Thursday, November 24, 2011

Where To Start....

I'm continuing lessons three times a week at Fraser Equestrian Center and I'm blown away by the difference it makes. Rogo is becoming much more forward and round. I don't know if other people are like this, but when I'm with a good teacher I can do things I can't do on my own. Even when I'm physically capable of something and understand the concept, it just doesn't work for me without a coach. Take forward for instance - I worked HARD at getting it, understood the concepts and methods, could get when Joan was with me (which was rare), but couldn't get it consistently on my own. With a teacher pushing us we're building the ability to go into a forward trot naturally.
I posted when I started lessons a couple of weeks ago about the well timed and meaningful kick instead of nagging to get forward. I had to do it a lot! Now I've learned to time it for effectiveness so I hit the 'driving' point correctly and we don't loose rhythm (most of the time). I have to do it much less often now and Rogo carries the forward on his own more effectively. We're also starting each lesson with lunging for forward in trot, so it sets the tone and helps him understand what we're looking for.
I've been feeling different about my riding too - more secure. Writing this is sure to lead to a fall :) , but I've got a different sense of confidence. Ironically (or maybe not), with Rogo going forward more strongly, I'm 'with' him and feel more settled in the saddle. This makes sense in that he has to lift his back more to get the forward, so it's easier to ride. I can actually sit this trot better than the slow one (although it still has a long way to go). The improvement in confidence is helped by confidence in my teacher - she sets a tone and energy in the arena that both Rogo and I believe we can do it and then we do. The lunge lessons I had really helped too, and I need to get more of them.
I worry that Rogo could get stressed by the new expectations and work ethic, but so far so good. He still greats me at the stall door or pasture gate and pushes his head into his halter. He still loves to be loved :).
He's been rebelling at the canter, not wanting to steer and really pushing back, so that's something to keep an eye on. His canter has always been forward (it was just the trot that was the problem), so now his already forward canter, in his mind, needs to go up a notch too? I'm not sure what is causing this but he only wants to go fast, in straight lines. I have to really focus on getting a controlled canter and using a strong outside rein and leg to keep him on a circle. To be honest it gets a little over the top at times, but today it was a little better.
The last time I stayed overnight in the trailer it was -8 C. and I ran out of propane - yikes! I hooked up a back up tank, which seemed empty too, and then went to a garage for another tank, which didn't work, so I spent the night with many layers of clothes on, under many layers of blankets. It was COLD! Turned out, and I'm embarrassed to say this, I was switching the tank to the generator and not to the inside of the trailer. I could have sworn I knew which was which. I'm blaming Doug...
Today I did something that scares the hell out of me - I signed up, with Doug and Sue's encouragement, for two days of riding in the Cindy Ishoy clinic that will be held at Sue's on Dec. 9, 10 and 11th. I told Doug I'm afraid I'll be a train wreck. I still don't have the stamina I need to ride Rogo effectively and without that my aids aren't as effective as they should be after 10 or 15 minutes. A walk break helps, but will I get one? Should I ask? Will I just fall apart? That isn't out of the question. I need to be able to process and react to information my teacher is giving me much faster and more effectively.


7 comments:

Nina said...

I totally agree about being able to do it in a lesson and having trouble when you are on your own. In my lessons I push boundaries and when I am at home and on my own I ride it 'safe'. 3 lessons a week would be awesome!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

I know exactly what you mean about the lessons / performance thing, although I'm having to push myself out of it since there are no lessons in sight for a while...

My trailer is pretty cold too - not by your standards I'm sure. You Canadians are hearty. :) My furnace needs repair so I'm relying on electric heat - please no power outages!!

Sounds like you and Rogo are doing great. Regarding the clinic, no stress - as my grandma used to say, "Don't borrow trouble!" You'll be fine :)

Christine said...

3 lessons a week is a great program. Lessons are so wonderful and really think people miss out by the usual one lesson a week program. How often do we go to school when we are kids? Every day! The more often, the better right? Of course, pricing becomes an issue!!! There are a few instructors out there who have this idea though of more instruction is better so their fees are more acceptable.

Your progress sounds great!

Val said...

-8 dC does not sound pretty, although it does get that cold here later in the year. Yikes.

I think that the great thing about coaching is that the teacher will push you in the right direction, whereas it is so easy to push yourself in the wrong direction when you are at home. A lot of times my teacher tells me "not to work so hard" and then shows me what needs to change. This usually feels easier than what I was doing on my own. A good teacher will definitely make you ride above your level. Three lessons a weeks sounds fabulous. I have barely had three lessons this year!

About Rogo, a (correctly) forward horse is a safe horse and easier to ride. Great work!

Me, baby and horses said...

well done to you having 3 lessons a week would be awesome, having someone on the ground coaching you they always see whats happening as whole and can then give you the right advice, I find it the same when I am home alone I can't seem to get that consistency, but with someone on the ground talking you through things is so good, good luck you will doing grand prix before you know it!!!

Lori Skoog said...

No doubt about it, working with a good teacher makes a big difference, and 3 lessons a week should do the trick.

As for that clinic coming up...go for it.

achieve1dream said...

I had a friend who asked for walk breaks in a clinic. Nothing wrong with that at all! I hope you have fun.

That's sort of funny about the heat in your trailer, but totally sucks you had to sleep in the cold. Yick!

I love lessons for all the reasons you mentioned! I don't know why it is so helpful, but I'm glad it is. Keep up the great work!