Clinic Stream-of-Consciousness

My trainer rode Connor in the clinic yesterday and will again today.  It went awesome!  She enjoyed it and learned a lot, and there was a definite change in the way he jumped from the first half to the second half.  I didn't take pictures because that felt creepy, but there will be video sometime.

Being a spectator of my own horse was strange but fun - I loved sitting in the crowd of auditors and listening to them giggle anytime Connor gave them the hairy eyeball/jumped like the floor was lava/twisted in midair to see the spectators better/jumped with his knees at his eyes/basically did anything.  "I get all the cute ones," my trainer said after riding a draft cross paint earlier in the day.  Watching him rocket through the exercises with bright eyes and forward ears surrounded by entertained giggling spectators just made me fall in love with him all over again.  That's my little partner-in-crime. :)

I got nothin, have a cute dog picture.

Below is a stream-of-consciousness of what was said by the clinician today just so I have it.  I know I'll forget most of it by tomorrow if I don't write it down - it's hard to remember this stuff when you're riding, but even harder when you're sitting in a lawn chair.

- He is careful, a worrier, handy, clever with his feet, a great little jumper.
- Ears on everything except what he is supposed to be looking at
- He leans on hands for safety when nervous
- Can't rotate scapula for reaching over ground poles when in Dressage frame/open the throatlatch and lift the wither
- Dressage canter with open throatlatch
- Let him figure it out and make his own mistakes, he won't do it a second time/don't think for him.
- Just get him there and let him use his ponyness to figure it out
- Too careful of a jumper to micromanage him
- Try to chip him in at every fence, because he's so careful and thinks so much, his brain needs that extra second to process everything. (After she started making him get down to the base and chip in, he started snapping his knees up past his eyeballs and jumping REALLY well - actually locking on, gaining confidence in himself and taking her to the fences.  It was adorable and impressive at the same time.)
- Combination of paying attention to extracurricular things/rider's aids overloads his brain by the time he gets to the fence.
- You have a few strides in between elements to get him balanced because he won't do it on his own because he's paying attention to these spectators, and you get him balanced, and suddenly he's at the base of the fence and realizes it's there and goes 'Oh shit!' and then you go 'Oh shit!' because you don't know what's going to happen and he doesn't know what's going to happen.

13 comments:

  1. Sounds very cool! Glad you got to watch him go around.

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  2. What does chip in mean?

    The point about the dressage frame is really interesting to me, because it means that even a dressage horse should go with an open throatlatch. This also keeps the nose ahead of the vertical. It irks me when someone (even a judge) looks at a horse with an open throatlatch and says "make him rounder". Even some pictures of high level dressage horses look gross to me, because they are so clamped up. Reach is necessary in free movement which should be present in all disciplines. Do you agree?

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    1. I think there's a place for a collected dressage frame, and for opening the throatlatch up for further reach, like you would in an extension/lengthen.

      Maybe because I know Connor, but he's on the vertical or slightly in front but can still be constricted in his movement when in a dressage frame. He really tends to get deep, while staying vertical.

      Otherwise, I totally agree with you that reach should be readily available. The difference between upper level dressage is the collection level. A trot collected for upper level work isn't capable of an extension until the frame is lengthened some.

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    2. I think there's a place for a collected dressage frame, and for opening the throatlatch up for further reach, like you would in an extension/lengthen.

      Maybe because I know Connor, but he's on the vertical or slightly in front but can still be constricted in his movement when in a dressage frame. He really tends to get deep, while staying vertical.

      Otherwise, I totally agree with you that reach should be readily available. The difference between upper level dressage is the collection level. A trot collected for upper level work isn't capable of an extension until the frame is lengthened some.

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    3. I absolutely agree with you, Val. In fact I think it was Amy of Slow and Steady Wins the Race who posted a German graphic illustration of "Right" and "Wrong" collection yesterday, illustrating that exact point. When I've watched my trainer ride both this weekend and in the past, I've noticed that Connor tends to carry a lot of tension in his throatlatch sometimes. It feels like jaw tension, but there are a lot of wrinkles in that area and the muscles are tense. He can be on the vertical without that tension in Dressage. The clinician wanted a put-together canter with almost no rein tension, which was hard for Connor for two reasons: one, he's heavy on the hands/is bred to pull from the front end, and two, he is long-backed and easily gets strung out if you don't work really hard with leg to engage the hind end. In the beginning of trying to put his canter together, it also took a lot of hand to keep that energy from flying out the front and letting him get flat. Going forward, that will be the hardest thing for me, putting him together in the way my trainer had him going this weekend without letting him get flat.

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  3. Can't wait to see some video of him jumping in the clinic! :)

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  4. How fun that you got to see him go in the clinic! Sounds like nothing but good feedback from the clinician.

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    1. Yeah! Yeah, he really liked him. He gave us some great points to work on going forward, too.

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  5. I can't wait to see video either! What a wonderful experience to be able to see someone else that is experienced ride your horse.

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    1. Yeah, I am exceptionally grateful to her. It was really beneficial to both of us. All three of us, really.

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  6. "Ears on everything except what he is supposed to be looking at" - hahahah, I know nothing about riding this. Nothing at all... ;)

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  7. Great comments! He reminds me of Sherman, who looked at everything but the jump. makes for an interesting ride.

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  8. Ha! I would have creeped way harder than that. ;-) What a great experience for all of you. :-)

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