Current Goals

I know I said my next post was going to be about the Arthur Kottas clinic, but I have to find my photos. It will be great to do it because I need a review.
In the meantime blogging again has got my riding more focused. I started keeping a paper journal beside Rogo's stall so I can write my observations about the ride as soon as I get off - what worked and didn't work, what improved, insights I have about my riding and immediate goals for the next ride. I think I'll go back to writing month goals and keeping a score card.
A couple of days ago I rode third level test one for the first time. It was very sloppy but we did the whole thing with all of the elements. Just getting through a test from beginning to end is a challenge for me :). I had a lung infection over the summer which left me with NO stamina at all.
Rogo's main area for improvement right now is more hind quarter engagement and taking more weight back. He gets heavy and too long very easily - my fault, I let it go on far too long. To work on this we're doing lots of:
  • rein back, both in-hand and under saddle
  • transitions within and between gaits
  • caveletti and ground poles 
My main areas for improvement are to ride more quietly and to keep my body relaxed. My legs especially nag him, and I don't even feel myself doing it. The improvement in his walk when I consciously relax and leave him alone is quite astounding. The more training he gets, the more sensitive he becomes to every movement I make, whether intended or not, and I can easily put him off balance and ruin the rhythm. I'm sure most riders know this but I haven't ridden above level one before Rogo and that was with a lovely draft cross who had the rhythm of a metronome. Rogo is working hard at my training :). To improve my relaxation and quietness I'm doing the following:

  • riding to music with a strong beat and being mindful of keeping the beat and not aiding except for an occasional quick, light ask (believe me it isn't easy and I catch myself slipping back to old habits all the time).
  • getting Doug (my husband) to watch me and remind me to keep my legs off.
  • I'm lining up a longe lesson with a teacher who's amazing with equitation
Does anyone have any suggestions for the above? I'd love to hear them!

For some reason I can't respond to comments. I'll figure it out asap. In the meantime, thanks for the comments! It's so great to hear from all of you again.

Monthly goals and score card coming soon. Here we are at the end of a recent ride. I don't ride him behind the vertical, but I think I'm slow to release at the halt...


Oak Creek Ranch said…
It sounds to me like you are on track. You are working with Arthur Kottas and there is no way I could anything to his advice; you have access to an awesome trainer. When I got Lucy, I had to learn to keep my legs quiet and against her (lightly) all the time. She's super sensitive and any bumping caused by having space between me and her side, was not a good thing.
I think you are doing fine with Rogo and have come a long way in your training. I'm not one to offer advice, I leave that to the trainers. Just try and have fun and relax you're both looking good!
Unknown said…
Testing my replying ability and fingers crossed it works (it didn't for a long time). Thanks for the insight re Lucy. Makes sense.
Unknown said…
Thanks so much! I seem to be able to reply again. Yah!
Unknown said…
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