Clinic Videos: Log and Down Bank

Promise I'm not milking the clinic videos for all they're worth by spreading them out.  My coworkers blew up our network on accident a couple of days ago, and the part I manage reacted especially poorly, so this week has been insane.  Very little time for blogging!

When asked by my trainer if there was anything specifically I wanted her to do with him on Day 2 on Sunday, I said "Down banks."  We did them once while schooling at the HHP, and it was terrifying.  Seeing the ground go out from underneath him, the dire warnings that I'd get bashed in the face if my weight was even remotely forward, and remember to let the reins slip and keep your leg in front of you...I was afraid for the first time since I got my jumping cojones back.  Total honesty: I cried I was so scared after our final attempt.  This was just last summer.  Clearly I am not the person to start a horse over down banks.

They started the day with walking over a log.  The clinician wanted her to give him time to puzzle things out at first, and not to rush him AT ALL.  "Dribble him over it," he said.  This is a compilation of his log attempts:



(You can see the throatlatch tension discussed earlier, especially in the last couple of log attempts.  His nose is in front of the vertical, but his throatlatch is tense.  It goes away later, with his nose in roughly the same position.)

After the clinician was satisfied there, they moved onto the single baby down bank, and then added a crossrail, again instructing her to let him dribble at first to give him time to think and process.  What I found most interesting was that his uncertainty about the down bank directly affected his approach and takeoff at the crossrail, even 15-20 feet away.  Check out how he attacks the approach on the final attempt, though - you can totally see his learning curve in this one - he's a brave badass by the last attempt, and even accelerates toward it to attack it.  Atta boy, Con!:


22 comments:

  1. Downbanks still scare the crap outta me. I had a bad experience at the HHP as well (the instructor pushed me and my horse beyond our confidence level), and I ended up landing on the cantle of my saddle after my horse leaped off the (small) down bank. ugh. I've gotten a little better, at the walk. lol. It'll be a while before I can trot down one again.

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    1. That's so scary! It makes me feel better that I'm not alone in that. The HHP bank isn't even that big. This one that we have at home is even smaller, so I'm going to request schooling it before we school at the HHP later this month. I'm with you, I think I'd take the time penalty and walk it if I had one on course right now.

      Club Down-Banks-Are-Scary!

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  2. He looks great at the end! Glad he could slowly process the question with your trainer. You will be more confident next time.

    Who was the clinician?

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    1. Thanks! Clinician was Nad Noon.

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  3. GOOD BOY CONNOR! I love how your trainer & the clinician are letting him take it slow and figure things out for himself. I think it's great for you to see that your pony is a badass at down-banks, so when you get to ride one on him it will make it that much less scary!

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    1. That is what I am hoping! He'll be the more educated of the two of us and it will feel good!

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  4. Aww such a smart guy! He looks very confident down the bank towards the end. And I just love his jump over the log! Adorable :)

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    1. Haha thanks, he looks like a determined little terrier or something jumping that log, I think.

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    1. He did have his thinking cap on last weekend.

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  6. It's funny how different we all are--I think banks are totally innocuous. Cuna and I could (and did) canter up/down them. Maybe it's because of all the time I've spent doing terrain in the hills? I'm not sure. I definitely know what it feels like to be afraid though, and overcoming it is not easy.

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    1. It's a good theory. I've never been nervous on terrain but I'm only out there maybe once a week or so, real trail riding only once or twice a year. Maybe we need more downhill work.

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  7. Down banks are kinda scary but Connor is such a star :)

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  8. I actually really enjoy down banks or jumps with drops. I think it comes from learning them after I had a strong relationship with Barry. The learning process was rough, but afterwards they are fun. Sherman though did not like them and refused to do them. I think he was overfaced at some point.
    Really happy to see how they brought Connor along. Makes me feel better about taking things slow with Comrade.

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    1. Yeah, I think they will be fine after I get to do them more. I've done it three times in my life. Jumping was hard too the first few times.

      Yes, he really took it slow with him and gave him time to figure it out. He almost psychoanalyzed Connor this weekend, and was accurate right from the very beginning. I was happy to see him take such a mental approach with him, these Cobs need that.

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  9. Awww, I love that last video you can really see him "get it" and then realize this is kind of fun. And I'm totally with you on the down bank fear. It is the biggest obstacle for eventing above novice, for me!

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    1. Oof, yeah. Isn't it legal to have them in BN too? I can't remember. I know in Starter we have up banks, and usually optionally, but not down.

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  10. Once you get more practice...they will start to become a walk in the park. I used to have a huge fear of them as a teen..now I love love love them!

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  11. He looked great attacking that bank!

    Harley and I have walked down a couple really (long) steep trails. I was kinda terrified, especially in the muddy of parts. I think I would almost prefer a bank, because at least it would be quick!

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    1. Oh not me! Let's trade! Or exchange. Haha. I used to trail ride Lisa's baby Cobs on really steep hills in a hilly state park. I just put my feet forward and trusted the horse. Maybe I need to take that approach to down banks, too. Nice comparison!

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