Saturday, October 12, 2013

Readjusting my Dressage Goals

If you have been reading along my journey, you know that in the Spring I set a major goal to get the canter well established.   I'd say we have made some decent progress but I have not even come close to meeting my goal.   At the mid summer point, I think we were making decent progress.   The departs were coming without bucks or much anxiety.  The departs had gone from what looked like a cowboy having a seizure (imagine arms flapping while my whip whirled around my body) to something that had at least the semblance of a dressage rider.    I was asking for the canter with light aids instead of demanding it and we were getting a nice response.  Yeah!

Now granted we would get about six strides into it and Golly would start asking to move to trot.  And I'd ask again.  And get a response to stay in canter.  And then two more strides and he asked to slow down.  And I asked to speed up.  You get the idea... he is NOT a forward horse.

But we weren't getting bucks and we were getting a response off a lighter aid.  And we were cantering!

In this case Golly isn't the one who is holding us back.  I think if we had kept down that path we would be cantering well and getting more energy.  He was getting the idea and dare I say... even enjoying his work a bit more.

Its me.

Lately I noticed I have been getting winded quickly.  I know that when you start down the path of asking for canter you better be able to finish the conversation.  If you stop asking for the up transition when he is asking for the down transition... he wins.   And the next time we have the conversation it will be even harder. 

So until I figure out this health issue, I have to revise my goals.

We are still going to work on the canter but it will be in open fields where its easier and I know I can win the conversation.   We will also work on the canter in the ring but in limited efforts that I know I we can achieve and have good results.  And we will do it without the looming goal of achieving the canter in a show.   I have a show at the end of October and we won't be doing the test that requires the canter because I know I can't do the proper warmup to get him to the point where he can do the canter well in the test and if I did do the proper warmup I won't have the energy to get him through the test.

I'm disappointed but I'm trying to tell myself that its okay because I can't control what life throws at you.  You just have to roll with the punches and wait for your turn.  The good news is that I have  horse that is perfectly happy with this plan.  He enjoys his hacks in the woods.

I took him to a hunter pace last weekend and wow!  It feels great to feel the energy and power in Golly when its HIS idea to canter.   When a group of horses passed us and cantered off, there was no way that Golly was going to let them get out of his sight.  As soon as I gave the word that he could speed up, he broke into a very happy and forward hand gallop.  Woopee!!!

I feel so immensely fortunate to have Mr. Golly in my life. He is a bulldozer of a guy and no one will ever say he is light on his feet but we understand and trust one another.    And he is willing (and probably thrilled) to wait until we are both ready to tackle the canter challenge in the ring.

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