I got the kindest, most interesting and helpful comments when I wrote a post entitled Training - How to Time Things and Gauge Progress. The hands down consensus was not to even think about it too much, best summed up by Jeni (Super Size My Cob) when she said "it takes as long as it takes". My teacher Joan has always said fast is slow and slow is fast when it comes to dressage.
I want to touch on some of the interesting points and highlights of the comments.
TBDancer told an interesting story of starting her OTTT as a four and a half year old. He sounds wonderful. She said that both Secretariat and Seattle Slew would fall down as young horses when they tried to run. I hate to admit it, but this made me feel better. Something scared Rogo when I was on him one day shortly after I backed him and he tried to run away and immediately fell down. I probably shouldn't admit to that clumsiness, but he was VERY clumsy :). I'm happy to report he's much better now and continuing to improve, but boy, there were times... I think Joan used to despair :)
Shannon from A Work In Progress shared her experience too in training her horse. I love reading her training posts as they're very helpful so I was impressed to read about her philosophy to keep it slow. She pointed out that dressage horses often compete at the highest levels into their late teens, something you don't see very often in other disciplines.
Grey Horse Matters told the story of her once in a life time horse, a 17.2 Dutch Warmblood gelding - Wow! Unfortunately it seems a trainer rushed him and he became fearful and confused. What a lesson in that. Seems he didn't start connecting with his training until he was seven. I can see that happening. The saddle fitter said she thinks Rogo will grow until he's seven and I met someone at the show this past weekend who's horse is amazing and just coming into his own at seven. She's an FEI level rider but happily showing her seven year old at training level and he exudes sweetness when in the line up but knocks everyone's socks off and hauls in scores in the 70's when doing a test. Good for them.
Kate from A Year With Horses wrote a post entitled What Is Progress. Highly readable, as all of her writing is. She echoes the take as long as it takes sentiment.
Jan from A Thousand Pounds of Fragile Horse added her encouragement. She is making great progress with her horse and always has kind words for Rogo and I as we find our way.
Dressage:Equilibrium Through Horses is passionate about classical dressage and the time it takes. She's starting a mailing list of like minded people. You can sign up here.
So I learned some interesting things about my fellow bloggers and their horses and training. I got told on on uncertain terms (in the nicest way possible) not to think about how long things take. And I gained confidence that it's okay to go slow. Not bad for a simple post. If you aren't already reading the linked blogs they're well worth checking out.
As a final note, I rode again today and Rogo was even more hyped up than yesterday. Who is he and what has he done with Rogo? It was all good - I longed first and then had a great, energetic ride. I love the forward!