Riding Update

It's been so long since I posted I don't know where to start. Guess I'll start with recent stuff and work back, but will probably jump around. To tell the truth, my schooling isn't progressing on the path it should. I'm very troubled about a dear friend in a bad situation, a situation she can't see her way out of and which I'm helpless to change.This sucks the life out of me. Even putting a saddle on a horse seems like a lot of work, let alone having a forward, focused ride. So I walk, bareback. That comforts me. Rogo is new to bareback, so this is good for both of us. Enough said about that.
Prior to this bad situation (my friend) fully coming to light I was focusing on getting more impulsion at the trot. My approach, and I'll get back to it, was to ride twice a day for about 20 minutes each time, and do nothing but forward trot after warming up. Circle at each end and down the long side, forward, forward, forward until it is muscle memory and natural. I also hacked out a bit (more on that), but schooling sessions were just as I described.
I will only try this approach (when I resume) for a few days or a week, then mix it up more. I don't want him to get sour but I think by doing it in short bursts and taking him out of the ring he should be fine. Before that I did the same thing with the walk and he now marches briskly forward quite well with little prompting. I really saw a difference. Even when I got slack and forgot to keep up the walk rhythm he was carrying it in a forward way on his own. So this has been a plus for Sept.
I had my first canter on the beach with Rogo a couple of weeks ago. He was tired from ring work and the sand was deep, so I thought now is the time. I knew he'd want to take off because he loves a forward canter, and sure enough we had a little hand gallop before settling into a working canter. I kept it fairly short and it was great. I'm sure he'd be fine if I let him go, and if I was younger and braver I probably would have. I can't help but be a little nervous about just letting him go though. I want to make sure he's responding to me before I let him go all out. When I got Dan (my Appaloosa)  he was only five and I let him break into a gallop on the beach (this is when I was newly back to riding after 30 years) and he bucked me off. This was before I discovered he had a broken tooth with a bare nerve, but I'm still nervous about just letting a green horse decide to gallop in an open area. I guess that's probably a good thing.
On the way home home Rogo spotted some cows on top of the bank looking down at him and he FREAKED. This was a first for him. He ran backwards onto the mud flats; not good. If you've read my blog long you know he isn't typically a spooky horse, but he doesn't like environments he's used to to change. It got so bad I dismounted and led him until he couldn't see the cows and then got back on and rode home. I've had him back once, but only part way past the area where the cows were. He didn't try to stop, but I'm going to take it slow. It would be ideal if we could go with Savanah, but with Doug not able to ride that isn't happening.
Speaking of Doug, he's been to a natureopath and is on supplements to help his arthritis, so we're hoping for some improvement.
Recently a friend, Jennifer, came to ride Savanah and she took her over some jumps. Savanah hasn't jumped in years, but was jumped before we bought her. She seemed to really enjoy herself, pulling to head for the jump as Jennifer circled at one end. They both did great and I hope there's a repeat. I'll have to get some pictures.
This is getting long and I have more updates, so will have to get back to posting more frequently.
Sorry I haven't been commenting much. I'm reading when I can. 
Thanks for all of the feedback on my last post. It seemed to be a popular topic (speaking dressage) and I got some really funny comments and great ideas for a dictionary :)


Oak Creek Ranch said…
Its good to hear from you. You are smart to not just let Rogo go when he wants to gallop on the beach. They do tend to get exuberant and buck... and I'm with you, not so much into bucking at this point in my life.
One of the benefits of training at home and doing it ourselves (with lessons when possible) is that we can back off and just chill when life gets hard. Chill time is important time. It builds the bond.
Jeni said…
I was beginning to wonder and was going to shoot you an email this week.

Sorry to hear about your friend going through a rough patch.

Sounds like you are enjoying your horses though. I would LOVE to gallop down a beach. That is a bucket list item for me.
juliette said…
So glad to hear from you - I get worried sometimes about blogging friends disappearing.

I am sorry about your friend. I think you are doing the right thing by riding bareback on Rogo and just relaxing your nerves about outside worries. Horses help us through so much.

Crazy cows and sweet Rogo. When I was 14 years old I was on a ride with a group of friends from my lesson barn and we came upon a bucking, cantering cow in a pasture. Our horses freaked out. We survived, but it was scary!
Margaret said…
Imagine if you had been at a full gallop when those cows came in to view overhead? ! Posting is SO new to me (I am western and bareback rider) and will most likely never show, but I do love how FAST I cant trot (or is it jog) when I post. Ring work AND trail riding is the best AND mixing bareback i to the equation if one can.
smazourek said…
Sorry to hear your friend isn't doing well, but at least the hubs is doing better, right?

I hope the new property has been shaping up well, I can understand that taking up most of your time!
Lexa said…
Good to hear from you again! Hopefully the friend situation gets better. I totally agree about not letting a green horse just have at it, but wasn't so smart about it when I was younger. So much more at stake now if one of us gets injured! And whether there were good rides or not, I'm insanely jealous of you being able to ride on the beach.
AC Quigley said…
Horses are so versatile I find that I can do activities to suit my mood too, focused schooling on a day of full concentration to a relaxed hack out when I need to disconnect.
Sorry that your friend is having a rough time but you are probably helping more than you realise by just being there for her.
And I agree about not letting a horse go totally in open spaces - I always prefer to be able to repeat the exercise rather than be too scared to try again!
Jan said…
Carol, I, too, have missed hearing from you. I'm sorry about the situation with your friend. Oh, I do hope you aren't too hard on yourself about Rogo's progress; sometimes we just have to regroup and refresh certain basics.

Your rides recently sound really good - your approach to developing impulsion sounds wonderful! So sorry that dear Rogo spooked at the cows. Glad you handled it well.

Post when you can. We love to hear from you!
Carol said…
Thanks you guys! It's nice to hear from everyone and to know you noticed I was gone :)
Yes, I'm glad I wasn't galloping when the cows appeared :)
Achieve1dream said…
I bet that was a little scary with the cows. My sister's horse was terrified of cows. Maybe you could take him for a walk and use the clicker?

I hope your friend finds a way out of her situation and I hope the supplements help Doug. I know how tough it can be to have a friend in trouble and not know how to fix it or help.

I would love to see pictures/video of Savanah jumping. So fun!