Here there be dragons...

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Coaching Games

(from GRS blog)

hahaha I've been playing around with different coaching styles the last couple days -- mostly just to mix things up and keep it interesting.  Also because when you *do* mix things up, you tend to see much better results (or so I find anyways!) -- that's, after all, why I'm such a huge fan of clinics.

So Monday night I had a group where each student has one very specific eq issue over fences that's been stuck for a while -- and none of them have the *same* issue, so it's not like I can say "Watch Jane - you do the same thing..."  And I happened to have my camera handy.  And an awesome volunteer from the next class to be videographer.  So had everybody warm up and then divided into two groups based on what I wanted them to jump.  The first two riders went a couple times being filmed.  Then we stopped and I showed them each their video -- first time just watch, second + time watch with specific focus on X.  Then discuss how to resolve X.  Then go do it.   *Amazing* results.   Rinse and repeat with the other two riders.

Before when I've done video lessons with people it's always video the lesson than watch and discuss after the fact.  And occasionally I've taken still shots of people riding and discussed that with them and had them try again.  The first, while theoretically good, rarely seems to get huge results.  The second sometimes does and sometimes not.  Not sure what inspired me to try combining the two *g*  It does take time out of the lesson -- I think it's probably better suited to a clinic format where we can ride for two hours instead of one.  But I was SO impressed with the results.  Wow.   Now I'm sure it helped that it was one of my competitive groups I was playing this game with, so all the riders are very determined and reasonably athletic.  But even still.  Definitely an interesting experience.  Only catch is I need somebody on the ground since I'm *really* not good at filming and coaching at the same time.  Kinda an either/or thing. hahaha

And tonight's alternate lesson was sort of an accidental lesson so I figure a *little* leeway on formality is allowed.  hahaha I knew I wasn't going to have time to ride today -- and I usually do three horses on Tuesdays, so that's a fair amount not getting done...  Kirby was coming for a m/u lesson, so I told her if she wanted to ride one of the others she could join the earlier lesson as well or do a pr around the middle lesson (it's a private so can't put extra people in!).  So she seemed pretty excited about that idea, but then had transportation issues.  She asked if she might be able to pr *after* the lesson, which originally I wasn't so thrilled with since I kinda wanted to supervise the ride on any of the ones I was schooling -- till my brain finally switched back into lateral mode and I clued in that she could ride my horse in the lesson and do a pr on her part-board horse.

Alright so good to go -- but then she suggests that since by the end of the lesson Athena would be fairly warmed up, why don't I ride her for a bit and she'll do night check for me.   Ummmm ok :)  hahaha there's really no down side to that.  Other than that I was cold and tired, but it could be a short ride.   So I countered that with if she got Charlie tacked up and warmed up by the time I finished with Athena, she could jump a bit (we have a very strict "no jumping in practice rides" rule - so they can only jump if I'm there).

So I flatted for a bit, but was wearing jeans so really - dressage just wasn't happening.  hahaha  Decided to jump, and Kirby came in with Charlie as I was part way through.  I had the horse going nicely -- she's finally starting to balance herself and rock back instead of nose-dive.   But I was not riding particularly well.  Ever have one of those nights where you just can't get it together?  Yeah, that was mine.  But ok - teaching opportunity.  hahaha told K to evaluate (I know enough to know what I'm doing wrong :)   -- she got about half of it I'd say.  I was pretty impressed with that :)  Far better than most students do when asked to critique another rider.  So I got one that was not %100 horrendous and decided I was done; when the horse is giving that good of an effort, she doesn't deserve to have to repeat it so I can sort myself out.  And Sasha was being good but gets really concerned when I ride, so I hopped off and loosened Athena's girth and then played with puppy for a few seconds.  But then I realized just how much Athena still needed to walk.  Argh - should've ridden a bit longer.  But couldn't bring myself to do the girth back up -- that's just not fair.  So pulled the saddle off...

And decided it was a good night to ride her bareback.  Why?  I have absolutely no idea.  Can't remember the last time I did that.  And Athena is bony.  And has high withers.  And doesn't stand to mount.  And I can't vault from the ground.  Hmmmmm tricky...  But I climbed on a chair and for the first time in her life she stood rock still (probably very concerned that her feed-provider had clearly lost it) and let me less-than-gracefully mount.  hahaha

But what about the funky teaching practices?   Right.  Well while I was attempting to defy the laws of physics and get myself ON the VEEERRRRYYYY TAAALLLL horse (yeah that might be a *slight* exaggeration), Kirby was making a solid effort to warm up Charlie.   And mostly I was just going to sit and watch so she could jump (yeah right - you're not new here....) but me being me had to make a few comments...  And they didn't quite get the results I wanted -- a baby-step in the right direction when I wanted a leap.  Sooooo, knowing K prefers to see things, I deemed we would play follow the leader :)

Now when you do the coaching exam, they stress that you always demonstrate things.  Demonstrating can be as simple as walking on the ground or asking a more experienced rider to go first but somehow I don't think they ever really envisioned this one...   So I'm trotting around, bareback, horse is on the bit (cause really - would *you* want to sit a hollow trot on bony a horse with huge withers?), and I'm facing backwards so I can see how what I'm saying and doing is translating to Kirby...  And giggling the whole way.  hahaha so much for professionalism :)   But it worked!  By the end she really had it.  Only down side?  She also picked up my *BAD* habit from jumping.  hahahah sheesh.   I'll have to get her to watch one day when all is going well *g*

So after I was happy with the flat, I did actually just sit and coach properly so she could jump a bit.  And Charlie was a complete superstar so pretty happy about that :)

And random lessons learned from all this silliness:
- clear the memory card before a video lesson -- or better yet, put in the large memory card first.
- don't ride in jeans
- if you DO ride in jeans (you don't learn really fast do you?), absolutely don't do posting trot with no stirrups.  You will have rub marks in places that should never happen.
- if you are riding bareback remember that you have no stirrups
- remember also that stirrups were invented to brace off of while swinging a sword in battle.  Note that while swords are generally not involved at GRS, there *are* times when bracing is actually useful
- note that if you are going to demonstrate kicking something while on horseback (ie - the wall - ummm that actually had a purpose :) it's *really* good to be able to brace on the other side
- if you are bareback, you have no stirrups, you have nothing to brace against; it is therefore a good idea to restrict yourself to normal-old-fashioned-boring-centered-riding >;-P  
- if you feel the need to lean over and give your horse a hug, and she feels the need to stretch and put her head down, it's a good idea to sit up BEFORE the laws of physics kick in.    No stirrups - remember >;-P
- in a pinch, horses make really great pylons
- never turn down a chance for unexpected riding - it could end up being tons of fun!
- if you're having fun goofing around and teaching (yes the two CAN happen at the same time) AND you have to feed the next am, pay at least *slight* attention to the time.

*sigh* - and on that note, I'm off to sleep :)


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