Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Better Riding Through Knowledge Clinic

In putting together some sort of flyer to announce clinics ,we had to come up with some sort of name.After going round and round we came up with the name Better Riding through knowledge(and not luck!)

I feel there are to many people out there that throw their legs over a horse ( any horse ,any discipline) thinking its all going to be alright and take care of itself.These clinics are about the most basic principles of general riding and horsemanship. We have people and horses of all levels come to play.We have people that have a huge fear of open spaces,jumping on unlevel terrain,cantering,steering,,,you name it. We have Fox hunters, trail riders and eventers.It simply doesn't matter to me. I only try to help people gain an understanding of how to better communicate with their horse in the hopes of creating a safer,more confident ride.I want people to know HOW to create that feeling of security with their horses.

This past weekend,twelve brave riders faced the heat. My house was chock a block full of bodies that slept EVERYWHERE so they could be ready to ride bright and early.There were air mattresses and two coffee pots. People were ready for the onslaught.

This time we had two videographers come and tape the sessions with the help of their handy dandy flip cameras. At lunch we were able to review position and the application of the aids over and over on their fancy computers. There were lots of AHA moments for all.It was terribly helpful for the riders to be able to really see themselves and play back moments of their lessons over and over. The general theme of this session was to teach everyone the importance and the How to get and "uphill balance" and maintain it throughout their rides.Out came the pencil on the videos ,where we could show the riders,see that's uphill.....that is not.......It is very beneficial to see oneself rather than listen to me all the time. My job was to INCESSANTLY be a bug in their ear to create enough muscle memory to help them do their respective jobs.

People came from everywhere. We had representatives from Louisiana,Georgia,North and South Carolina. I only wish more Aiken people would come to these clinics as they are right in their own backyard.But.........Hopefully they will one day.

Sometimes I hear,I do not want to work that hard. Or I am sitting up straight,or he is light,he's not pulling. "Oh yea?,then why is his mouth wide open?" .........."Oh yea,,,,,,that"

More often than not we work on straightness,which is far harder to maintain than one would think.The ability to adjust the stride plays a huge role in confidence and safety.

I receive constant messages from God and often create incredible scenarios for the riders in order to achieve a point. Most of the time the messages become quite clear.After two or three sessions the riders are able to leave with some great tools and concepts.It is my hope they can retain these concepts and return and build up their riding repertoires,so they can learn and know how to fix situations in their futures.

I was please with the improvement I saw in every lesson.The use of the video and lunch in the cool office was also helpful. Can't wait till the next one July 16-17.The heat is tough but we made it through by getting up early. None of us have time to waste......Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Full Gallop May Horse Trials

Paradise Farm had a large contingent of great people go to Full Gallop last weekend. I had the pleasure of riding Lynda Clary-Burkes lovely horse Rasta Mon in the beginner novice class. He was a real gentleman in all three phases but had a baby spook at the third fence cross country so I felt a circle was needed and that gave him his first 20. Hopefully his last. It was a purposeful decision on my part as he saw some sort of monster way far out and temporarily lost his marbles and his balance. The ground was beastly hard and I felt no reason to gallop hard around with such a nice youngster , so we also had some time faults. I adored the way he handle his first recognized event and should prove a real little star for Lynda when she is ready to go again.

It is a real honor to be able to start someones baby horse. I know she was bursting with pride as she saw her boy go around. I am lucky to be part of that with so many fun people.

Amy Zaiser rode the Blizzard of Oz . Amy and her family have been STALWART SUPPORTS of Paradise for years and she is a beautiful rider,a GREAT FRIEND, and a SUPER competitor.We all have bogey fences in our minds and Amy's was a ditch. Her horse sailed perfectly over it and in her excitement, Amy suffered from what we call (having a cigarette......you know after.........) and relaxing too much with great pleasure and dispelled tension........ and went right on by the next fence. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. There are so many ways to get eliminated in this game......But it made us all have a laugh. She won't do that again for a while I am sure!!!

Arthur was a star and furthered his eventing experience by conquering his first fence itis demon. Let that demon be gone! What a trooper. The world is now his oyster.........

Nancy Thrasher came and rode the pants off of Tom in dressage and show jumping. She forgot to eat and got pooped out on the cross country and had a stop. But she finished and knew what she needed to do next time to get improve her result.

Denise Putnam bombed around on George after being disappointed with her dressage test and beat us all!

Fawn had a great day with her big boy. Last I heard she was second and groaning. But she went a double clear. I'm just not sure where she ended up.

And Gigi Thomson came and had a fab day too and really conquered some of her demons. She wept with happiness and relief and that was special.

So many people try so hard to ride in these events. Everybody has their own saga.A horse trials is like a mini city on the day.So far the only thing I haven't witnessed first hand is a baby being born at a competition!

It's really fun to watch everyone evolve and work so hard with their horses. WE are so lucky to be able to do this.

The paradise team will spend the month of June back in the classroom to get ready for the fall season.We have a clinic here at the far4m the last weekend in June for everyone to continue their education and get some serious practice in. During the summer months we don't back down but tend to attend more dressage and Jumper shows than events.It's a good break for us all.

The devils are on holiday except for River whom I hope to take to some Dressage and Jumper shows.The babies are in full work for the next season. So stay tuned and thanks to all you great , fun , people out there!