Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dedicated Troopers and the Marine Voice

My horses are in full work gearing up for Champagne Run Horse Trials in Lexington in a couple of weeks.We try and start the week off(Mondays) in the shade of the Hitchcock woods.After hacking out on day one,which is a strenuous workout for everyone we try and get all the serious faltwork and jumping done early in the day(Tuesdays thru Saturdays) before the sheer brutality of the sun kicks in.We usually do dressage back to back days and have one roadwork hack.I Jump about once a week.Hard to fit it all in.We have great hills and perfect footing here at Paradise so fitness is not to hard to come by.

The days are a race against the sun and heat.I have a bunch of very dedicated people that still come for lessons and they get the brunt of the sun.I try to fit in at least one or two lesons after the eventers are done about 11 ish.So between 11 and 1 there is some serious cooking going on at the farm.Then we go again usually after 6 pm or so when its cooler.

I have several great girls that are helping out or else we would all be dead.We are bringing up a few young horses here and the girls all bring their own to work a couple days a week.

I am so proud of all the hard work these people are doing.It is very rewarding to see the riders and their horses improve.I always warn them,the better they ride,the harder it gets.There is no easy way out around here!

I even have a couple of really dedicated men that come round and work hard too!So Cudos to them!

Themes tend to arise in the lessons .We are all still making great use of Lucindas recent visit which has improved our focus and control no end.Another current theme is what we term the "Marine Voice".This is to try and encourage a positive,take charge mindset,that helps the muscle memory kick in to improve steering,pace,direction,size of stride.The Marine Voice is a slow deep voice often used by counting out loud that helps the rider translate their body language into a better rythm,control, and frame of mind.The horse goes like the rider rides it,so I try to conjure up ways to improve what I call fairy riding or the helpless housewife scenario.These things all sound very basic and simple.I assure you ,there is nothing simple about what these people are accomplishing.Everyone here is practicing all the same questions and priniciples I am trying to improve on myself and my with horses.Size is not the issue but the quality of understanding from the rider.Once they understand, they can tranlate it to their horses.It is all great fun and very exciting.

As always we have tons of laughs.Safety,Balance,Control,Confidence and FUN.Thats what is all about.Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

War Zone

Anyone that thinks living on a farm(,especially with the name of Paradise )would be a quiet tranquil place with chirping birds and cool waterfalls should try and spend a few days here.

Boy what a few days we have had....Not only has it been VERY VERY HOT but we have been through hell and back with one of our horses being very very ill.The great news is that he has pulled through.

After about five of the most stressful,anxious days and nights,the team at Paradise can barely walk, talk, or think straight.The operative word here is team and I cannot thank everyone involved for their unbelievable dedication.The inside of the stable was transformed into a warzone like hospital,complete with beds,fans,cups of tea,red bulls(I have now reached my personal best ....5 in one day!),,telephones that buzzed every 20 minutes incase someone dozed off.Sleep deprivation is a very very powerful thing and none of us had anytime for that.Not only did I set my phone to super shock me into consciousness but I tied a rope around the poor horse and if he moved a certain way he'd pull me back into reality and I was there ready with an arsenal of meds.

WE read books,we even had bug races.I have never seen so many different types of bugs that appeared past dark but dissapeared by daylight.WE listened to the horses snoring.Pickles moans all night while sleeping.Then we have the chickens that are deliciously silent until one wakes up.WE also had bunny the cat on night watch.She was a welcome cuddle when it wasn't going well.We also made many a night drive around the block in the giant trailer.I am sure my neighbors love me even more after all the night commotion.Putting the horse on the trailer works a treat and was sucessful each and everytime.

I try to leave names and specific details out of the blogs to keep things simpler but I am completely honored to work with the team here at this farm and would head into any battle with all of them again.No one caved in even when things were looking very grim.WE were in definate crisis and came out the other side.The people that work here at Paradise farm are top notch and I am very very very lucky to have them all on board.I do not know how our vet is still alive after putting up with us for so long.Good thing she has a great team too behind her that can replenish her with peach fuzzies!Next time I'm definately going to hook us all up IV with those!

WE have about 11 horses in full work,plus lots of lessons to teach plus plus to keep everything going.It is definately not an easy place to be and with no shade at all it makes things very hard on everyone.I cannot thank everyone enough for standing by and keeping the mother ship afloat and this incredible horse up and about.

Churchill is our man.We will never ever give up..............

Our dear friend is up and about and looking great.Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lucinda Green Day 2

Day 2 is out on the cross country course and the riders get a chance to put together all their tubing skills with more skinnies and difficult small lines.This time they have the added element of undulating terrain.So balance and instinct become even more important to the horses and riders.Independence from the riders hands and reins as the horses need their necks more for their fifth leg is critical.

AS I did not get a chance to ride this time,I watched a lot and it was interesting to see those that knew what to expect ,verses the first timers.Either way it didn't matter.The first timers started their classes with intrepidation but were quickly put to ease by their newfound knowledge."Oh we did this yesterday"

IT DOES NOT MATTER how much one does this.One can NEVER EVER PRACTICE ENOUGH!Practice leads to muscle memory and when the riders can get in the right places and have some sort of instinct about what they are doing thats half the game.

Lucinda starts by putting the riders in their tube.She gets them glued on in the beginning employing thier safety seats so that they will be ready for the rest of the stuff.While Americans tend to work on galloping position and standing up balancing,this is the other end of the spectrum.This works on those critical last few moments before the point of take off that ensure a better jump.There is NO Emphasis placed on speed or galloping in the clinics.

I think that all that comes later anyway.I personally subscribe to this system as a teacher because I do not think you can get to stage two galloping and speed with a bunch of people and horses that you do not know having met them for the first time at a random clinic.

Stage one ,safety and balance and setting up is the name of the game for me.I was asked by one of the riders if I had other clinicians come.I do not have many.Then she named a few of the riders on the upper level circuit and I cringed because though they are great riders,I do not feel they are great teachers and communicators.It is not personal it is about specific technique and being able to explain feel and instinct.Not many riders are good at that.Lucinda is very good at that.To me,Lucindas principles are THE BOTTOM LINE to SAFE and EFFECTIVE riding.If you want to do anything for the sport of eventing,TAKE CLINICS WITH LUCINDA GREEN!!!!

AND SHE CARES A LOT ABOUT THE HORSES AND THE SPORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I look forward to her return and hope I get to ride next time.I chose not to ride mostly for finacial reasons.The farm came first.But I did learn by watching and can't wait to experiment.I was very greatful to all of those that made a huge effort to come.This clinic is well worth the investment.These people were dedicated riding in the heat (though it wasn't too bad we were very lucky).They took time off from work and really really tried hard.Thankyou to all the riders.Thankyou to all my helpers Barbie and Antonio who helped me get the farm all ready.Paradise really loks great right now.Thanks to God for all the rain.And Thankyou Lucinda.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lucinda Green Day 1

Finally after an ominus start we all got going and a great day was had by all.The weather could not have been better (not too hot).

Lucinda pulled her usual great rabbits out of her teaching hat.It amazes me that I have actually had people say to me "oh I have done a Lucinda Green Clinic before,I already know that stuff".Yikes!

The very simple course she laid out this year transformed horses and riders into little jumping machines that were attentive,respectful ,and THINKING combinations instead of zooming,strung out scary images that we read about on the statistics pages.

There was a lot of jumping,talking ,bit changes,rearranging and very practical applications put to use and the results were progressive and definate.Riders were positive and hungry for more.

Lucinda is without question one of the best cross country teachers ever.Her theories do not change,nor do they need to.I was thrilled to have so many people come from all over again this year.we had so many that I did not get to ride but was happy to get the chance to listen and watch.

I kept seeing the principles applied by the the better riders at Rolex over and over again.The opportunity to have a go with Lucinda Green should not be missed by anyone interested in good riding PERIOD!!!!!!!!

A good friend of mine said from an auditors point of view,"she just gave me a personal lesson in my position and not to get ahead of my horse"! YEA YEA YEA!!!!When one gets to SEE this over and over.To watch all the whoopsies and grunting and steering ,ballancing,control(the lack thereof) issues over and over it fills one with excitement and the desire to practice and work it out for themselves.

Lucinda Green is an inspiration.What an honor to have her here and to listen and watch.I can't wait till tomorrow out on the cross country course to see what unfolds.Stay tuned!