Sunday, September 30, 2012

More First Level Work

Rogo and I have been having a great time, until it got so rainy that riding has been impossible. Here are some updates.
Labour Day Weekend Show
I couldn't have been happier with him. He didn't set a foot wrong, from loading and unloading to doing his tests. Well, let me rephrase that - he did actually set his feet wrong the first time we did Level One test 2 - he did the entire right lead canter routine in left lead! And I didn't notice!! Ugh. On the bright side, he counter canters so easily that the movement was flawless :) He did a perfect 15 m circle, lengthened, shortened and crossed the diagonal, all in counter canter. How embarrassing is that? Luckily I've taught myself not to be embarrassed by our show outings or I wouldn't go :) What I've learned, and it will make a better rider out of me, is that I have to set him up perfectly and aid perfectly to get the lead I want. He is just as likely to counter counter either way - he doesn't have a preference and does both easily. Can horses be ambidextrous? :)
Our scores ranged from 55 for the counter canter test to 64.3 for the next time we rode test 2. He did all his transitions on the mark and rode precise movements. Our negative comments were about rhythm and balance, something I mentioned when preparing for the show. Sue (our teacher) tells me his shoeing is slightly off again, so we'll have to get that fixed very soon.
Here are some pictures from the show:

 I think we're leg yieldingin the above two pictures.

 Clinic With The Judge

I had signed up for a clinic with the judge on the Mon. (it was a long weekend) but ended up wanting to back out because I found her comments on my tests had a nasty edge - not in the constructive criticism vein but in the unremitting there is nothing good about you vein. I'd found someone to take my place, but then got talked out of dropping it. Let's just say I should have dropped it. It was the most confusing and negative riding experience I've ever had. I was called a zoned out robot within my first 30 seconds in the ring, and it went downhill from there.

John MacPherson Clinic

This was a much more positive and instructive experience that we attended last weekend. John has recently returned from a year in Europe and is really on top of his game. Rogo and I rode with one other horse and rider and it went very well. We worked on getting my lower legs quieter (shorter stirrups, taking my legs off and insisting Rogo go forward in rhythm on his own). We also worked a lot on leg yielding across the full width of the arena, in both walk and trot, and cantering when we hit the wall. Rogo does this exercise quite well.
John instructed riders to lean back for down transitions - it gets the horses' hind quarters under them. He also emphasized the importance of a quick response - if a horse is lagging to respond to any aid, i.e. halt, they are also likely to be slow to respond to the rider's other aids. Seems obvious now, but I hadn't noticed this before

Riding Bareback

I've been trying to fit in some bareback rides in an effort to improve my seat. Also, I forgot my saddle at the last clinic, so I had to ride bareback for a day :) . I'm loving it! I'm sure I've mentioned that I once rode Savanah for about 5 months, four times a week, without a saddle. I've only ridden Rogo bareback a handful of times. Anyway, it does seem to be improving my balance and we both enjoy it as something different. We can now canter large and do the leg yield to canter exercise from the clinic. It is so fun, and helpful too.


I haven't done nearly as much as I planned when I brought Rogo home, but we've been out a few times. The most memorable was a nice canter up the beach. Yeah! In the past, cantering on the beach called for an immediate gallop. This time, we had a nice slow canter with no change in rhythm. Yeah Rogo! My friends Maria and Jennifer were with me riding our other two horses Savanah and Dan, and Maria luckily pulled out her phone and got a short video - something to watch in the winter! Here it is:

Tomorrow we return to our teacher's barn, Fraser Equestrian Centre (Sue Fraser) and will be there for the next few months. I'm really looking forward to getting going on our lessons again, and it is definitely time, but I feel a little sick that my bunny rabbit won't be in the backyard anymore :(
But.... soon we'll have our facility built and then Rogo will be with me all the time (should be by spring). Does he have any idea what he instigated? No, but he knows he's loved.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An On-Line Equine Business Management Course

As part of preparing to open our business I'm taking an on-line course in Equine Business Management offered by the University of Guelph. They have a vet school and a lot of equestrian programs. Here is the link to the on-line certificate program, which offers a selection of good courses. I've received very good recommendations about the program and so far I really like my course (it started two weeks ago). There are people in the course from all over Canada and the US, but also from the UK, Africa, Barbados, etc. I'm getting tons of great ideas! I'm also finding some great resources which I'll share if I think it's something any of you might be interested in. Here's one to get you started - Stable Management Magazine - there are tons of great articles.
An optional assignment for this week's studies was to create a Tagxedo. I'd never heard of such a thing. I did one for our business and had so much fun doing it I created one for my blog. Here is my Rogo Tagxedo:

Would you like to make one? It's easy. Here is the site and just go to 'create', then play with theme's, shapes, fonts. etc., then 'save / share ...' (go to advanced in this area and save as a jpeg). That's it.
I'm going to write an update on our business soon. We just got our building permit application in and things are perking right along.
Also, I have some good updates on Rogo that I want to add to our blog. Here are some teasers :) competing at first level, a good clinic, a bad and ugly clinic and moving back to the training barn.
I'm enjoying all of your blogs. Back at you soon!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Word Verification

I hate, loath and despise word verification. It frequently stops me from commenting. Do people really have that much spam they can't manage?