Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Great Weekend of Riding

On Sat. Doug and I shared a table at a tack sale with another boarder at our barn. We sold two saddles, a western and a dressage saddle that didn't fit right. Then we went and rode. It was a beautiful day so we rode outside. Both horses went really well. I'm getting a better feel for riding Rogo in corners, serpentines, etc. We also worked on trot circles for the first time in a long time. I asked for a canter on the circle but he only did a few steps. I've got to get that soon if I'm going to show at Training Level this summer.
Today, Sun., we rode outside again. Someone was loading and moving a pile of manure from beside the riding ring so I thought it would be a good chance to get Rogo used to the noise and sight of machinery close by. He stood nicely to be longed and was calm enough on the longe (no racing or acting a fool), but he was much more forward than usual, wanting to canter and canter and canter with no encouragement. I let him since he was being calm and I want him to work on balance and carrying his canter. When I thought he was ready I mounted and he wanted to take off right away, which isn't like him. Usually he stands very well until asked to go. When I did ask him to walk off he only walked a couple of steps and then broke into a fast canter and took off down the riding ring and up the hill until he couldn't go any further (not far). We turned and came back, but I had to keep a tight hold on him. He would walk VERY well - marching along and very sensitive to aids, no whip in hand, moving off my leg. He wasn't pulling to do more and did great free walks, serpentines, circles, etc., etc., but if I asked for a trot I'd only get one step before he'd canter. Not great, but not the end of the world. It was the first time I've ever tried riding him through a more edgy mood. In the past I would have gotten off and longed more.
After about 1/2 an hour we were able to do trot circles if I started out with a very small circle and then enlarged it, although he still wanted to canter. I never did let him go for it as there were two horses freshly turned out beside us who were frolicking and bucking a bit and I was afraid if Rogo started tearing around they'd start in too, and then he might buck. I wasn't up for that, especially at a fast canter!
I have to say, I found the experience exhilarating. I was nervous at times, but having a blast too. He was showing what he can do, and the energy and animation were magnificent. I still don't know if it was the tractor, his new feeding program, improved confidence, etc., but he's been getting more and more forward for the last couple of weeks. I may have to come up with new strategies and techniques to keep the energy but control it a little better.
Now I'm off to work with the Town of Shelburne for a couple of days. Gotta pay the boarding bills. I can't stand being away from him... He is sooo much fun right now!

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