Day one of the in-barn clinic with a trainer from Louisiana had some truly grueling flat work, at least for me. SO MUCH CANTER. I never canter for as long as I did on Saturday and now I realize I have been doing both myself and my horse a disservice by not practicing at the canter for longer periods of time. I need to bring back conditioning rides in a bad way.
The focus for Saturday at both the trot and canter was working on lengthening and shortenting transitions with the seat. I typically use my seat with Eli for downward transitions, but rely on the leg for lengthenings. However, he actually caught on quite quickly and did not protest my seat like I thought he might. I sit deep on Eli basically never — another disservice that I need to rectify. The clinician called me out about riding in a half seat and two-point almost always and that my three-point is really more of a deeper half seat and not a true full seat. Yeah … that. Have I mentioned that getting a fresh perspective on your riding is priceless?
I also don’t prepare him very well for stepping into downward transitions. We like to fall out of gaits instead of continuing to work uphill even when stepping down a gait. The clinician had us work on that, too, and again, Eli caught on fairly quickly. It’s like he’s trained and stuff.
(The gnats were HORRID on Saturday, so everyone had a little more snorting and head-shaking than usual happening.)
I rode in a group of three — with a junior rider and my trainer on a client’s horse. We all had very different horses with different things we need to work on, but the clinician gave us each plenty of individual attention and did not try to fit square pegs in round holes, nor expect every horse to ride the same. I enjoy riding with her a lot, even when I run out of steam. I also signed up for day 2, which I didn’t get to do last time.
Tomorrow will be about the jumping on day 1, complete with a chipping spree mini-brain melt on my part.