Here there be dragons...

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

Hyde Moffatt Clinic

Last post in August??? Oh dear... Somewhat traditional at this time of year though I'm afraid -- maybe next year I'll make it farther *g*

Regardless - it's October now and I'm back :) Summer was a blast, show team did an awesome job and we find ourselves already at our fall clinic!

Hyde Moffatt came to play on Sunday. We had a great turnout -- every class was full! And, while a little chilly at first, reasonable weather all day :)

The groups were divided ostensibly by height, but Hyde's focus was on accuracy and effectiveness, so the jumps stayed low for all. The first half of each two-hour session was flatwork. The rule was simple - when you put your leg on, the horse must go forward. End of story. Simple, yet surprisingly difficult in some instances to implement ;) Lots of work on transitions - both between gaits and within the gait.

The idea is, there is no randomness in riding. Everything is predictable and should be repeatable. And if you do the same thing the same way every time, it's fair to expect the same result. It's just that easy. And just that hard. So Hyde discussed what the aids should be, and got the riders to focus very specifically on what they were doing every time they asked for a change. I was pleased to discover that most were very aware of what they had done -- if not necessarily able to correct it. Which is totally okay. Hyde made a point of noting it's our mistakes we learn from. When everything goes beautifully, you rarely stop to analyse why. But when things become horribly disastrous is when we tend to smarten up. If only to avoid the repeatable response >;-P

Once everybody had forward installed, we got to start jumping. The exercises varied slightly from group to group depending on rider skill level and which exercises best suited the horses involved, but throughout it all a focus on the four requirements of jumping: Rhythm, Balance, Energy, Straightness. Anything that didn't work perfectly was treated as a learning opportunity -- which of those four was missing? And how can it be fixed? Rhythm and Straightness were the two most people had challenges with. Energy had mostly been addressed on the flat, and most of the horses playing today were quite naturally well balanced. The exercises were set to challenge the other two as turns were in strange places that made for very awkward lines. Unless, of course, the rider managed to get the right combination of Rhythm, Balance, Energy, and Straightness.

With noticeable improvement in every horse/rider combination, the clinic was deemed a success from all. Hyde's approach was practical and positive and he taught the cross-rail group with the same (or possibly even more!) enthusiasm than the 3'+ group. At the end of every group, he spoke to each rider independently and gave her homework. So now everybody knows what to work on until the next one. That, and, when all else fails, "be the rhythm"!

Sadly most of the photos were blurry, but you can view them here.


Booooo, link to photos of Hyde clinic doesn't seem to work. :-(


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