I have to laugh when some people looked at me sideways when I said I was doing 2 clinics this weekend. How is it any different than a 2 day clinic on your horse, I have no idea. But it's funny that people think it's too much, but a 2 day with the same clinician is not, or a 2 day horse trial, but I digress...lol
Sunday Penny and I went to a clinic with no longer - but once local - upper level event rider BM. He comes down often to visit his family and friends (funny enough his parents live on my road not far), and when he is in town he is often doing clinics. I have also known him for years being in the area, and rode Indy with him last winter. He kicked our buts into major shape. When the barn posted they were hosting 2 clinics with BM before he heads to Florida, I jumped at the chance.
I picked up Katie and Lilly up before we went to the farm. It was a gorgeous winter day, almost 7 degrees which is down right balmy for us. We were able to park and tack up outside which was nice. Both the girls seemed very content waiting and munching on hay until it was time to go. We were riding 4 in a group so our lesson was going to be about 2 hours long.
|Game face - ON|
I love this, as it is something I do regularly with my guys. With Penny he suggested I don't try and control with my hands so much and let her elongate her stride over the poles and figure things out herself. Penny is a pretty lofty girl with long legs so this was such a fun exercise, liken to trotting through the water. The purpose was to encourage the horses to use themselves and engage the hind end, and start fixing whatever issues the riders have.
|Random picture of my new QHP pad I rode in and verdict is LOVE!|
From trot, we went into the same exercise at canter. This time he obviously removed the middle poles to make 3 or 4 canter poles. It may not seem like a big deal, but Penny cantered through them keeping the same pace. This was a huge improvement from the day before (and previous years except last). For her, he had my keep my elbows bent, soft, giving, and let her figure out the exercise. I need to try to control less and let her figure out where to put her feet. It's hard on a forward horse y'all. He had me ask for more bend through the corner with outside rein supporting to keep her straight through the poles.
From here, he turned the poles into several bounces. I worked on the same things, keeping my hands off her face and quiet by her neck, not taking her back too much and allowing her to find her own rhythm and pace through it. This was also super fun, because well, Penny is super game and she was just springing through. The last few times through the line he had me open my right rein slightly to straighten her and what a difference. I had not even noticed she was getting a bit crooked and you could really feel the change.
|No pics or vids this day of our actual ride sadly|
Next, we did a line from the bounces, diagonal over a cavaletti, change rein then down an outside line. We varied this exercise from figure eights, change of direction, adding an oxer, and then increased the height. At the end we did a fun figure eight over the 2 cavalettis on a diagonal incorporating the jumps on the outside line as bending lines. The lessons remained the same for me throughout. Quiet hand, allow her to figure it out, trust her she will maintain the pace, and ride the corners in and out of the exercise. I also worked on finding a more relaxed and less tense sitting position in the canter when jumping. I never realized how stiff I am until he had me breath out and loosen up in the short side coming into a line. I could feel Penny immediately relax and quiet down when I went all loosey-goosey. I am not even sure why I am so tense and tight because I am not at all nervous up there. I think it must be from bracing and holding I am used to her on. This is something I definitely need to work on because I think it will help us a tonne.
We stuck around and watched the rest of the rides of the day. It was such a fun day, riding, learning, seeing friends and all their ponies doing amazing. He is back next month and I am very much looking forward to riding with him again. We left the clinic in the most hilarious way on our way home. There has been non stop rain here for weeks so the parking lot was a bit muddy. My truck had the 4 wheel drive taken out alst year and it hasn't been reinstalled yet so I was careful to park on the gravel I could. We had to back up, and then do a U turn to get out, and it was slightly downhill. The mud was making us slide sideways and truck wasn't turning and there was just mud flying everywhere. Katie and I were just dying laughing as we slid down across the parking lot until we finally got straight and could pull out. It was absolutely hilarious. I'm sure the horses were wondering WTF was going on.
|basically how Penny feels about me now|
Penny was so tired when she got home that night, I gave her a nice massage and tucked her into bed in her Back on Track. She has had a few days off and then its back to work to apply all we learned this weekend. Fingers crossed we retained some of it!