This blog has become lately a kind of diary of my practice with the horses. ChoCho and I have been taking riding lessons on the occassional Saturday with Margaret Beeman. She is a professional trainer, specializing in colt starting. ChoCho did 3 months of basic training with her 2 years ago. You can see his final day “at first grade” with Margaret in this video:

ChoCho was younger then, but between the hands and legs of such an experienced rider, he goes through his gaits smoothly, considering he had just 3 months with her — one of which is all ground work.

ChoCho is obviously much more matured, both physically and mentally. I, on the other hand, am just starting basic training in dressage. So sometimes ChoCho has to work uphill with me, although he never gets negative feedback when we don’t get it all quite “right”. We (ChoCho and I) try to enjoy the ride, not the outcome, the process, not the product. Anyway, here are three clips of our latest “homework” — our video report back to Margaret about our “relative progress” on the path. The path to what? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. We had fun Saturday. Thanks to Sandy, we get to share it here on video “tape”.

Please note: This video is certainly not an educational piece on how to ride the canter! I constantly check my own balance and posting laterals. And am still working on a decent seat. Also, I am intentionally opening my hands and reins out on occassion, to ake sure that I am not hanging on ChoCho’s mouth, nor is he hanging o my hands, to leverage at the canter. Let me know what you think. However, amateurish, I think ChoCho is handsome. A fine gentleman. And yes, at the end, he walks straight to the camera to ham himself to the audience. He is priceless and I love him beyond words.

Khemancho’s Soft Trot

For those of you who don’t know – Khemancho and I have been taking dressage lessons. My actual teacher/ trainer is Margaret Beeman, who started Khemancho as a 3 year old colt 3 years ago. (How time flies!). You can see her work here. Although I have never met her, I also consider Karen Rohlf a teacher, since I have spent hours and hours studying her DVD and book training series. You can read about Karen at Dressage, Naturally. My “goal” in dressage is not only to do what ChoCho seems born to do and loves to do! (I had expected him to be an endurance horse since he comes from Belesemo Arabians, who breed endurance horses, and he has full siblings who are endurance champions) –I  had never ridden in a ring before I started with a dozen or so dressage lessons last fall- – but my goals are to execute/train at dressage  in ways that are consistent with my interest in cultivating the soft and joyful horse. I am learning a lot! And in some ways I feel that here is where the rubber meets the road, where the proof is in the pudding, where we get to walk the talk (how’s that for a string of euphemisms).  Last week ChoCho worked at a lovely trot, and also offered what Karen Rohlf terms “the let loose posture” — which is the foundation of balance and softness, upon which collection can be correctly (that is biomechanically) built.

Let’s go to the video tape:

Here we are trotting a simple figure eight

Here ChoCho is offering the “let loose” posture at the trot: