Monday, August 18, 2008

Foxhunter Safety Clinic Kick Off

So much has happened since our last entry. Todays news...Arenus, makers of "Steadfast" have decided to really help me and the Devils get to the Championships in Illinois in September. What a great feeling to have even more support.It boosts one's confidence to the hilt. I had a wonderful meeting with them last week and together, I think we can really form a wonderful partnership.

Eventing on a large scale is difficult. There are so many pieces to the puzzle. The health and well being of the horses always comes first, and Steadfast is helping my horses in a way that I cannot. They are glowing and enjoying their work with confidence and less stress. Needless to say, I am delighted with their attitudes and well being. So... fingers crossed that we can keep it up!

The Fox Hunter Safety clinics have begun! Last Saturday and Sunday, we had 6 brave souls show up. I asked them if they had been forewarned! There was quite an assortment. We had a giant Percheron, a classy Thouroughbred mare, a polo pony/hunt horse, an Indian Chief, a delightful 19 year old mare, and another Percheron cross.

The first day we set a small "course" that required a multitude of skills. Our course consisted of a log to an uphill through the trees down hill over a ditch and then a left turn to another log. WE started at the walk, one on one, progressed to a trot and ended with the entire group going as on a hunt(only trotting). Chaos ensued. PERFECT!

All sorts of things happened! Steering, confidence, balance, bucking, pulling, ducking and diving issues were quick to surface. EXACTLY what the doctor ordered! So after lots and lots of talking and explaining, I sent the ladies out to try again round their tracks and, what do you know? Each time got better and better!

When all the ladies were sufficiently exausted I simply smiled and said, "See you tomorrow, bright and early," and off they went moaning.

Day two was about technique. In a nutshell, we practiced getting control of our horses' shoulders and also being able to own and change the size (and temperament and attention span) of the horses. A few changes of equipment and education of specificaly how and where to "influence" the horses gave everyone a thrill and ultimately led to newfound confidences. The second class was not as "exciting "as the first as I kept the ladies more "confined," but they got the point.

There certainly was a lot more groaning from both horses and riders.(I love to go deep) and with this bunch it only took two rides! We accomplished a great deal and everyone was excited to come back for more.

I have many more tricks up my sleeve to quietly let these brave souls find out how to make their own riding skills better. Hopefully, clinic participants will enter into discussion on this blog and give their feedback in the future! Stay tuned.

Next class wil be even more fun! We have 5 or6 men starting out! Can't wait!

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