Thursday, April 7, 2011

What I Want To Remember

I tend to get nervous when I think about showing Rogo, and show season is coming up. There's good reason for this, in that he's the first horse I've backed and taken to their first shows, and I'm getting older and not that experienced. He gets very excited in new places and he has in the past galloped off with me at Cheryl's. Also, he's over 17 hands now (I'll measure him this week, but he's grown and was 17 hands a year ago).
The things I want to remember revolve around the following: he's a year older than his first shows, and he did fine there. Yesterday I rode him in the pasture, not a hack out, but much more exciting for him then the riding ring and due to rain, he hasn't had a good workout in close to a week. He was bouncy with excitement, wanting to go, go, go. I did lots of walking shoulder in and leg yield (they're still rough, but coming) both ways and it is so apparent that he does them better when he's up like this. Then we did trotting. He'd surge forward and a year ago he would have broken to a canter almost instantly when in one of these moods, but he kept a nice trot and came back to a halt as soon as I asked, standing, yet eager to go forward. We'd trot off and repeat. I kept the session quite short because he did so well and the footing wasn't good - rough and a little slippery in places to be honest.
After this I took the dogs for a walk on the beach and the sun was shining, waves crashing, wind blowing and it was wonderful. It finally felt like spring! I celebrated my great afternoon with a glass of red wine and began to reflect on my ride. Any experienced horse person is going to roll their eyes and wonder at my 'slowness', so I'll just say that I did know this stuff (that I'm about to discuss) on the surface, but somehow it hadn't been internalized. What I realized is that this is how I want Rogo - it isn't to be 'controlled', it's to be celebrated. When backing a horse, you may be a little cautious and maybe even lunge first if they are a little over the top in their excitement, but we're past that. I love these rides when he's so forward, yet I feel nervous about having him at a show when he's like this. What I need to remember is that this is when he's at his best, this is how he should be presented at a show, he's proving to me that I can trust him to listen when he's up.
I'm not suggesting that I suddenly expect him to be as trust worthy as Savanah at a show and put sensible caution aside. I am realizing he's responding well to his training and I need to let go of my show fears and enjoy the fun boy he is.

9 comments:

juliette said...

This sounds right to me, Carol. They are supposed to have fun when they are with us and at liberty too. Harnessing his excitement and using it to get the gorgeous trot you want is a perfect example. It is scary, because it is a fine line - especially at a new place, like a show. You want him to be happy and a little giddy, but not in a panic.

This letting go of fears is hard. I don't show, but riding off the property for me is similar. Both horses are bored with our farm and like the adventure when I am not fearful. They become forward and willing and walk out so nicely off our property, but if I have an ounce of fear, then it crosses the line into them being out of control.

Your Rogo has an extra help - his adoration for you. That means that he will listen to you at shows even when he is nervous and excited. Knowing that should help. He wants to please you! You are right - trust him - he will listen to you.

Barbara said...

Nothing to add to Juliette's excellent advice except encouragement. We have to work through the nervous part to get to the relaxed part. I haven't taken Nina out to school cross country yet and I am divided between being sure we will end up bolting to Kansas, and wanted us both to have fun.

smazourek said...

Well, it will take guts and it will be a bit scary- but nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you're too scared to take him to a show you'll never know how brilliant he could be.

Which is easy enough for me to say considering I have a horse that I'll probably never be able to show because she WILL lose her mind...

Rising Rainbow said...

Lots of trainers don't ever want to see that kind of excitement in a horse. They lunge them for hours it that's what it takes to be sure the horses are tired and hopefully beyond that. For me, that's not what good training is about. It's about having that excited horse that wants to work for you and be good despite the excitement. The horse that can do that is definitely brilliant and looks ever more so next to that dull exhausted horses most trainers show. And sure it comes in stages getting that kind of cooperation from the horse that is excited but so worth it and very much on track in the training process, I think.

I would say don't just trust your horse, trust yourself. Your goals to do what is best for this horse are right on track. Believe in that and you'll have the confidence that Rogo needs to lean on just in case that line gets close for him.

Carol said...

Thanks for the comments. They are definitely helpful. Rising Rainbow I really appreciate the feedback from someone like you who is really experienced in the show world - your comments help me gain confidence :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

What Juliette said is so true. Our horses can feel the least bit of fear and reluctance, but they also know our hearts. Rogo trusts you and you are a fine pair. :)

achieve1dream said...

Sounds like a wonderful light bulb moment. :) And we don't think you're slow lol. You know your horse better than anyone and you'll know when you both are ready. From what you wrote today I think you're ready. When is the first show of the season? You guys are going to do great.

Jan said...

Carol, You are very insightful, thinking through these thoughts about Rogo's energy levels, and what they mean. I know you say you feel nervous about going to shows, but I also see a confidence growing in you, from your insights about Rogo. And your increased knowledge of various ways to address his needs when his energy is up. Such an interesting post!

Carol said...

Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate them. Jan I'm glad you mentioned you can see a change in me. I'm too close to it to see it, but having you say that helps build the confidence I need.