Riding, Winter 2014

I've written very little about riding, and that's because I've done very little riding. Rogo has a funny little on and off hitch in his left fore when doing a very slow trot anymor.  it still isn't diagnosed. Also, we've had a lot of weather that's been too cold for doing more than walk. Sooo, between that and not having a regular teacher (it's too cold for Joan)  that leaves our training pretty much at a stand still.
I enjoy schooling in the walk and we are able to do a bit of work there. I introduced walk pirouettes, and he did it very well right from the beginning to the left. To the right he goes wide. I don't think I have him into the outside rein the way he should be. I don't mean I want a heavy hold on the outside  -  just that he moves into it easily and lightly.
In schooling I tend to hold the outside more when turning left than when I'm turning right. I've been taught to do this because of a tendency to lose straightnes when turning left. As we begin to school walk pirouettes I see that I've developed greater sensitivity to the outside rein when on the left rein. (Is it just me, or would this sound like complete mumbo jumbo to a non dressage person?) Anyway, the long and short of it is that I was pleasantly surprised by the left walk pirouette and identified a bit of a training hole in the right pirouette - the issue being sensitivity to the outside rein, not the pirouette.
My other pleasant surprise was rein back. We'd not worked on that before, ever. I know it sounds odd, but with the difficulty I've periodically had getting Rogo to go forward, I didn't want to teach him to go backward. Oh, we'd occasionally get into a tight spot and I'd verbally say 'back' while pulling back (releasing when I got it of course), but that was it  - no training backward movement. Imagine my delight and surprise when I asked him to back up one day while standing at a halt, and he promptly and correctly took the exact number of steps back that I asked for, stayed perfectly straight, and did it with a light as a feather aid. Where did that come from? Lesson learned for me  - use light as air aids for the best response and don't drill movements. This also relates back to my late December lesson with Erin MacQarry where we worked on lighter asks.
The other thing we've worked on at the walk is lengthening and shortening strides and going from slow to fast and back. The results here are mixed. Some days are better than others, but with the sporadic riding perhaps it's all I can expect.
I resolved late last week that I was going to ride a minimum of four to five times a week, even if it was only for fifteen or twenty minutes, so we'll see how it goes.
Here are a few pictures from a Saturday evening I spent in the barn while Doug was home with his broken rib. It felt very peaceful and happy listening to the horses munching their hay (this is my favourite sound in the world).


Love your barn. Everyone looks so happy and cozy.

Hope you get Rogo's hitch figured out soon. It's always nice to have them surprise us once in a while with a movement we thought they didn't really know. As for light aids, it's what I always aim for. The lighter the better in my play book. Nice work.
Lori Skoog said…
Yes, light aids... and when I was taking classical dressage lessons it was all about the outside rein. Once I was in a clinic here with JC Racinet (from France) and he had me ride with one rein removed. That was quite an experience!
TeresaA said…
I hope that you get Rogo figured out soon!
juliette said…
My favorite sound too! Love the photos. Sad for Doug and his rib. Rogo is just the best boy - I like the mumbo jumbo talk - it makes sense even though I don't really know dressage. Mostly, I love the part about light aids working best. That makes complete sense to me! Rogo backing light as a feather with very little asking. Sigh. Divine.