Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Clinics, Lessons, and Good Times

OMG Im so happy I was able to write this post! Lately my computer wont let me access the post page, so Im thrilled I can actually type this right now!

In other news, I have a LOT to update on. Lets start from two weeks ago:

Group Lesson: The trainer whose Western Dressage clinic I attended came to the area for a group lesson myself and two others (the two I carpooled with to the clinic) others. It was so exciting to have a lesson again! And I absolutely love the trainer! Although her barn is nearly two hours away from home, she was more then willing to come halfway to my friend's ranch for our group lesson. She is a reining trainer transplanted from Colorado to Washington two months ago. What a fabulous trainer! It was wonderful to ride with two others who are very close to the same level as Milo and I so we all learned from each other. Sabrina (trainer) helped us with our lope and trying to get it back to the level of fitness we once were. We also got some really great advice for our spin work with additional drills to work on to help.  Sabrina said that I need to really get Milo to respect the neck rein in the turnaround as he leans on it too much. This also helps with my tendency to overbend Milo with the inside rein.

Photos from the Group Lesson:

From the Western Dressage Clinic:

Moose Meets a Friend: I was invited by a friend who has a 40" mini/pony to haul Moose over and help me with Moose's driving progress. Her mini, Beau, has pulled a cart before thanks to the work from my friend. I would be able to drive her Beau too and see how it is supposed to feel. So I naturally brought Milo with us to utilize the haul in fee and big covered arena. I had a good ride on Milo with Moose tied to the wall (additional great training) then swapped them. Moose was great and I got some great advice from my friend; one being that Moose's "heaviness" on the halter isnt actually a bad thing (or really heavy). My friend advised that cart horses require some feel in the reins and must have some "pull" into the cart and bridle to get going. It totally made sense and I got to feel it with Beau. That alone was worth the haul over because the last few weeks I was trying to get Moose to lighten up, as per normal riding horses, but in actuality the contact is a good thing. My friend sent me home with her starter "saddle" for Moose which is only a tad (like one hole) large for Moose but a great way to start ground driving with more confidence that the reins wont fall down. She also advised used some single loop reins (not the longing lines) as to not get as lost in the lines like I have been.
I got some adorable video of Moose and Beau frolicking together in the arena, but I cant get them to upload properly. But take my word for it, it was so cute! And the boys were pretty happy to romp with another their own size (Moose is only one inch taller then  Beau).

Third Reining Clinic: This last Sunday I attended my third local reining clinic with the same clinician I rode with in October and November. This time it was broken between Beginner and Advanced segments, so we hauled in for just a three hour clinic in the advanced portion. We reviewed the Five Easy Pieces to start, and I got some great feedback on our progress: first I was complimented on how well Milo has learned the pieces, but second I was critiqued on Milo mostly learning the sequence (like a pattern) rather then each part individually now. She recommended working on each part longer, and to really work on my timing of the cue with his footfalls, and also to work more on "less is more". I really need to get the both of us working on more subtle cuing as we are both falling to the spur too quickly. By the end of our practice time with the clinician Milo was moving off by just the tightening of my calf. She also recommended turning my spurs out (they have a natural bend inward) to practice using my leg more as turning the spur out makes it a bit harder to go directly to it. This is great because at home I forgo spurs a lot because I know they are used too much. But she commented that I still should ride with them so its there when I need it, but to relearn how to use them properly. Its humbling, but she nailed a problem I havent been able to fix on my own or even want to own up to.

We also worked on rapid transitions to help get our horses ready over the hind end, and backing with more leg. In both of these Milo did exceptionally well and was pointed out by her as an example of the finished product, which was really awesome to hear. It was great practice for us and another thing to remember to continue to work on. Finally we worked on rollbacks by using the wall as I have learned before in a previous clinic, but to cue it differently. Its hard to explain but coincides really well with general turnaround work as well as the neck reining we learned at the group lesson.

Well, I'm tired from typing now, but hopefully you all feel a little more up to speed. Even though its been quiet in my blogging world I still have a lot of horse activities going on. I hope to be able to update more often! Ill do what I can.


L.Williams said...

How fun! :) Looking forward to more updates.

Story said...

Wow, you have been busy! Sounds like a good tip on the spurs. I know I am often guilty of being too quick to go to them when I wear them (but so often regret it when I don't wear them).