Friday, April 30, 2010

My Last Lesson and Rogo Gets His First Full Set of Shoes

My lesson on Thur. was outside. We did fairly well, but nothing like the day before. I couldn't steer him as well. May have been partly because we were outside and partly because I get more nervous riding in front of Cheryl and Joan and then my riding goes to hell. I better get over that before I try to show him!
We spent a lot of time working on my steering to the left (the problem side). I'm not using my inside leg and outside rein enough, while also using too much inside rein :(
We've been working on this for weeks now and we have to get moving on to other things. It seems to be one of the toughest things I've ever done, yet intellectually it sounds so simple. I am getting so my feel to the right is pretty good. I think the left is made worse not just because I'm right handed, but because of the nerve problem I had in my neck in the fall that resulted in partial loss of use of my left arm. It still isn't fully back and it just feels weak and useless a lot of the time. I don't have good control of it or a realistic knowledge of what I'm actually doing with it.
Rogo and I lost 3 months of work at the time of my nerve problem (first he had bruised toes, then I laid in a chair for 2 months in excruciating pain)and when we started back in Dec. it was like starting from scratch except that he knew about having someone on his back. However everything else was gone - he didn't want to go forward, would stop and refuse to move if you asked him to trot, didn't take any contact, turned his head to the outside all the time, etc., etc. I was so weak that even mounting left me shaking. If I look at where we are now we're doing great!!!
Anyway, I digress. For the rest of Wed.'s lesson we worked on canter steering (he steered around the turns to the right, ran up the hill to the left) and also walking straight up the center line and halting straight and square. I think we made some progress with that. Cheryl pointed out he tends to leave his left hind a little out behind so she suggested a light feel on the left rein to get him to walk into it. It helped so I'll keep practicing that.
Today Doug and I rode together outside but then it started raining. Doug was finished by then so I moved inside. My steering was off again today, maybe even worse than my lesson. It was Rogo's first time being ridden in a full set of shoes. He had them put on after our lesson on Wed. and was excellent to shoe. When we tried to shoe him last fall it was impossible to put rear shoes on him but we've worked with him since and he went bare foot all winter.
Anyway, he moved beautifully today - forward and down, tracking up and perhaps I'm delusional but he even looked a little round to me on the longe line. However he seemed to be very deliberate and careful about putting his feet down. I think it put him off a little as far as steering went.
We worked on canter transitions and he is really getting the transition now. The next step has to be to get him to hold it longer, but I think outside will help with that. Also I tend to lean back with him (don't know why), so I have to remember to lean a bit forward a this stage.
We worked on trot circles and did some nice regular and stretching circles. There is room for improvement re shape, especially to the left, but over all I'm very happy with them considering he's barely done them before. His stretching circles are very good too, again, especially as this is new to him
We finished with walking up the center line and halting at X. He needs lots of improvement there, but it isn't bad considering we've really just started this.
I'm looking forward to my lesson tomorrow. After we both ride (Cheryl and I), we'll go for lunch and review April's goal results and set May's.

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