Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Our first clinic...

(from GRS blog)

SO MUCH FUN!!!!    In fact, fun enough it needs more exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!

hahaha yes the clinic today was excellent.    The excitement and anxiety level over the last week has been pretty high, and there were some pretty nervous riders today -- but Waylon was quick to put everybody at ease.

I showed up at 7:30 to feed and found horses already fed and being turned out thanks to my superstar working student Rebecca (who doesn't officially start till 8 - how impressive is that? :)  -- that gave Steph and I a little more time to bring jumps in and do some last second organizing.  Waylon got here around 8 and we set fences and got everything set while the first group groomed and tacked up.   Vic also came super-early and set up his video equipment -- and then spent the whole day filming for us!  Woohoo!   Thanks Vic :)

The first group is the entry level group -- this level is still learning to put their horses on the bit, and jumping about 2'9.   Most of them will probably be showing this year -- I'm *really* looking forward to that :)  Show season will be a blast!   We had Emily on Bella, Chelsea on Lissy, Rowan on Jack, and Amy on Nick.

These riders did an awesome job.  Lissy was *very* concerned about the scary camera in the corner of the ring but Chelsea stayed patient and kept trying and eventually got her going through like her normal self.  hahaha was a ride and a half to get her there though!  Awesome job Chels!   And at the same time, our quiet little Nick decided having an experienced rider on him was a TON of fun and had a great time bucking and playing -- much to Amy's entertainment :)   She rode it out, grinning the whole time, and the two of them worked beautifully together.  Bella and Emily were all-round superstars.  Occasionally a little speedy or cutting the odd corner, but in general very successful at every exercise.  And Jack?   Jack found his big-boy pants and was a complete pro.  Didn't even blink at the scary camera - or anything else really!  I was so proud of him!  And his rider :)

The exercises in the group lessons involved shallow loops, canter cavelletii on a 20m circle, and gymnastics on the center line with a focus on rhythm and straightness.   The exercises changed slightly depending on level of horses and riders, but all succeeded at some variation of them :)

The next group was full of next year's event team :)  They're jumping 2' - 2'6" and working on basic flat work...  We had Rebecca on Louis, Kennedy on Apollo and Kirby on Charlie.  Rebecca did an awesome job with Louis -- she got the challenging left lead on the very first try!   And, better than that, was able to replicate it.  Woohoo.   Louis gave Rebecca a few challenges -- first too slow, then too fast, then all sorts of crooked.   And she dealt with every challenge so by the end she had him jumping calmly and correctly through the gymnastic AND the chute at the end.   Pretty sure that ride had more cantering and jumping than Rebecca's ever done before, so she did a really awesome job.   Kirby and Charlie had very similar challenges -- Charlie's got the great ability to be behind-the-leg AND going too fast.   So there were moments that were in slow motion and moments that were zooming around.   But soon she had him trotting into the line and jumping properly through.  The only remaining challenge was *straight* -- that awful chute again *g*   I loved the focus Waylon put on succeeding in *every* aspect of the exercise.  Just getting through alive wasn't going to be acceptable, it had to be done correctly.  Even if correctly took a few tries :)   And with a completely different type of ride, Kennedy was working on getting Apollo to GO.  hahaha he had his traditional disinterest in the left lead, but she did a great job getting him going and jumping like a pro-star!  He met every distance properly in the canter, even landing on said left lead fairly regularly.   Woohoo!

One of the things that made this class particularly interesting to watch was that Waylon got on BOTH Charlie and Louis.  And while it's always a pleasure to watch a spectacular rider on any horse, what made this even better is that he was good about explaining what he was doing and why.  He got Charlie to relax and go much softer, and started to get Louis travelling straighter :)

Following the two groups was a private lesson -- Steph and Sophie who are preparing for the * down in Florida next month did a lesson focused on improving Sophie's form over fences.  Very cool to see the change in the horse from the start of the lesson to the end.  The exercise involved a two stride combination (small vert to reasonably sized oxer) with a placing pole 9' out of the oxer.  This was to help the rider ride forward and help the horse get in deep to the base of the fence.  And it worked :)

Next we had a lunch break.  Mmmmmm pizza...  hahaha.   I LOVED how many people were there -- riders, friends, family and auditors.  I was *really* happy with the turnout and that everybody stuck around for most or all of the day.   HUGE thanks to my wonderful parents for bringing lunch (and the hours of help preparing yesterday :)   Made life much easier.

So while others were munching, I got Athena ready.  Diane and I rode together and Athena was really good.  Every time I get frustrated by how much work we still have to do, I have to think back to how she started.  She was really a superstar -- the one thing I love about this mare is her attitude; she doesn't always know what she's doing, but she tries hard.  The circle cavelletti were a definite challenge for her, but resulted in a significantly better canter - so that's a plus :)   And I LOVED watching Diane and Ben; they seemed to be having so much fun.

Then the final group of the day was our 2' division.  I was SO impressed by this whole group!  Here we had Charlotte on Louis, Kassidy on Lissy, Emily on Nick, Brena on Bella, and Amy on Flora.  So Amy is a very experienced rider, but Flora's very young and has only ever jumped a couple times.   And it was incredible to watch the difference as Flora's confidence grew!  From not sure how to trot over poles, to cantering calmly through three fences in a row and holding a straight line - brilliant!   The other four riders are fairly novice and for most it was their first ever clinic!  Woohoo!  And they were awesome.   Every one of those girls rode beautifully.  Every one of them managed to get their horses jumping well on the straight line through the gymnastic and into the chute.  Noticing the difference in these riders since the spring pretty much made my day :)

And afterwards - a great girl chat hanging out in the viewing lounge with everybody too tired to go home.  It was an amazing day.  I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard and I was so proud of all my students.  You guys were amazing!   Huge thanks to our awesome clinician Waylon!  And just as importantly to Vic for videoing, Stephy for ring crew/photographing, Chelsea for ring crewing, Rebecca and Brena for taking care of the barn all day, and my incredible parents for all the help getting ready.

As to the next one?   Spring -- we'll aim for an outdoor course jumping clinic just before show season starts :)


Post a Comment