We had a lesson with Joan this morning. She has an amazing knowledge of classical dressage and is religious about correct training and super light invisible aids. What I love about her is that no detail or refinement is too small and perfection is the only worthy goal. This is odd, because it doesn't fit the rest of my personality.
She can quote from every old master from the last several hundred years and tell you about training debates across the centuries, various schools of training and style and what country they originated in, etc. She is responsible for my fascination with dressage, and Doug's as well. She is an older woman who's main teacher and mentor studied in Europe during Podhajsky's time with some of the people you'll see mentioned in his books. Joan was on her way to study at the Spanish Riding School when life circumstances intervened (parental health problems) and she didn't go. Although hip problems prevent her from riding now, she's a wonderful teacher to have and a rare treasure for someone living in rural Nova Scotia. Together with Cheryl, who's experience and knowledge are wonderful, we have a great teaching team. Cheryl really knows about starting young horses and has helped me immensely. I should do a little biography on both of them, as they are both very interesting people.
I don't think Joan knows what to make of Rogo at times. She's worked with a lot of Thoroughbreds, Anglo-Arabs and other hot, sensitive horses. I know warmbloods can be very forward and sensitive too, but some aren't and Rogo isn't. He needs a good long warm up and then he's great, but he doesn't come out ready to work in the first 10 minutes. Since we usually drive Joan to the barn with us and I don't want to have her sit around in the cold, Rogo doesn't get a long warm up before our lesson starts. I'm not too happy with that. I think next week I'll go over first and then Doug and Joan can go over together.
Today worked fine over all though. Joan worked on stretching the horse forward and down on a 20 M trot circle as the focus of the lesson. Rogo actually loves to do this and will stretch his nose pretty much to the ground. If I can get him steering well and staying nicely forward in his trot he'll score well on this move. Savanah doesn't stretch as well on the circle yet (she does a great free walk), but she does a better shaped circle and keeps a better, forward rhythm.I tried wearing spurs with Rogo for the first time at the end of the lesson. I was trying so hard not to touch him with them accidentally that my legs got stiff and although I didn't touch him my legs were moving forward and back way too much. When I did use them on him (very lightly), he responded well - not too strongly but a good response to forward or sideways. I rode Savanah with spurs, but it's easier to stay quiet on her. I may leave the spurs for a while, or just put them on for a few minutes at the end of a ride occasionally to try to get my legs quiet and working well with them.