More First Level Work

Rogo and I have been having a great time, until it got so rainy that riding has been impossible. Here are some updates.
Labour Day Weekend Show
I couldn't have been happier with him. He didn't set a foot wrong, from loading and unloading to doing his tests. Well, let me rephrase that - he did actually set his feet wrong the first time we did Level One test 2 - he did the entire right lead canter routine in left lead! And I didn't notice!! Ugh. On the bright side, he counter canters so easily that the movement was flawless :) He did a perfect 15 m circle, lengthened, shortened and crossed the diagonal, all in counter canter. How embarrassing is that? Luckily I've taught myself not to be embarrassed by our show outings or I wouldn't go :) What I've learned, and it will make a better rider out of me, is that I have to set him up perfectly and aid perfectly to get the lead I want. He is just as likely to counter counter either way - he doesn't have a preference and does both easily. Can horses be ambidextrous? :)
Our scores ranged from 55 for the counter canter test to 64.3 for the next time we rode test 2. He did all his transitions on the mark and rode precise movements. Our negative comments were about rhythm and balance, something I mentioned when preparing for the show. Sue (our teacher) tells me his shoeing is slightly off again, so we'll have to get that fixed very soon.
Here are some pictures from the show:

 I think we're leg yieldingin the above two pictures.

 Clinic With The Judge

I had signed up for a clinic with the judge on the Mon. (it was a long weekend) but ended up wanting to back out because I found her comments on my tests had a nasty edge - not in the constructive criticism vein but in the unremitting there is nothing good about you vein. I'd found someone to take my place, but then got talked out of dropping it. Let's just say I should have dropped it. It was the most confusing and negative riding experience I've ever had. I was called a zoned out robot within my first 30 seconds in the ring, and it went downhill from there.

John MacPherson Clinic

This was a much more positive and instructive experience that we attended last weekend. John has recently returned from a year in Europe and is really on top of his game. Rogo and I rode with one other horse and rider and it went very well. We worked on getting my lower legs quieter (shorter stirrups, taking my legs off and insisting Rogo go forward in rhythm on his own). We also worked a lot on leg yielding across the full width of the arena, in both walk and trot, and cantering when we hit the wall. Rogo does this exercise quite well.
John instructed riders to lean back for down transitions - it gets the horses' hind quarters under them. He also emphasized the importance of a quick response - if a horse is lagging to respond to any aid, i.e. halt, they are also likely to be slow to respond to the rider's other aids. Seems obvious now, but I hadn't noticed this before

Riding Bareback

I've been trying to fit in some bareback rides in an effort to improve my seat. Also, I forgot my saddle at the last clinic, so I had to ride bareback for a day :) . I'm loving it! I'm sure I've mentioned that I once rode Savanah for about 5 months, four times a week, without a saddle. I've only ridden Rogo bareback a handful of times. Anyway, it does seem to be improving my balance and we both enjoy it as something different. We can now canter large and do the leg yield to canter exercise from the clinic. It is so fun, and helpful too.


I haven't done nearly as much as I planned when I brought Rogo home, but we've been out a few times. The most memorable was a nice canter up the beach. Yeah! In the past, cantering on the beach called for an immediate gallop. This time, we had a nice slow canter with no change in rhythm. Yeah Rogo! My friends Maria and Jennifer were with me riding our other two horses Savanah and Dan, and Maria luckily pulled out her phone and got a short video - something to watch in the winter! Here it is:

Tomorrow we return to our teacher's barn, Fraser Equestrian Centre (Sue Fraser) and will be there for the next few months. I'm really looking forward to getting going on our lessons again, and it is definitely time, but I feel a little sick that my bunny rabbit won't be in the backyard anymore :(
But.... soon we'll have our facility built and then Rogo will be with me all the time (should be by spring). Does he have any idea what he instigated? No, but he knows he's loved.


allhorsestuff said…
These news bits were fabulous!!
Loved*** Rogo cantering on the beach, what an easy rockinghorse canter he does have
THAT all sounded tremendous. I was chuckling and smiling, as you told the story of your perfectly executed "Counter Canter"! Those are the moments our horses make us better riders!

It is all coming together so nicely..your lessons and future horse at home place. I am excited for you. What a DREAM!
Happy Autumn!
allhorsestuff said…
Sue's place and ethic sound great. You have such a nice community of horse people there!
TeresaA said…
I think you should be pleased with the show.

and as for the clinic- I too found it to be awful.

I should have done John's clinic!!!
Oak Creek Ranch said…
It sounds like you had a great show. I remember, not too long ago, when you wouldn't canter Rogo on the beach. Look how far you've come! Too bad about the clinic with the judge - how awful and inaccurate in her portrayal of you as a rider.
Carol, You and Rogo looked great at the show! He's looking very much the grown up dressage pony!!
I must tell you Carol that I decided to hop on Roxy bareback a couple days ago..first time since she was about two! She totally freaked out..shot forward, her legs trembled and she was nervously treading her feet on the spot..I had to bail out before she bolted!
I gave her a moment tried again and...same thing...not worth getting creamed so that's off my list of things to do! Silly old poop thought I was a cougar I guess!
Val said…
You have certainly been busy! Congrats on your First Level rides.

I am sorry to hear that the first clinic was not a positive experience. I am not sure what it is with some people. I think they forget there is a person in the saddle with feelings. We cannot be as dispassionate as a "robot" if we love what we do!
Loved the canter on the beach! Good for you and Rogo, it looks like such fun.

I wouldn't put too much stock in the first clinic. Whoever the judge is sounds like a sour person. There is no reason to be nasty, the idea of a clinic is to be helpful. Guess she didn't get the memo.

It will be nice to be back at your trainers barn for the winter. Good luck on your new facility. Spring isn't that far off.
TBDancer said…
Loved the video, loved the pictures (you're right about the leg yield--you can see Rogo's hind leg starting to cross over) and can certainly sympathize with you about the test comments and the clinic with the judge. Some personalities don't/can't work together and it sounds like this gal and you/Rogo are one of those non-mixes.

There's a judge I like very much here in California, but I would rather scribe for him than ride under him. He doesn't like my horse's way of going. He's a PRE-type guy who likes high knee action and I have an OTTB.

Not sure he would call anyone a "zoned-out robot" (my reply would have been, "thank you for your concern") but and don't know that he gives clinics, but I think I would audit rather than ride with him.

Cross this chick off your list. I trained off and on for years with a backyard, lower level trainer who played favorites. I wasn't one of them. Not good. Moving on. ;o)
juliette said…
Love the cantering on the beach video! Rogo and you are certainly coming along. Let all the nasty stuff just vanish from your brain - not worth it when you have a horse like Rogo!
Jan said…
Carol, Love the updates! And the photos- you and Rogo look super together- what a great team you both have become. Love the video on the beach - such a nice canter- how far you have come!! Hope you are feeling very proud of yourself and Rogo!!
Very nice, thanks for the information.
Achieve1dream said…
So cool!!! I LOVE the video. I would love to ride on the beach!!! And such a gorgeous canter too!!!
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