Thursday, August 18, 2011

Savanah's Training Goals

Since Doug hasn't been able to ride Savanah for months (he has a bad hip), I've taken over riding her, and I love it (riding her, not his bad hip). She's the horse I started dressage on (although she's Doug's horse) and I showed her my first summer of showing, getting me hooked. She's the ultimate fun horse and horse to get started competing on - she's nicely and easily forward, very responsive to aids, and very safe. I'm 100% comfortable cantering bareback on her on the beach or through the woods, she's that safe and easy.
She was a very nervous and anticipative horse when I started doing dressage with her, and she blossomed with it. She gained confidence, stopped anticipating and generally shone. She ended her first summer of competing as Training Level champion for our Provincial Seahorse Circuit. She's a perfect example of a nonwarmblood doing well (she's a draft cross with the emphasis on draft, of unknown parentage, although I think Percheron is a safe bet as part of it).
At the end of her first show season she showed level one. Doug tried her, loved it, dropped his western riding and went back to riding her and doing dressage and I moved to Rogo. Doug showed her at Training Level as well, last summer, and he also did well with her placing high including firsts in their classes. Because Doug started at the beginning and then didn't show this year she hasn't advanced in her training, but she is VERY good at what she does - push button. She needs to confirm lengthening and shortening her canter, trot lengthening and counter canter (she does it all well sometimes but it isn't 100% consistent) to be rock solid in all Level One movements. She does some of Level Two well too - shoulder in and walk canter came very easily and she's well on her way to 10 m canter circles, and canter / walk. Generally collecting is easier for her than extending.
So my training goals will be to get her consistent in all Level One movement and advance with Level Two. For the end of Sept. I'd like:
  1. 100% consistent in shortening her canter without breaking to trot
  2. a distinct lengthened stride when asked in trot (not speeding up)
  3. balanced, confident counter canter loop to the center line and back (she gets it now, but it needs to be 'easier' for her)
  4. canter / walk with only one trot step (or none)
  5. for me - ride all of Level One test one bareback without a hitch or slight loss of balance (this needs to be done with balancing from the core, not gripping with the legs). I can almost do this some days (I can ride it, but I want it to be flawless), and when I go back to the saddle it feels so 'with her'.
Ideas for exercises to keep this interesting without drilling movements are always welcome!


Savanah with Dan
Doug and Savanah competing, summer 2010


4 comments:

Annette said...

How funny - you are riding Doug's horse and I'm riding Brett's. Savannah does sound wonderful - especially cantering bareback. I used to do that on Starman and Auke. Jackson isn't ready for that yet.

Carol said...

Poor Brett and Doug :(
Rogo isn't ready for bareback either, at least outside the ring.

Val said...

Savannah is a very pretty horse. She sounds like the perfect horse to have fun with at shows. I love how dressage training can improve a horse's body and mind.

achieve1dream said...

I hope Doug's hip gets better so he can start riding again. I bet he misses it.

To break things up I would think setting up an obstacle/trail course and schooling movements between obstacles or just schooling movements out on the trail would be fun. :) Since she used to anticipate I definitely wouldn't do the test in order, but you could do it out of order. Sort of like the weight lifting I'm doing, they say mix up the exercise during each section and not to do it in order or our muscles adapt and don't get the most benefit from it. I don't know if that applies to horses, but I guess it could. :)