Rogo Does His First Training Level Test

I had a great ride on Rogo tonight. He is doing so well. I honestly began to wonder after our last show if I was going to be able to bring him along and thought that maybe I'd have to put him in the hands of a trainer because I just wasn't capable to training him. Not that anything was terribly wrong. It's just that  he's five and still doing walk trot and not connecting and carrying himself as well as he should. I know, I've said it before, but we really didn't start until last Christmas (I sat on him and trotted around the year before, but didn't do any training and then took three months off, meaning I started from scratch again).
The two shows I went to really helped me though. He did well enough - most marks in the low sixties and earning all firsts and seconds - but he's capable of better and should be doing better by now. I wondered if I was just stuck and that's as far as I could get him. Then, lately, things seemed to start working. 
Megan showed me that he can get into position and accept the bit better. He started carrying his canter. The strap on the front of the saddle helped me with his bending. Things just started to click.
So tonight I decided to try to ride training level test one. This would have been out of the question even a couple of weeks ago. He aced it. YEAH!!!! We are making progress. I've actually trained an unbacked horse to training level! I'm stunned. I'll be the first to admit that he has one of the nicest temperments ever and may be the only horse in the whole world I could have trained. Also, to someone more experienced, this probably seems like a pretty small accomplishment, but to me it is almost impossible.
The test needs a little polish, but its minor except...  The big thing now is improved connection and throughness. Until he has that I won't put him in another competition.
Doug was watching and told me it was better, but it still feels like it needs LOTS of work. Also, even though he did a decent training level test tonight, it felt like my riding was sloppy, like I wasn't helping him to get and stay together. I need to improve in the steadiness of my aids - steady hands and legs, consistent bending aids and preparing him at the correct time.
One glitch - he has started turning on the forehand a bit when he halts. I'll have to ask Joan about it.
Doug and Savanah did very well tonight.


Story said…
It sounds like things are starting to really come together. What a great accomplishment.

I sometimes have troubles with various wiggles on halts. In our case I think it might be a note of we've stopped, where are we going next? Are we rolling back? Time to spin? Another rundown? I think I maybe need to work on just standing and waiting so that she doesn't immediately get to thinking about where we're going next all the time. I'll be curious to hear about how you solve the problem of finishing stops nice and straight.
juliette said…
Congratulations! Well done you and well done Rogo! His sweet temperment combined with your perserverance and look how far you two have come. Hooray!
Jeni said…
Great Job!!! I think you sell yourself short a bit, as Rogo wouldn't be where he is without you! It's great that you know what you can improve on as a rider, which will naturally bring Rogo further.

Stops are hard, they won't be straight if we are not balanced... But then again they want to anticipate our next step. I've had to mix up my routines and throw stops in all over the place to keep it straight.
TeresaA said…
congratulations! progress is always good. Irish will wiggle at the halt if I am not perfectly centred in the saddle and/or have too much contact in one rein.
Carol said…
Thanks everyone for sharing my milestone :)
Sounds like everyone has to be very careful with the halt. I'm going to remember the advice - mix up the stop locations, hold the halt for a period, perfectly centered weight and even reins.
Our poor horses - they really want to please us and 'hear' us. I think Rogo must hear quite a muffled noise at times!
TBDancer said…
Adding my "Well Done!!" to the list here. The horse's temperament is important, but slow and steady work from the rider with a willingness to step back and examine if things don't go well is also important. Rogo is going to surprise you again and again! Continued good work (and as for the muffled noise, just consider yourself a dial radio--you'll learn to tweak that dial so your message will come in loud and clear ;o)
Anonymous said…
That is not a minor accomplishment by any means - biggest congratulations. He may have a sweet, cooperative temperament, but you're the one providing direction and leadership. And your willingness to take things one step at a time, while still asking him to do what he's able to do, are great reasons for your progress.

For the shifting of the hindquarters when halting - try really sinking (mentally and physically) and keep your chin up - look forwards, not at his head - and be sure your legs are relaxed.
achieve1dream said…
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really like the look of yours and can't wait to go back through your archive. I bet I'll learn a lot from reading your posts about starting Rogo since I'll be in that position with Chrome in two years. :) I'm following your blog and although I'm usually pretty busy I will be back to read more.
Jan said…
Congratulations on riding such a good test! I hope you feel wonderfully proud of yourself and your special horse, Rogo! You both are working hard - isn't it terrific when you get such a good ride!