Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Clinic Day 2

I was sore, and a bit nervous for day 2. I had waffled a bit about speaking up about my dissatisfaction with Day 1, but apparently my coach had watched part of my previous lesson the day before and did an intervention and asked for me to be in a different group. I had been told the groups were being changed around and I was for sure going to be challenged. I said to G, "How politely do you think she asked? Should I be worried I am now the problem complainer person who's going to get "schooled"?;)"


First off though, I got up early for pace clinic. And again, Midge way over excited once we started. She was great for our first go, but was gradually getting more energetic and inattentive, and was way silly for the second round...and bucked me off. Again. How embarrassing to not be able to stay on just cantering around a field with no jumps! I got back on and did a third round, and didn't die. My barn mates were all in the same boat with crazy excited horses, so it was quite funny when the coach asked if we wanted to switch to the second track and add in some jumps and bigger terrain. We all sort of looked at each other and were all like "NOPE,  we're good!", and started laughing. Sometimes you just don't want to tempt fate :)


Day 2 was pretty crazy in general for rider falls and loose horses...it's always bad there being one of the first outings of the spring, but the cool weather and our late spring made it worse this year I think. Add in the fact the stabling and the horses buddies are almost within view, plus how they all feed off each others energy and things were...interesting.  There was a lot of crazy antics and impressive riding on display. G officially decided that we're all nuts and that he's never riding, and I can't say I blame him.

In our lesson, the group had been switched up. Instead of the 5 riders we'd started with, we were left with myself and the little girl on the world's most adorable pony, plus added in an upper level rider on a green horse.

As promised, we immediately went out into the field.

Our lesson was a lot of fun. We schooled a bunch of logs of assorted heights, then moved on to more terrain type questions, because I had mentioned steep downhill jumps and drops are the one thing I feel uncomfortable with. Not necessarily something we need to worry about at the lower levels, but better to address it now than later!

There's one pretty steep descent in particular that I chickened out at last year. We pretty much walked off the little bank at the top, then trotted down the hill every time. This year though, Midge was on fire and I sucked it up until we were cantering off the drop and continuing on down the hill with minimal worries. Although pony was still feeling far too good and bolted a couple of times on landing, the steep uphill coming out slowed her down enough to stop her before it got too wild.
Trotting it very defensively last year. This year we were flying off the middle log! No media though. Blame the kids :)

We continued on to schooling banks in and out of water, then ditches, but didn't linger there since none of the horses had any problems. We finished with a little course going up and down another hilly area of the property. The slope would be similar to what is pictured above, with a large log placed midway down and some smaller one coming back out at the top. This was the scene of another Midge crime, in which we jumped the log going down beautifully, but then a few strides later, she thought a rodeo was in order and eventually popped me out of the tack, although at least this time I landed on my feet. That makes 3 falls in two days! Bad pony has figured out bucking on a downhill is a good formula for getting me off! I got back on, and the rodeos continued, so I got an extra lesson in riding out bucks...this particular clinican advises sitting deep, shoulders back, and keeping the horse's head up. Opposite to what my understanding of what my current coach teaches, and I think more effective for me and my hands which refuse to slip the reins in an emergency. I won, but my shoulders still protest...pony heads are heavy, especially downhill. We finished with a couple of nice rounds on our mini course.

Being a bad ass event pony is exhausting! This was the scene I found every single morning.

While I was hoping to school more than just logs and felt we were challenged less than last year, if I had to choose between schooling higher or more complex jumps or more difficult terrain, I'd go with schooling and being confident at speed over all the terrain type questions again. It was super helpful for those of us who don't have a ton of open space and are limited to mostly walk/trot on the trails. Also, lets be honest, learning to ride Midge's naughty pony antics in all situations may prove handy one day as well :)

Our little group felt kind of random, but it was so small it worked...we all got time to work on what we needed and were even able to all share some of the exercises. The green horse was way impressive and talented, but a baby and prone to shenanigans, so his rider wisely kept it "quiet and boring" with Bridget height stuff and a slow pace. The tiny pony was awesome and the clinician was creative with providing mini options, and the brave little team was even game for a couple of the horse sized ones. Pony power!

11 comments:

  1. sounds like despite the antics and otherwise rough start, that you got a lot out of it!! i totally agree that riding out in the great wide open at speed is an ENTIRELY different game than anything else. and it takes getting used to for sure, and practice. definitely useful to experience all, ahem, that B has to offer out there too lol, even if a lesson on sitting bucks wasn't exactly what you signed up for! glad that it felt like a win at the end of the day!! :D

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    1. The terrain is a big challenge, but the wide open spaces, oh boy! When they can see the other horses being naughty all around them it sure adds complexity!

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  2. Oh my goodness, lol. Sounds like there were some srs fresh horses out there.

    I am glad you had great second day even though B had you exit stage left - naughty girl!

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    1. I'm just realizing I seriously don't think I rode/camped with anyone who DIDN'T fall off at some point due to crazy horse behaviour. Bridget and her elderly pony buddy are the two safest horses in the barn and both lost their rider more than once!

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    2. I lied, my coach didn't fall off. But we did find her horse one morning in the wrong place and sharing a stall with someone else...so there still has to be some kind of naughty pony story there!

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  3. I think that you made a good choice. It sounds like the clinic was redeemed.

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    1. We did have fun on day 2, but I'm still going to say overall it was a weekend to forget!

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  4. Sounds like a great group and a good day despite some pony misbehavior. Those pictures of her sleeping are just way too cute!

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  5. Okay, so aside from coming off, day two sounded so much better!

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  6. Glad your trainer spoke up for you and that you had a successful second day!

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  7. So glad you got switched in a better group!

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