Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blog Updates and Morning Lesson

I figured out how to see my # of hits and countries they are coming  from - Canada, US, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Japan, France, Australia and New Zealand. This is way cool! I know there are many more popular blogs, but I'm thrilled that anyone reads this, or just stops by. Let's face it - it's kind of a niche market :) I write about the minutia of dressage aids and my training goals in painful detail. There are kind souls and kindred spirits out there though and I'm really enjoying getting to 'know' them. Please leave me a comment or 'follow' if you're dropping by. I love to hear from people.
My blog started just as a way for me to keep track of my training, but I've discovered so many interesting blogs. It's great to be able to read how other people are doing and to get advice when you run into a road block. 
I've updated my media links and added a few new ones. Any suggestions for good dressage / equestrian links?
Now, today's lesson with Cheryl. I think, seriously, that Rogo doesn't like having a teacher in the ring with him. I've always thought things went worse in a lesson than on my own because I was more tense in front of someone (obviously things don't go worse in all ways - I need the lesson to learn, but when practicing we do better alone.) But after today, I'm thinking it's both Rogo and I. He took a dive at Cheryl at one point. He did this at her barn once last winter too. He's never really come close to her, but he's attempting to warn her off. Good luck with that Rogo - she's stronger than you! I think that might be what he doesn't like. Don't get me wrong - he's affectionate and kind to her any other time, like he is with everyone. I think he senses though that she is a strong presence and that she's drilling us through a routine. He is resisting that. He's been taking a nice contact / staying in a fairly good position lately, but today we had to warm up for quite awhile to get it. His head was in the air and his nose was pointed at the moon most of the time for the first 20 minutes. 
Cheryl gave us a great exercise though - circle at each end of a long side and flex to the inside when straight. After doing this at the trot for a few minutes he relaxed and dropped his head (for the most part). This was when he decided to head at her at one point. He got a whack for it.
Then history repeated itself with the canter. He did very well last week until Joan was there, when he wouldn't canter at all without being chased into it (I think Joan was close to fainting with horror when I did that) . Yuk. He's been great at the canter since then - doing his best work ever, until today in front of Cheryl. Guess what? No canter. To be precise, he did so so picking it up in the corner and starting to cross the diagonal (the plan being to switch to a trot at roughly X). Then he decided he wasn't even going to do that. Soooo, we had to work and work to get him to canter out of a corner on a left lead. Frustrating, but ...
I'm not going to let it bother me this time. I know now that it's coming and going at this point. We're on the right track.

Things to remember about today's lesson:
- keep him flexed to the inside and solid against my outside rein to prevent him from hopping out of the ring again
- don't trot until he is lowering his head and accepting contact; do lots of bending to get started
- praise and reward when he softens
- don't try to pull him up when he drops his head too much - squeeze my legs and he'll come up (otherwise he could get over bent)
One last note - we signed up to do W/T C and D at the Truro gold show, and I now realize that W/T D (Introductory level in the US) is impossible to ride in a 20 X 60 ring and not really realistic in a 20 X 40 ring (1/2 20m circle X to A and turn up the center line at A? On a green walk trot horse? ). Has anyone tried a competition with this test? We're switching tests. 

ps -  I reread this and it may sound like I'm blaming Rogo. Don't mean to. I'm a big part of what's going on. The fact that he may be a bit off too with someone else there hadn't occurred to me before.

6 comments:

Kate said...

Maybe he's turning in towards her because that's where your focus is, and maybe he's more distracted when you've got someone with you in the ring because he doesn't have your whole attention - part is on the other person? I suppose for a horse at his stage of training that could be confusing.

I always love reading all the details you put down - I don't formally ride dressage although I use a lot of it, and your details are interesting to me.

Carol said...

Glad you don't mind the details :)
Thanks for your insight re why he's heading at her. I think you might be right about it - it must be distracting for a green horse who has all my attention the rest of the time. Interesting.

Shannon said...

I also like the detail. I'm trying to be more detail oriented in my own blog, it's a nice inspiration.

I notice my horses always behave differently in a lesson. A person on the ground always makes me a liitle nervous, I don't want to run them over! Add to that the fact that I'm trying to pay attention to what they're saying and adjust my position and aids, and I can see why the horses get a liitle wonky. It's different, and horses don't usually like that.

Carol said...

This is why I love blogging - a different set of eyes can really be enlightening. Now that I'm thinking about it and hear other opinions, it seems obvious the horse would experience a lesson differently too. Duh.
Now you guys have done it - encouraging my details! :) Oddly, dressage is the only area of my life where I love detail. The rest of it is pretty laid back!
Thanks for the feedback.

allhorsestuff said...

OM word! I too have had this happen with Wa mare..she dove at a trainer..and evil eyed her..boy that was weird too...she knew it was that gal telling me to keep on keeping on! It seemed!And reading the comments...it very well could be that I was leaning!

The best lessons I have had, are where the person stays put..and maybe has a mic on so that I may hear them better!
My mare get sooo -easily distracted- that a person in the ring pisses her off, it seems. I am still learning about her. She tries hard and wants to please..but needs constant praise and nothing in the way of her focus...
KK

Carol said...

AHS - We seem to have a lot of similar experiences!
Yes, this is exactly what Rogo did. And if you met him you'd see that he is very soft, gentle and safe when being handled 99% of the time - to the extent that it gets remarked on frequently and people who aren't used to horses ask to groom him because they feel safe with him (despite his size - 17 h). He occasionally lets me know he has a mind of his own though and now that we're going to shows I have to get him very obedient to all handling, ground and mounted, for the sake of both our safety. It's sharpening me up about handling details.
The mic idea is a good one. Maybe I should suggest that to my teacher until Rogo is more focused and less susceptible to distraction.