Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rogo is Awesome in the Wind, Feb. 24

I had a lesson yesterday morning. I thought about canceling because it was raining hard and the wind was off the charts. 80 km/hr and gusting on top of that (I read in the paper that it was gusting up to 115 km / hr.). The indoor was like being inside a drum. You had to shout to be heard, and be standing close to one another even at that. Here's the amazing thing - Rogo didn't even flicker an ear in acknowledgment of the wind and noise. On top of the steady roar, there were gusts that screamed and shook the building. He just kept going as though it was like any other day. We longed and then I rode him. It went really well - no more or less energy than usual. I got some good working trot on the longe (briefly make his circle smaller if he goes into a canter when I ask for more energy / lengthening). Cheryl figured out I shouldn't ask him to do a really forward working trot under saddle yet - he puts his head up, hollows his back and rushes. We are going to work on circles more to get bend and suppleness and let him get more confident in his increased contact before asking for working trot. It's very close. This is in rising trot. When I sit and ask for more he responds with a great lengthening (for his age / training), so it's nice to know he will listen to my seat like that. I don't sit much though because his back isn't ready.
He is picking up his canter from my leg and I'm doing just a couple of steps of slow trot before asking. Sure isn't all the time, but getting better.
He didn't want to go straight or bend when I started to the left today, so when I switched to the right he was great and then did left okay when I went back. Good to remember.
In discussion with Cheryl, my training goals for March are to:
- do decreasing / increasing circles, first on longe, then under saddle, and
- working trot (after the above has developed his ability a little more)
I also need to remember to try for square halts and look for a good response in walk / trot transitions.
All in all a good lesson today, and his behavior in the crazy noise was very impressive for a green 4 year old. He is also very good when snow is coming off the roof. One day a huge fall came off one side and seemed to go on and on with a thundering noise. His head went up and he stopped, then continued on with a little more animation. Lots of horses would have been in the rafters. He's hard to read though - 95+% of time he is unbelievably good, and then something you'd never expect throws him off, like the time he was scared of a chair in a new place or a slight noise of snow on the roof that you could barely hear over the music. It's very rare and becoming rarer though.
After riding Rogo we (Doug and I) tacked up Savannah and brought her in. She is the most trust worthy, reliable horse in the world but she got 3 steps inside the door of the arena and I swear she went 10 ft. in the air and 20 sideways. The noise was too much for her. I know she doesn't like wind (like many horses), but I'd never seen her react that badly. Then again, I'm not sure I've had her (or any horse) out in that much wind. We decided to longe her and not ride her. She continued to be out of character, bucking and running. She had a beautiful trot though :) Anyway, makes Rogo's behavior even more impressive when I see a horse who I trust more than any I've ever known be unnerved by the noise, while he stays completely with me. To be fair to her I must say I've ridden her in some big Nov. winds on the beach and had a ball. Also, she doesn't care at all about snow coming off the roof, trucks, etc.
After working with the horses we took Cheryl to lunch to celebrate her birthday and for the 3 of us to set our March riding goals. We went to Cravings Cafe and it was great. A very nice morning.
Doug's goals are to work on his seat and position (particularly thumbs up), and generally keep preparing to show training level. Cheryl's goal is to work on Dancer's conditioning.
Yeah Rogo!

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