CJF Day 1 Clinic Recap

What a great weekend!

All photos courtesy of my momma, who was one of the reasons this weekend was so great!
I got a little bit of everything out of the clinic, and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Saturday was stadium day.  She always starts out by asking what we have been working on, and I said "Developing a short, powerful canter between the fences in order to solve our problems".  She laughed and asked what our problems were, and I said hesitating, jumping up instead of across, and things going too fast for his little brain in the ring.

The first time I picked up the canter, Cathy exclaimed how different it was from the last time we rode for her.  "Phenomenal!"  she said.  And she pushed us hard according to the progress we had made, as we started with hind leg engagement by "extreme leg yielding" on a circle, trying to bring his shoulders around first.



She had me think about hands forward all the time, and hands low.  She said I needed to make my half-halts with an upward motion to encourage him to keep his poll up, but then make sure my hands came back down closer to his neck - and to check that by thinking "pinkies closer to his neck".

This has nothing to do with anything, but check out that foreleg extension!
Connor and I's last flat exercise was canter-trot-canter-trot at 12, 3, 6, and 9 on the "clock face".  She was so delighted with our progress that she pushed us hard with something like this, and it paid off.  This was designed to help us find that short, powerful, canter.  This, I have video of:


The jumping, then, felt a lot better.



She used related-distance ground poles both as a warmup, and then in between fences, to help all of us adjust our horses' strides - in my case, always more compact and more powerful.  They really helped, as T Myers noticed in the photo I put up in yesterday's post.

Long spot over one pole - you can see his teeth!  Haha!




Long spot, defensive riding, and Connor being a total badass over a teeny tiny oxer.

Takeaways from Day 1 were that I need to use transitions and half-halts to produce a shorter, more powerful canter, so that we have options when we get to the fences, and so that he feels like he can fully utilize his "stronger body".  That led to a big breakthrough the next day on XC...


And for the record, I'm underdressed because our escape artist Husky/Malamute got loose right as I was leaving for the clinic, and I had to slide tackle the little jerk (grass stain on left knee), and then roll over him onto the concrete with him having some sort of yelping meltdown about the whole situation (torn right knee of breeches + skinned knee).  If I hadn't, he would have continued running for miles and I would have been late.

Since that's my only pair of tan breeches with belt loops, used for clinics and shows, time to go shopping!

Jump videos:



25 comments:

  1. Yay for shopping, but sorry to hear about your breeches. I love the clock excercise, I think it would be so useful! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. It was, those transitions came up quickly!

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  2. He looks fantastic! I love the first photo. So cute!

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  3. You two look great! And how cute is he across that oxer?!

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    1. Thanks! That did end up being a cute one.

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  4. You guys look awesome! Bummer about the breeches - totally understand about tackling an escaped mutant dog. They go FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER if left to their own devices.

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    1. We have literally found him 2 miles from home, still running in a straight line away from home, an hour and a half after escaping. No plans to turn around.

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  5. What a great recap and photos - sounds like a great clinic. Also glad you caught your dog!

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    1. Thanks! He's tough to live with sometimes.

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  6. I'm so distracted and envious of Connor's thick flowing tail in those videos. ;-) Sorry to hear about the breeches, but I would have done the same thing.

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    1. Haha, me too! I never get to see it since I'm always on him. Yeah - dog's safety comes first.

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  7. You guys look great. Love all the pics... especially number 1!

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    1. Thanks! It was a lot nicer the next day, so there'll be more/better pictures like the first one tomorrow.

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  8. You guys look great! I'm sorry about your breeches, but the catching of the dog or be late story is a little hard not to laugh about. I'm glad you had a good ride!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, definitely one of those laugh it off moments, that dog is full of them.

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  9. You and Connor look fantastic! I'm also stealing that clock exercise. And I totally get chasing a runaway dog... mine is half Beagle so when the nose kicks into gear the brain falls out...

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    1. Cool, it was a good one! The key was to make the trot REALLY short immediately, which is the piece that helped me most all weekend. Yeah, can't fight dog instinct!

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  10. That tail of his is like a hypnotic pendulum. Can't.stop.staring. You guys are looking great!

    Our Anatolian-mix took my brother on a quarter mile barefoot chase through our urban neighborhood and was only caught because he stopped to take a dump. We were on vacation so I like to think he was coming in search of us....

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    1. Haha, that's funny! I don't know if that breed is like Huskies, but it's not that they don't like you, they're just going to keep running in a straight line away from you anyway.

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  11. awesome first day - glad she was so impressed with your progress! i really like the idea of interspersing ground poles in actual jump courses. it's something i do a lot at my hunter barn, but haven't actually tried with isabel. good food for thought!

    happy breech shopping!

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  12. I am totally writing that t-c-t-c exercise down because I want to try it this week~!

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  13. great tips on how to produce a nice jumping canter!

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  14. I like the name "clock exercise" and I love the exercise. Definitely gets them listening and under you.
    Great day of learning and reflections.

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  15. My first instructor had an exercise going trot-canter, starting around 15 strides of each and working down towards three as you and the horse's fitness improve.

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