Sunday, February 9, 2014

Clinic Synopsis

First off, Soonie was a SUPERSTAR for his first jumping clinic!  I am very happy with him and what we accomplished this weekend.  There was huge progress made in the jumping as we got to tackle some more technical questions and courses which we had not yet attempted.  The clinician was Joey Brumbaugh of Free Flight Farm.  He trained Sarah Milliren to the 2011 ASPCA Maclay title.  He's a lovely clinician, so if you have the chance to ride with him, I highly recommend him.  He's nice and super approachable, but is not afraid to call you out on your mistakes and explain how to fix them. 

Day One started out with Soonie and I in a group of five (for green horses or riders), and Joey's favorite exercise is fan poles (read about it in this Chronicle of the Horse article) at the canter in the corner.  The whole premise of the weekend was to work on lengthening and shortening of the horse's stride to help make them more rideable, and the fan poles at the canter is a great tool to help create a balanced, short canter to navigate tighter turns/rollbacks without losing the horse's inside shoulder, or allowing the horse to bulge through the outside shoulder.  Rider must create and maintain a short canter with energy, while holding the inside rein closer in toward the neck/wither, and the outside rein out slightly to help balance.  The trick is to ride the canter through the middle of the fan poles and on to whatever jumping question was next.

Day One:

The near corner had three fan poles, the far opposite corner had two fan poles then four quiet strides to a vertical, and five quiet strides on a bending line to an oxer.  It was Soon's first time over through that type of exercise, and he figured it out extremely fast.  Soon was complimented for being a very smart and nice, quality horse (coming from a trainer like Joey with his experience, that's great to hear).  Given that it can be difficult to get a lot of stuff done in a large group like that (with some pretty green combinations that kept things very simple), he invited us to do a private lesson the following morning so we could work on some additional things with Soon and challenge him a little more.

Day Two:

This time we had two fan poles on the near corner (out of the shot), and two raised canter cavaletti (~8") in the opposite corner.  After the cavaletti, it was a very quiet three strides to a bounce, and then quiet four on a bending line to the oxer.  This was Soonie's first time through a bounce grid, and he took immediately to it.  As Joey explained, putting him through these exercises helps him to learn to "look through the bridle" (meaning, think ahead and be proactive) and to look at a question and say "Okay, how do I make this work?"  We also did the cavaletti and then a sharp right turn to a bending line later on, and he rode through that very well (especially the turn through/after the caveletti as that was not roomy by any means!).  Overall, Soon did remarkably well and listened beautifully.  He saw a lot of new types of jumps (first time over jumper style rails), did bending lines for the first time, did his first bounce, and we jumped nearly 3' at one point, which is the highest he's been.  He just steps over the little stuff, and the slightly larger fences were no issue for him, as he rode the same and felt the same.  He was very game and a willing participant.  Clinician and spectators alike all complimented him for being such a superstar.  I gave him probably about 554.37 carrots over the last two days for making life on Mommy easier.  :)

After each morning's session after he got cleaned up, while he was patient as ever, he was still eager to get turned out and be a horse, which makes me very happy.  Good boy Soonie!

No comments:

Post a Comment