Does It Get Any Better?
Seriously, this day was perfect. I retired at 50 (I should tell you about that sometime, it's quite a story) and now I'm kind of living my dream in many ways. Well, now I feel I have to qualify. I do consulting work, but on my terms. Also, we're still planning to build and operate a horse facility next year, so that is going to be LOTS of work.
Back to my perfect day...
Here's how it started:
Although it was about 9:45 on a Monday morning, I thought why not have a cone of my favorite icecream - Privateers Bounty? Have you tried it? It is utterly addictive. Licorice and salted butterscotch chunks. I don't even like licorice but this combo is deadly delicious.
Then, reunited with my darling boy. Rogo has settled in nicely at Fraser Equestrian Center and was ready for our lesson with Sue - first time under saddle in over three weeks. I didn't know what to expect. He could have been over the top energy wise, or just lazy and not wanting to work. It didn't occur to me that he'd be in the middle - pretty much where he left off. Yeah! My sweet baby is growing up. He did try to run out of the ring two or three times, but hey, it could happen to anyone right? This is his oldest trick and Always comes back after a lay off, even if he hasn't done it in months. Not a biggy, just a chance to discuss who's making decisions :)
Sue had us work on good basics, forward being the most important. Rogo still needs to learn to go forward automatically without nagging, and I need to learn to ride him forward without nagging him. A quick and if need be sharp correction, and then relax. Repeat as necessary. I'd much rather do this than be picking at him, but I need to train myself to do it. I don't even realize I am picking at him to keep him going, so having Sue there giving us instruction and feedback about this is awesome. If he learns to go forward easily everything else will be SO much easier.
We did lots of working on forward at the walk - he needs to march along and he can do it beautifully when we focus and remember to do it. We also worked on forward at the trot. There's lots more work to do here. Sue wants me to give him a firm 'kick' or bump to get his attention and get him
forward. There's an art to this and I don't have it. The aid needs to be delivered at the right time in the stride and without interrupting our connection. I'm clumsy at it, but will learn. I don't want this to sound harsh - I'm not wearing spurs and Rogo isn't at all put off by it. It's an impulse forward and as I learn to time it correctly and he learns to respond, the need for it will decrease. I thinking I'm heading to weaning off of my whip and onto my legs more. Ultimately of course a very light aid is the goal. So, just to repeat the key point - I need to stop an almost constant light aid and give a firm aid only as needed. I know this intellectually already, but haven't succeeded in doing it. Sue will keep us on track.
We worked on walking a three loop serpentine from quarter line to quarter line. Then we trotted it. It's challenging, because without the wall as a crutch any holes in the training show up easily. Can you guess Rogo's? He did this quite well in many ways, changing bend and staying precise when I guided him correctly, but we're still weak on the left leg into the right rein. He almost ignores my left leg. This is an area for attention for sure. Maybe I'm making it sound worse than it was. He bent correctly most of the time, but he's definitely hollow going left.
We did trot figure eights and they went fairly well, but of course there's the same issue re hollowness.
So, day one conclusion? More forward, and get him attentive to the left leg. I'm loving having lessons with a good teacher!!!!! As I mentioned, Rogo and I will be here at least until the end of December and we'll have three lessons a week with Sue. I'll stay overnight in the trailer one or two nights a week. I'm in the trailer tonight and loving it. It was 16 C. today!
Here are a few more pictures:
A final note - Rogo's lab work results arrived today. His tumour was confirmed as a sarcoid and the edges of the piece removed were free of cancer cells, meaning there is less chance of a recurrence. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
Our next lesson is at noon tomorrow. More posts coming :)