Finally, A Short Training Session

The ring was dry enough today that Doug raked it and I had a short training session with Rogo, probably only about twenty minutes. I kept it short because although the footing was okay, it was still a little wet and also except for the one walk around the pasture this was our first ride in about two and a half weeks.
I'm so happy to be able to ride in our ring already. We had in-ground drainage installed last spring and it made a huge difference. It dries much faster now.
I tried to be intentional in our training session, while recognizing w/he'd be a little stiff. We started with walking - forward, marching, bending in and out, small circles with good rhythm, and keeping a good contact. He pretty much had contact nailed at the walk before the break, but he wanted to put his head up a few times today. Maybe because there's more to look at outside :).
We trotted after that, starting with circles and then going large. He was quite forward today, so circles helped me to gauge when to do the long side.  The time off and being outside have really been a benefit to his energy and forwardness.
After trot circles we did canter circles and then crossed the diagonal and transitioned to trot. The canter was lovely - he had lots of energy but responded nicely to aids.
He was a little stiff throughout and thus our figures weren't perfect, but he was bending and giving me good tries. I didn't do any leg yield or shoulder in, but we did a little shoulder fore each way and that was fine.
What I'm happiest about? Two things:
  1. There were things he did easily last fall that proved a challenge over the winter in the small indoor, and they instantly came back. Phew. For example canter circles and crossing the diagonal in the canter grew challenging at times over the winter and were a non issue today.
  2. That although he was understandably 'up' he also behaved perfectly, without lunging and was a joy to ride. That was the best part!
A couple of cute  Rogo stories:
  1. He's figured out that I give him a treat when he does his left / right bends (previous videos), so now he starts doing the bending to ask for something. He wanted out of his stall today, so he went to his door and started turning his head back to his side and holding it there. I hope I haven't created a monster.
  2. Once I was on him, I realized I'd forgotten to shut a gate and it was standing open in the way of riding. I thought I'd try a little trail class trick and go over and maneuver us into position for me to close it, to save getting off. I got us in position, pushed the gate and made some headway a couple of times, but it was dragging on the ground. While I paused to try to figure out what to do, Rogo turned into it, put his nose against it and pushed it about 18 inches. I thought it was just a fluke, but then he pressed his nose into it again and closed it the rest of the way. How smart is that :). I love my sweet boy.
We've been looking at potential land for the horse business. It's fun. We have another appointment in the morning.


Glad to hear you guys had such a nice ride. It's only going to get better from here on out... better weather, longer days, more riding time. Good luck with the horse property search :)

Val also offers his carrot stretches voluntarily - too funny! I know I've created a monster ;)
Kitanna said…
That is a very smart boy! Carol raised him, so it only makes sense he's so awesome :P
Lexa said…
What a smartie! That's so cute about the gate =] Glad to hear that you had a great ride and that his suppleness in the canter is coming back.
smazourek said…
Love the gate story, what a helpful boy!
Oak Creek Ranch said…
It sounds like you two had a very productive 20 minutes! He does sound very cute with the carrot stretches and the gate.
Anonymous said…
What a funny guy. Horses are so smart:) Glad you were able to get into the saddle. I remember watching your videos of that indoor wondering if it was really that small. That would have been tough to work in!
Rising Rainbow said…
Sounds like you had a good session. Smaller work areas always make things harder for the horse, I think.

The gate story is very cute. Shows how smart he is. BUT I show trail and they frown on horses helping out that way. LOL
Carol said…
Kitanna you're too kind! :)
Thanks for the comments everyone. I love reading them. Rising Rainbow - I kind of thought the judges might frown on the horse helping - darn! :)
Achieve1dream said…
Rogo is so smart! I love those cute stories. He must be so much fun to work with.

Congrats on the awesome ride. I'm glad he's doing so well at home and that his energy is back. Keep up the great work!