Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Clinic Thoughts, etc

Hi guys - as you are probably used to by now, it takes me a few days to digest everything from the clinic before I can make comprehensible posts out of it. This one is no exception.

Parts of my ride were extremely frustrating, and it takes me some time to let it go and be able to write about it without whining. Parts of my ride were very good and enlightening, and it takes me some time to figure out why. So bear with me!

Here's a quick summary: that particular clinician works us extremely hard. In most clinics, there are natural breaks where everyone watches someone else jump, or you stop for instruction. Not in hers. You keep going constantly. We did sitting trot and canter without stirrups (in jumping saddles, mind) for literally 30 minutes straight. On XC, she had us jumping down a very long line of 3 to 4 fences, then galloping forward and collecting back on the whole way back to the start, then jumping again without pause.

It was definitely good for me. It was eye-opening, and it showed me that I should push myself more.

I had also been sick the whole week before and it was just too much. So. Like I said, I just need some time to digest everything, relax, get some perspective. I did get some very valuable things out of it and I'm already working hard to put them into practice.

For example, last night's ride on Pandora (which was overall an excellent ride) was probably the first time I've ever gotten a balanced, strong canter all the way down the long side (sitting) without her asking if she could lean on my hands or fall on the forehand. I know the feeling of that canter now, and I got it from an exercise we did at the clinic. I also practiced my sitting trot without stirrups!

Anyway - full clinic report soon, complete with pictures and video. My buddy from PC took some great pictures of our XC ride, and I'm looking forward to putting them up. My dad also took some pictures, and he has uncanny timing for getting a shot where we're doing something stupid.

I also rode McKinna on Monday, while giving Pandora a very well-deserved day off. I love riding McKinna! She is where it all started, and she is such an awesome horse. It helps that her problems tend to be very opposite from Pandora's - I have worked so, so hard on lateral strengthening with Pandora, and I hopped on McKinna and was able to do much of the very same work it has taken me weeks to develop on Pandora. But, Pandora never ever has a problem stretching into my contact and finding a rhythm at the walk and trot, and McKinna is naturally fairly high-headed. Pandora has a much stronger canter than McKinna at this point, simply because I don't school McKinna's as often.

It is always a refreshing change of pace. The nice thing is, if I maintain both of them at a good level, I get to choose which one to take to different things! For example, the show-jumping rally for Pony Club is going to be in April. McKinna is an extremely tight, catty jumper and very fast. Pandora has a stronger canter and a longer stride and more balanced turns. Each has advantages and I get to work on them both! How exciting is it to have two such capable, athletic horses?

My C1 rating for PC is on Saturday. It should be fun, and I'm looking forward to getting to show my knowledge. I practiced my standing wraps last night and I got a very nice one, so I'm feeling optimistic about that requirement.

Finally, it is time to clip Pandora. She got ridiculously sweaty at the clinic (possibly understandable, since we worked our tails off) but she also got pretty sweaty from a moderate 45-minute ride last night in reasonable temperatures. She wasn't tired, just sweaty. I'm going to do a little strip clip tonight so she's clipped for the rating this weekend, but I'll probably go to a full trace before long. I hope our sad little clippers can handle it - we might need to buy a new pair!

I have lots of pictures from last night; I was taking conformation shots and analyzing her legs since leg conformation is part of my test. She is actually pretty good, though I think she is a little over at the knee. Forelegs are my weak spot, so I'm not sure!

I will put last night's pictures up tonight when I get home from the barn.


buckpony said...

Best of luck to you on your C-1. You will pass with flying colors, don't worry! (I'm slightly Pony Club days were some of the very best days of my life.) I'm looking forward to your next post letting us know you are officially a C-1!!

Marlen said...

I'm glad to hear you got some good out of the clinic. I was worried you were going to totally hate it. She is tough and coming off a cold is not ideal. Karen always seems to boost Danica's confidence back up when she is a little timid, so it was a great prep for the rating. I hope you all pass! Good Luck.

manymisadventures said...

I always work very hard to get something good out of even my most frustrating rides. I had a lot of negative feelings going on at the clinic itself, but Karen is a very good teacher and she always pushes me to work harder and get my horse to the next level. Next time I think I won't do it if I've been sick, though!

I am excited for the rating - it seems like everyone is well-prepared and it should be a positive experience. NOT looking forward to having to get up so early in order to make it for the 8:30 briefing though...

Andrea said...

Good luck on the rating! You will do just fine! :D

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