At her inspection in Prince Edward Island.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
I don't think I should post complete lessons, in fairness to Arthur K.,but I want to have at least some of it in Rogo's diary.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Doing this has addressed some of the issues we've had for years, such as:
1. Lack of moving away from my leg promptly for lateral work - we did and continue to do turn on the forehand until I can completely control each step - the size of the step, the start and stop of the step, a forward thinking step while keeping the front legs stepping in a tiny circle, doing it in perfect walk steps. I'm still working on getting it as close to perfect as we can.
In keeping with the instructions in Arthur Kottas's first book we mostly turn just 180 degrees, then walk off, to keep the thinking forward.
After Arthur Kottas was here in May Joan got a copy of his book too, so she can teach me using his methods. She was taught mostly the Spanish Riding School method, so it fits with everything she's taught me anyway.
2. Slouchy transitions from trot to walk - I still, after all these years, don't have a good version of this most basic transition. What I want of course is a clear, distinct end to the trot and beginning of a forward, uphill, marching walk. Savanah and I had a great trot walk transition - smooth and seamless, distinct, forward - so I know I can do it. I can't seem to communicate clearly to Rogo what it is that I want. Most of the time it isn't terrible, but it can be much better. He seems to think I want a slow trot when I ask for walk and then he sort of falls into the walk and has to be pushed forward again. I'm working at keeping the energy up through the transition, and asking more 'definitely' if a soft aid isn't clear, then backing off to soft as his response improves. Does anyone else have a weakness with this and if so how have you addressed it?
3. We're doing ALOT of stretchy trot circles. First we do a slower, working trot on a large circle, then I push him into a medium trot and do a unilateral half halt on the inside, as light as possible while still getting a reaction, so he'll seek connection on the outside and also stretch down. When he stretches down I slow the trot again and gather the reins, then repeat.
I have to say, this exercise was an eye opener for me because it is slightly different than I've done it before and at first I found it, well, kind of annoying. Why would I slow his trot down to start the exercise and throughout the exercise?
Coming back from those months off (lame left front) his slow trot was awful - on his forehand and if I wasn't super careful he'd hitch. Yuk. It was great when I'd push him forward - he'd stretch down very nicely and fairly quickly he learned to round and reach into a lovely connection as soon as he felt me ask him to go forward. One day though a light bulb went off regarding why we were varying it with slowing the trot and gathering the reins - I asked for the slow trot and it was lovely - a slower version of the connected, round trot I was getting when I asked him to go forward and stretch. Yes! He slowed down, but kept his hind quarters under him and bounced along. We were / are slowly developing collected trot and I didn't even see it coming :).
Of course we've slowed down and accelerated the trot, as well as shortening and lengthening the steps for years now, and there are many good exercises for developing collection, but I have to say that this particular exercise is a good one. It also has the benefit of straightening the horse when practised in the direction of the stiff side - the half halt on the inside teaches the horse to reach for the connection on the outside where they tend to avoid it.
All in all a great variation on the stretchy circle.
We've also been brushing up on leg yield and shoulder in, and practicing walk / canter / walk. Lots of basics but we missed a lot of time and this is definitely filling in gaps. It isn't the first time and won't be the last time we've gone back to basics.
One of my biggest goals now is keeping a soft, steady connection through transitions. Again, it isn't terrible but Savanah spoiled me - she comes on the bit and stays there unwaveringly. This is what we need to achieve. Of course as I write this I see the relationship to the trot walk transition I wrote about earlier - it's all about keeping those hind quarters engaged through the transition isn't it?
I think that's going to be the theme of my next post - keeping engagement and connection through the transitions. I've got some great video clips from our Arthur Kottas clinic that I can use and it will be good for me to review them. He's coming again in October so I need to do my homework! Here are a couple of pictures of him from the May clinic - one doing in hand work with Stacie Saunders and her Andalusian stallion Yovi, and one of Arthur and I. I also threw in a picture of our mare and foal for good measure. They need their own post soon.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
We're calling our foal Surprise until we know if her father is Sir Gregory or De Niro.
Do you ever get over the wonder of them? Two weeks ago she wasn't here and now she's a vibrant, confident, gorgeous baby. Today she had her first bath with the hose and she was calm and happy.
Right now I'm sitting in the corner of the stall, chilling out with mom and baby.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Diotima had her foal the middle of Sunday afternoon. I was checking every hour to an hour and a half and I completely missed it. She went from calmly eating hay at 1:00 to lying in her stall with a foal lying beside her at 2:30. I was awed, shocked and over whelmed.
It was reverent in the barn when I entered at 2:30. All of the horses had been brought in at noon (including Diotima) because of the heat and flies. They all had their heads out in the aisle and were being completely still and silent.
Savanah, who's the lead mare, had pushed her stall wall off of its base a few days before the birth and moved herself into the empty stall by Diotima's foaling stall. We let Savanah put herself in from turn out (she's the only horse we do this with and she goes right in to her own stall), but she started going into the stall by Di and just standing there, even though there was no bedding, hay or water (that was waiting on her stall). Maybe it's a coincidence but I like to think she was standing watch for Di. Do you think this is possible?
I'm so glad the foal is here and both mom and baby are healthy. We won't know who the sire is until DNA testing is done (Di was bred to two different stallions last summer, three weeks apart, and confirmed not in foal). Using 340 days she's a week late for De Niro and two weeks early for Sir Gregory, but there can be quite a large variation of :normal. '.