Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dusty's Next Training Challenge

Dusty’s Next Training Challenge

Dusty and I have been making some very real progress lately.  She’s learning to adjust her pace when asked.  Her balance is coming along at trot and canter and we think she’s ready to move on to the next level of training.  What’s that, you might ask? Well, I think she’s ready to start some genuine cavelletti work.  There is a wonderful book with guidelines outlining a six-week course of work with cavalletti that I feel would be a good training exercise for her…and me.
The book is:  Cavalletti: Revised Edition: Schooling of Horse and Rider over Ground Poles authored by one of the great masters of riding, Dr. Reiner Klimke and his daughter Ingrid Klimke.  This book addresses how to start a young/green horse over cavelletti and ready them for dressage or hunter/jumper disciplines.  Simply glancing through this book and reading some of the sage advice put forth by a true horseman, I feel it can only help horse and rider achieve their goals and strengthen the bond of mutual trust, which is so important for a successful partnership.
We’ve recently reassessed our goals and what we want to accomplish in the future.  I feel that all horses need dressage to teach them the correct way of using their bodies and their minds.  So I will continue to teach Dusty the basics of dressage. Someday we may even go to a show and compete at the intro or training level classes.  
Since I’ve also realized that I do miss jumping, I’ve decided to see if she is one of those horses who would be keen on jumping, starting slow and building up to nothing more than maybe 2 ft.  Dusty is a smart girl and I’m sure she would be up to the challenge of competing in the adult equitation divisions, and would probably enjoy them as much as I used to.  Those particular classes are fun and require some thought and finesse, and she has the perfect attitude to shine. However, I may not be up to it anymore.  It’s a wait and see sort of thing; even though I may not show again, it’s a goal worth working toward just in case. 
I find that if I don’t have a goal or two to work towards I am likely to become lackadaisical about training on a consistent basis.  It’s fun to think about showing again, this time on my terms.  Meaning I would not compete for a 10 cent ribbon but compete for the fun of it. I believe showing should be a barometer to see how far we’ve come in our training and what still needs work. Those are my conditions for ever setting hoof in the show ring again. I’m too old to worry that some judge, who may or may not even be qualified to judge, might give my horse and me a low score. In my opinion, after all the years I spent observing thoroughly flawed judging, I’m of the opinion some of them may have gotten their permits from the gumball machine for a nickel.  I could also care less what anonymous spectators might think about my performance. I thought with age I had gained patience - turns out I just don’t care anymore. It’s good to be mature, isn’t it?
So all that said, let’s see if we actually do it.  There is a still lot of teaching and learning to be done, on both sides of the saddle.  None of this will happen overnight, if we do decide to enter some small schooling shows it won’t be until next Spring. That should give us lots of quality time before we assess our situation again.

Until next time

Quote for Today
Every time you ride, your either teaching or un-teaching your horse.
    - Gordon Wright

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