the show name but I’m sure you’ll find something awesome lol

    Liked by 1 person

  11. relstaff 04/09/2016 / 11:20 am

    I’m loving the Sinatra suggestions! But personally I also love a fun show name that makes people laugh when the announcer says it. Like “My Bank Account” or “The Reason I’m Broke” type stuff. I’ll try to think of some though!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. rachelum33 04/12/2016 / 1:02 pm

    We just had a show at our barn last weekend and for the mini medal they made the kids canter in to the diagonal, trot out, then halt. I thought that was pretty tough for beginners! I am still not riding but my old horse is and was in the mini medal. Everyone around me turned to me in fear and asked if Tango would be able to do that! Lol. They all know he likes to run but brag moment he did great and he and his new rider won the class! I know that you are in jumpers but you never know when you have to do crazy courses like that so it is good to practice!


    • hellomylivia 04/12/2016 / 8:19 pm

      Anything that helps with precision and control is a plus in my book! Sounds like Tango loves his job 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  13. rachelum33 04/12/2016 / 1:12 pm

    Sorry for the multiple comments here but I am just getting back into reading the blogs I follow. I had to take a break after my back surgery. It was too hard to see all the horse things when I didn’t know if I would ever be able to ride again. I really did not mean to get depressing there cause this is such a happy comment about Frankie! I am SO happy that you found him! He his so handsome and your pictures and videos are awesome! I just read his bio and I could not help but to think about his show name. You said that the thing you love about him is that Come Hell or High Water he will jump it. It is a little longer of a name but I think Come Hell or High Water might be a cute name!


    • hellomylivia 04/12/2016 / 8:21 pm

      I love the multiple comments! ❤ my fingers and toes are all crossed that you have a wonderful time getting back into riding 🙂 Love the name suggestion!! And I'll be sure to give him a cookie from you 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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