First Ride of 2011
I had a great lesson with Cheryl on Sun. It started with her longing me on Rogo. We worked on my exercises, particularly to relax / loosen my hips at the beginning while he walked. Then we worked on getting a good working trot, (no stirrups - yikes!) which we did fairly quickly. Then she wanted me to hold a better position in my canter. Well to be clear, I wanted to as well, but am stuck quite often in still thinking I have to PUSH him in the canter and my heels tend to come up. He's carrying his canter quite well most of the time and I don't want to teach him to only respond to a heavy aid, but it's hard to build new muscle memory. Anyway, after a few tries, knowing she was keeping his canter I got my position corrected and maintained it into the trot transition (another challenge, my foot goes forward).
Then we took the longe line off and worked on cantering across the diagonal and changing leads. He's done this outside for awhile, but the indoor is smallish and he hasn't done it in there. I learned from one of the clinic videos I watched that with a young horse you may succeed with canter steering by asking several strides before you need the movement because it takes them some time to process the ask. I tried this and it worked first try! He cantered across the diagonal, trotted, picked up the opposite lead and continued on. We did it twice, but I was too tired to do any more. It amazes me how much energy is needed to ride him, even when he's forward and well behaved as he was yesterday. How will I ever hold it together through an entire test? They are deceptively tiring, I know from showing Savanah, and Rogo's bigger movement makes him more taxing to ride, although I LOVE it.
I need to improve my fitness so more longe work. I'm also taking joint supplements (Joints First - a recommendation from my 86 year old Mom) and have found a big improvement in my lower back pain. Boy, do I sound old or what? (Don't answer that.)
We did some leg yield practice (still a challenge) and some halts. For the second ride in a row he did these square ramener (beginning of collection) type halts. It might be a fluke, but I think a good halt is coming. He gets off track so easily though - I have to completely take my legs off the second the halt happens, or he thinks some kind of turning should be required.
I want to clarify something from my previous post '2010's Top 10'. I mentioned I'd been competition manager for a dressage show. I was, but it was my first time as a show organizer (an Equine Canada Show) and I had lots of experienced help. I learned so much. Anyway, I'm afraid I made myself sound more experienced than I am. I used my past event management experience, read lots of resource material and we had a great team that pulled it all together.
Jennifer and her friend Maria came to the barn after I rode Rogo, and Jen rode Dan again while Maria took pictures. Free jumping first, then riding. She did great with him again so I'm very happy about that. I'm lucky to have found a good rider like her to ride him and she feels happy about it too, so it's win / win.
Here are a couple of pictures that Maria took: