Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rogo Got the Canter Aid 100%, April 11

Had a great lesson on Fri. Rogo is really coming along in his working trot. We're on track to meet our goal of having it 80% by the end of April. Also, I'm slowly but surely re-establishing my ability to do accurate turns with him. The exciting part of the lesson for me was that he picked up the canter 100% of the time from the first quiet aid. No having to ask repeatedly or having him race into a trot. Just a couple of steps of trot, then slow the trot and quietly ask - Yeah! This was only to the right (his good side) as Cheryl wanted me to stop there. He did it about 10 times!! I couldn't believe it. Savannah isn't always this consistent.
He isn't carrying the canter as well as I'd like, only about half way around the arena unless I really work at it, but Cheryl suggested we let him be proud of his achievement (he was) and that he'll carry it without fuss as his balance and training progress. He does much better with carrying it outside, so now that we can ride outside things should improve. I was very happy!
On the downside, Cheryl and I aren't communicating as well as we should. We seem to misunderstand one another a lot, which is a little demoralizing to both of us. It seems that when I don't understand a concept, she thinks I blame her for not explaining it well. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I can see how she'd interpret it that way. It isn't at all what I'm thinking though. I just need to absorb things more slowly sometimes. There is so much going on as I try to learn how to train a horse for the first time that I am extremely focused on the exact thing I'm doing. Then when she gives me an instruction, it doesn't always sink in, so the intensity of the instruction goes up. I begin to think I am clumsy / slow. As I continue riding I lose my confidence to use any judgment (necessary even in a lesson). I get defensive and of course that isn't productive. What we've come up with is that when we're introducing something new, or if I don't understand something, we'll pause and go over it rather than try to get it on the fly. That doesn't work for me at this stage. Poor Cheryl is faced with training me, to train Rogo - I've never trained a horse before and of course he's never been trained before. Everything takes a little longer.
She is doing a great job of bringing us along. She's done wonders over the winter. We are so on the same page in so many ways. Things are going great training wise and that is the most important thing. The horse is happy and progressing without bad habits or fear. He's confident, trusting and happy to come out to work each day. So, I better suck up any defensiveness I feel and learn to communicate better.
My goal for lesson communication is that we are a mutually supportive team. Some objectives:
- understand and appreciate that Cheryl is pushing us to progress and succeed, and it's working
- calmly identify points where I need to pause for more instruction
- don't try to change who she is (and vice versa); we're both good people and we can work well within that
I'm going to develop a show season plan soon. Did a table of shows last night. There are 12 in NS this summer! WOW.

No comments: