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.