Waiting For Fall / Winter Training To Begin

With a sub-theme of how different horses respond to training intensity...

Rogo is healing nicely from his sarcoid surgery. The wound site looks good and the stitches are coming out tomorrow. Then, wait for it, I take him to Fraser Equestrian Center for November and December with Atlantic Canada's only (I think) level three dressage coach Sue Fraser and her incredibly talented sister Jane Fraser to give us lessons. I'm going to keep doing the lunge lessons with Jane for my equitation, and I'll ride Rogo for three lessons a week with Sue.
We haven't really worked very hard since we were at dressage camp there in early Aug. First Rogo cut his leg, then some things happened that threw me for a loop, then the surgery and bingo, it's Nov. already. I'd had my heart set on doing level one next year, but it will take some work to get training level consistent again, and although I scored mid 60's in my July test clinic I wouldn't say we were consistent mid 60's. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that with steady work under good instruction we'll make significant progress though.
Savanah's the type of horse that even if you're off her for weeks you get back on and pick up where you left off. With Rogo, if he's off for more than three days it takes weeks to get him back where he was. I'm not sure if it's just because he's younger, or because they have different personalities. Opinions / experience with this question?
To digress onto the topic of Savanah for a moment, she is doing GREAT! With Doug not riding she only gets ridden two or three times a week, often bareback and often just for fifteen minutes or so. Yet she's the one who has really made great progress this summer. She is now consistent, solid and precise in all level one movements, and she wasn't at the beginning of the summer. Even with this limited amount of riding I wouldn't hesitate to take her into a show tomorrow in any level one test and I'm sure she'd do well. After riding her the other day I realized how far Rogo is from this. He can do all of the movements, some quite well, but he doesn't have her precision, especially with his circles or a good trot lengthening and shortening. If Doug isn't showing in the spring I'm going to start competing her again.
Okay, back to Rogo. He needs a mix of activities to keep from getting bored, and of course training the same thing every day is a recipe for lameness, but having said that, he thrives on harder work. He gets more energized, accurate and responsive when he works harder (within reason of course). He's been this way pretty much since he's been backed. He won't be all crazy let's go, go, go when he gets to Sue's, because of rest and time off. He'll be " damn, work? seriously?, well okay... here's a little trot, ..." and it will take at least a week to get up to speed, no pun intended. That's my prediction. I'll check back on it next week.
Now, I need your help. This is my first time boarding at a serious dressage barn. The other day on my way to a lunge lesson I realized I'd forgotten my helmet and stopped and bought one. I couldn't help myself - when they had this bright blue one that matched my jacket perfectly I bought it.

It's a matchy matchy sickness. So here's the question and be honest. Save me from myself if need be. Should I hide the sky blue helmet except when I'm home alone and can enjoy it's glowing, heart lightening color privately, or is it okay to wear it at the dressage barn occasionally? I think Joan might look askance at it, and I've had even my grey and pearl bead brow band called gaudy, so I think I know the answer :( ...
Just to be clear, I adore beautiful, classic black and white show clothes. My color love is for schooling only.
You'll see from the picture that I've lost my half chaps so I need a new pair of those too. And no, I'm not buying blue ones :) Also you can see I'm riding Rogo bare back. While waiting for his incision to heal (it's close to the girth area), I've had two or three short bareback rides. I love it and he seems to like it too. We work on 10 m figure eight trot circles (he can do them quite well most of the time) leg yield (his hind quarters are still lagging but getting better), and a bit of trying to sit his working trot. Also we did canter circles a couple of times and I want to increase my confidence with those transitions. If I weren't going to Sue's I think I'd spend most of the winter bare back. As it is, I think I'll use it for cool down time.
Sue only has room for us until the end of Dec., so if nothing opens up there we'll be looking for another indoor at that time, and lessons will be up in the air again. Hopefully my next post will be reporting on our initial lessons at Fraser Equestrian Center!


Val said…
Good report!

I think it would be neat to take Savannah out and still have Rogo to work on which ever level he is ready for in the spring.

I like the blue.
Anonymous said…
I also have an unconventional helmet. When I'm around a dressage crowd i put a cover on it, but it's more about me feeling like an oddball. I wouldn't think anything of it if i saw you in it, but dressage is known for its divAs! I'M surprised anyone would say anything about the brow band. Fancy brow bands are the rage around my area.
I have a great great grandmother named Fraser from that part of Canada.I wonder if we're related:-)
Oak Creek Ranch said…
Wear the blue helmet! When I had Auke at a big dressage barn, there was another boarder who decked her horse out for lessons and clinics in matching royal blue polo wraps, saddle pad, her shirt and if she could've she would've worn your helmet. They looked awesome! and it was so refreshing to see color.
I think the Rogo issue is just Rogo. Auke was like that -- a few days off and it was like starting over again; he was smart and would sit in his stall plotting on how to get out of work; he was tremendously talented with huge gaits but man he made you work for it. Jackson recovers from time off in a day or two. I'm still not used to it. He lives to work. I'm not used to that either. His gaits are pretty average, not huge, but energetic and I love his work ethic. They all have their strengths and challenges... it's part of the journey.
Jeni said…
Rogo is Rogo - He is your challenge horse. He's going to make you work for your ride, but when you get it right he will reward you, and you will grin.

Savannah is your "steady eddy" horse. Enjoy them both! I think you should show her this spring too along with Rogo.

Enjoy your indoor arena ~ I've boarded at high end Dressage barns. With my little grade Paint mare, riding in my western saddle.. so wear your blue helmet, and blue saddle pads and polo wraps while schooling! oh and don't fret about your brow band either.
Wear your blue helmet with pride! I'm well known for my eclectic schooling attire. I have two pair of the most obnoxious yellow and grey breeches that I just love wearing. They're my favorites. I think they'd look quite swell with a pretty blue helmet, actually.

Every horse is individual in their training "style". Spider loves short, intense workouts, but he loses his spark if he's ridden more than 5 days week. I've had other horses that needed to be ridden every single day to keep them up to snuff. My old schoolmaster would not tolerate being ridden more than twice a week, but performed beautifully on that schedule. You'll find Rogo's perfect schedule eventually.
Carol said…
Thanks everyone! I'm feeling more confident about my beautiful blue helmet :) Ha ha. To be clear - the barn where I'm going is very friendly and the atmosphere is welcoming and warm. I don't want to give the impression that it's snooty. Also the remark I got about the brow band in the past came from a very negative person and not someone at that barn.
Just want to make sure I don't commit any big faux pas :)
I'm getting quite excited about going...
Kelly said…
I love color! Go ahead and wear it :) I board at a mainly dressage barn - but with only 5 boarders, it is very laid back.
I would say wear the blue and bring some color out! If no one else in the barn sports anything of any color and everyone blends in, you can always put a cover on it. It really depends on the type of people you end up boarding with. You may already have a couple stand-out people there already and you just don't know it!
RDA Pony Tales said…
Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comments. It is great to discover new blogs and I will enjoy reading yours too... looks like I have some catching up to do with your past posts :)
I would wear your blue helmet, there are no dress rules outside the show ring!
Of course, you must wear the blue helmet if it matches your coat. I'm a matchy matchy too so know how you feel. Don't worry about what others think, when they start paying your board they can have an opinion about things. Ha. Glad Rogo is doing well and I'm sure you'll both have a wonderful time at the barn.
juliette said…

Good report - glad Rogo is healing well. You inspire me to move on to the canter with Pie when I am bareback. He is built like Rogo and the sitting trot is a dream on him. How do you mount bareback - I can't remember. My three step block doesn't go high enough. I use a barstool now which is horrible but I am going to have Brian build me something. Surely Rogo is bigger than Pie ( 16.3).

Also, about the helmet - I love that you love it and that it matches your jacket and matches your Rogo and makes you happy. Wasn't it Thoreau that said, "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes" - you can just insert "requires certain colors" in there and your heart will continue to sing with your blue helmet!
Achieve1dream said…
I'm glad Rogo is healing up nicely. Did you get the test results back?

I like the blue helmet! Of course blue is my favorite color hehe. I don't think there would be a problem with it at a dressage barn. At my barn our schooling clothes were all over the place. I think it's just shows that people get picky about. :)

I'm excited to hear how it goes with your lessons. Three lessons a week is so cool! I would love to do that. I bet you're going to make loads of progress.

Also excited that you might be competing on Savannah again next year. I hope your husband gets better too though.