Well we did it. Today Doug's and my offer was accepted for a piece of land. We bought 135 acres, 5 minutes from the 102 (the Trans Canada Highway). We are very excited!
Thinking of a horse business, this location is ideal - it's central in the Province and there aren't any back roads to travel over to get there (easy with a trailer), yet it is pure rural. It's only about 10 minutes to Truro (a large town) and 40 minutes to Halifax (Atlantic Canada's biggest city and NS's capital). It's also close and convenient to get to from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
We'll take our time now and think about what we want to do. Maybe it will just be an investment for the future, or maybe we'll develop it as a horse business sooner rather than later. We need more market research and work on our business plan before we decide if / when to move, but it was the right location for the right price so we took it. We feel sure the land is a good investment even if we don't do a horse business. It's a little scary, especially at our age, to embark on a major business investment - but at least most of the investment is in land or buildings :)
Back to training journal writing - I'm slowly but surely realizing (no one will ever accuse me of being a quick study when it comes to dressage) that Rogo, for whatever reason (young? big? genes?) isn't like any other horse I've ever ridden. He is REALLY different almost every time I ride him. When I first backed him I thought it was because he was so young and inexperienced. I could never develop feel with him, because he always felt different. With Dan and Savanah and other lesson horses I've ridden, I pretty much know what I'm going to get. They may be a bit more frisky on a windy cool day and a bit slower on a hot day, but that's about it. With Rogo, the only generalization I can make is that he's more forward spring and fall. However, that doesn't mean he's forward every ride spring and fall (and I've been very careful not to over do it). He can be extremely forward one ride, and two days later he can be slow, slow, slow, after a day off. I'm sure he isn't uncomfortable because he's soft and happy, just low energy.
I've talked to the vet about this, given supplements, experimented with his diet but I can't connect anything to the dramatic change in energy. It's disconcerting to try to plan a warm up or a ride when you have no idea until you're on him what kind of ride it's going to be. That wouldn't be so bad, but how do you plan your ride at a show? This is my big question if anyone has any advice. It could be he'll need a lengthy (40 minutes or so) warm up with lots of bending and canter work to get energized, or he may just need 10 minutes to get supple on days when his energy is good.
I hope this doesn't sound like complaining because he's really fun and has a great personality. Matter if fact I can't imagine riding another horse now - he's just too much fun. Some days it feels like magic. I'm just thinking out loud and continually puzzled by this.
Ride before last, almost from his first step, I felt like I could have taken him into a show the next day. Yesterday it took at least 25 minutes to get him to connect and become more forward. Dear knows what it will be next ride.
This is a challenge for me, because warm up routines and a planned training session make me feel like we're having a productive ride and getting somewhere, whether it's true or not :). Maybe it would help me if I developed a slow, medium and forward bag of tricks I could draw on, within broad parameters, so I wouldn't have to try to figure out spontaneously what to do. That will be my goal for my next post.
Meantime, the broad parameters:
- don't expect connection and rounding until he's warmed up, whether this is a minute or 20 minutes, and be ready for either
- improve his response to moving forward and laterally from my leg aid
- focus on our weaker areas: the stretchy trot circle, riding the canter trot transition, leg yield