It's been a busy week of riding. I rode twice most days - Rogo in the morning and Dan in the evening. Also I gave Doug a lesson at his request one evening. I ended up being quite tired yesterday, but it rained hard all day, so I took the day off from riding.
I need to set clearer goals, with a time frame, for Dan. Also, I need to remember that I can't train him the way Savanah and Rogo are trained. He just hates the ring too much. I guess he gets bored. So, for this coming week it's going to be maintenance. I have a lot of consulting work to do and am show manager for two upcoming dressage shows, so time is short right now. He gets his shoes back on on Mon., so we can hit the trails. This week I'll longe him twice and go for one ride on the beach (Sun.?). On the trail we'll work on getting prompt and soft walk trot and trot walk transitions, without his nose in the air, and also some leg yields. For Sept. I want him maintaining a good position, doing a strong trot, responding to half halts and with everything, using his hind quarters. He actually tracks up well and can do the work, I just need to keep him motivated and working with me. Much easier said than done. When I get time I should do a goal sheet as I do for Rogo.
Doug wanted me to give him a lesson as he is getting ready to compete on Labour Day weekend. I decided to focus on position left and right with him, and also to try to cure his eternal struggle with Savanah re his perception that she is 'diving' into the center. It's been his nemesis since he got her, but it didn't occur with me. After they warmed up I set up cones and had them do the length of the ring in serpentines, both shallow and deep, at walk and trot. Once they were going well with bending and keeping a rhythm I got them on the rail and told Doug not to compensate for any pulling to the inside she did - in other words not to pull her out with the rein or hold her out with his leg. I wanted him in perfect straight position and if she tried to duck in he was to tap her inside shoulder with the whip and firmly say no. He did this twice and that was the end of it - she didn't do it again. He's been fighting with her about this for three years. I kept telling him to stop with the mixed up over cueing and just say no, with a tap, but until we focused on it together he didn't get what I meant. His riding was so much better once he could focus on just riding and she lightened, lifted and went forward for him. They both looked so much better. Doug was grinning from ear to ear. He had to do it twice at the start of his lesson with Joan today and then it was fine again. Joan remarked on how much better they were going. I don't think Savanah meant to be bad. They were just locked into this unfortunate pattern together. She didn't do it with me but the two of them just didn't understand one another. It wasn't intentional on her part, or it wouldn't be fixed that easily. With the correction he's using now it's black and white - no misunderstanding. He doesn't hurt her by any means. It's just a tap and a no, while maintaining his position. They weren't understanding one another, but now it seems they do. Yeah for Doug and Savanah!
Rogo and I worked on sitting trot and early collection today, with some trotting figure eights at the end. He's done better figure eights, but they'll come. Joan got us to do eight steps of sitting trot and then eight to ten steps of rising trot. If need be, I'd go back to the walk before doing sitting trot, as I find it easier to start with him than to sit after he's trotting. After we worked at it a while I could sit from posting trot though. Doing eight steps seems to work - I can go that long without bouncing and gradually increase the number of steps and the speed of the trot. Sometimes we went straight and sometimes serpentined through the cones. The ring was still a little wet from all the rain, making it just a little slippery, so we only did one short canter, which went well.
With Rogo I want to keep working on his leg yield, sitting trot, intro collection, halts and improving the canter work.I'm meeting for coffee with key members of the dressage show committee in Halifax tomorrow. It will be fun to get together and start planning final details.