Doug and I have a Lesson With Joan

We had a great lesson with Joan yesterday. We worked on so many things - at my request! After warming up we worked on ramener - introduction to collection. It goes: push with seat, squeeze with legs, light as air feel with hands - very quickly in that order - hold (feel needed, a few strides at this point) and release. It engages the hindquarters and lightens the forehand and prepares the horse for future collection. A quick on /off of this aid gives a half halt (although from my reading it seems there are more versions of the half halt aid than heinz has pickles, perhaps useful in different situations, i.e. one side, both sides, etc.).
We tried this at all three gaits, with varying levels of success. Rogo seems to be one of these horses who does better at canter than trot. He doesn't really want to trot, needs lots of encouragement to trot, gets a little cranky when first asked to trot, etc. However once he's warmed up at the walk he'll happily canter and try hard to understand and respond to the new things we're trying - lengthening and shortening stride, a little counter canter (will have to go on hold until we can ride outside again in the spring), 20 and 15 m circles, etc. He doesn't ace them all by a long shot, but he tries and is happy to work on them. Trot is a different story, so the ramener in trot was less than stellar :)
On a side note - does anyone care to offer an opinion as to whether Rogo is likely to become more willing to work in the trot as his training progresses? He gets better the longer the ride goes on, and by the end of a ride he is responding much better in trot.
Savanah is the opposite - she does better in the trot than the canter.
We also worked on shoulder in and halt. Both Rogo and Savanah are making good progress there (well, Savanah already has an excellent straight, square halt).
Our daughter and Doug's father and brother showed up. It was fun.
Here is a picture of Rogo in the cross ties getting tacked up for our lesson:

On a completely different note, I got some great responses to my last post, about how people's horses communicate with them. It's fascinating. Thanks very much for all of the shared stories.



You aren't kidding about all the half halt info / versions / styles out there lol!

It's interesting that Rogo is less than willing at the trot until he's well warmed up. Has he had any chiro or massage?

That's a great photo of him in the crossties :)
Oak Creek Ranch said…
I love reading your blog. We have so much in common -- similar age, training our horses from scratch and loving the journey -- and having husbands who ride. Mine primarily does mounted patrol but with our new trainer, he has been seriously bit by the dressage bug.

I had a lot of issues with Jackson that were resolved through chiro and massage. I highly recommend it if you aren't using them already.
Carol said…
Thanks for the suggestions. I may give chiro and massage a try and see if that helps. Otherwise, I'll just have to plan on long watm ups. Partly I think he just gets bored with trotting around inside.
Annette - my husband used to ride western, then tried dressage one day and there was no going back! :) I didn't realize you were training Jackson from scratch. I'm going to read from the beginning of your blog so I can get the whole story that you've written about so far.