Sir Simon Grumpypants

Sir Simon Grumpypants

October is supposed to be the best time to live in central Texas. You can expect mid 70’s to low 80’s during the day, and the nights feel like they just might be cold enough for a sweater. Everyone knows this, including Simon who is Texan born and bred.

So can someone explain to me why we’re having temperatures in the mid 90’s?

Saturday I went out to the barn in early afternoon to hack the pony. Right from the get go, neither one of us was feeling it. Usually Simon shows up to work ready to give me 100%, but on Saturday he was more of the “Meh… no thanks,” variety. For the most part, I let this go. I did insist that he continue to bend to the right instead of stare at the small pony like it was bringing the apocalypse, because I am a cruel and unreasonable horse mother.

My name is Simon and my mother is cruel and unreasonable.
My name is Simon and my mother is cruel and unreasonable.

Sunday we had a jumping lesson, which I thought would put him in a better mood. Instead, I got a Simon who didn’t feel like listening.

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Photo by Heather F

I think I have spent a lot of time in the saddle allowing this horse to save me, which is something he’s extremely good at. I’ll point him to a jump and think “Oh wow this looks big and I’m slightly terrified so I’m just going to sit up and trust he will get me over it.” The good news is that he will get me over the fence safely. The bad news is he will choose how fast, what distance and how to zoom through the corner afterward.

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Photo by Heather F

Largely due to a change in perspective, I’ve not really been scared of jumping lately. We’ve also put a lot of solid hours into flatwork this summer, and I’ve spent some time telling my core that it needs to be way more active at the canter. On Sunday, the goal was a lot more than just getting over the jump… I wanted to do it with a good pace and proper corners.

Simon does not like proper corners.

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Photo by Heather F

Several times I would ask for a change (we usually change in the front, collect for him to catch up in the hind and then canter on… it takes about 2-5 strides depending on how he’s listening) and he’d completely blow me off. He wanted to dive and scoot forward, and did not want to bend or listen. Therefore I sat his butt down in the middle of the course, and made him calmly move his hind end in the direction I wanted before proceeding. Basically I installed a listening cap mid-course.

Simon does not like the listening cap.

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Photo by Heather F

However, even though he was a little grumpy and not being allowed to run the Simon show the entire time… he gave me 3 flying changes on Sunday. That is 300% more flying changes than we’ve gotten all summer.

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Photo by Heather F

I’ll take some grumpy looking pictures* if it means a big jump forward in progress.

* Before anyone jumps to conclusions and thinks that my horse is in back pain because every picture of him jumping has his ears back, stay tuned to another post this week that has plenty of happier pictures from this exact same ride.

22 thoughts on “Sir Simon Grumpypants

  1. Simon sounds like he does a lot what my mare does after fences!! and around turns is when she decides to demonstrate her ability to perform airs above the ground.

    You two look great – even with his grumpy faces!

  2. Loving that slice over the big scary gate in the last picture. Even if he was grumpy, I think you were still riding really well. I bet with a couple rides like that he gets much better.

  3. I mean, his ears are back, but the rest of the picture (his form and your position) are great. So… yeah I’ll take that any day! And YAY for flying changes!!

  4. So his ears are back…. He’s Grumpy. He’s allowed, just like we all are.

    Love the last pic. One word comes to mind seeing it- Powerful!
    You guys just look so Powerful in that one.

    Grumpy or not, you’re rockin’ it!

  5. Good job on the changes! I don’t blame Simon for being grumpy in the heat. It’s been 100° here the last couple of days and I’m pretty pissed about it. What is the deal with this stupid heat? It’s not okay. Not okay AT ALL!

  6. I so hear you about the heat. It was 100 the other day and it’s predicted to be around 97 today. That’s October in the California’s central valley though. We’re good after Halloween. It might still get warm, but at least our mornings and evenings will be cooler. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, we’re generally done with the 90 degree weather. :0)

  7. What is up with the heat??? It’s been in the high 90s here in Orange County, CA. I opted for a trail ride instead of a lesson last night. Simon, even when looking grumpy, is still an undeniable rock star. And a 300% improvement on flying changes is really something to celebrate. And green breeches. 🙂

  8. I had a gelding who wore the grumpy pants often enough that most people thought he was a mare. Awkward.
    Good for you for installing the listening hat! Sometimes they just don’t think we amateurs will ever sit them down and make them think about their actions. Oh the horror!

  9. I stand by what I said on your instagram even more now. You made him listen to you and work for you. Those are thinking ears not grumpy ears. Congrats on the changes!

  10. yay flying changes and thinking caps!!!! boo to grumpypants…. but temporary trade offs are sometimes what it’s all about for more permanent progress, Mr Simon!!!

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