Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First Mark Rashid Clinic Cancelled; Dawn Teaches Me

The first Mark Rashid clinic in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, that was to be held from Saturday, June 2 through Monday, June 4, has been cancelled, and may be resceduled.  The second clinic - the one I'm riding Red and Pie in - from Tuesday, June 5 through Thursday, June 7, is still being held.  Hope to see some of you there!

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I rode all three horses today.  Dawn was up first.  It was a cold, windy day, but we had an excellent session in the outdoor arena.  I worked on lifting my right shoulder when tracking right, and Dawn approved - she maintained a lovely bend, went deep into the corners and used her inside hind leg effectively.  Then we spent a while on trot/canter transitions in both directions.  My goal was to not lock up for that fraction of a second but to keep my hands and body soft and moving through the transition, and to get the transition by just "thinking the legs" with a focus on the initiating hind leg.  It worked like a charm as well - we did a large number of transitions, many of which were pretty good, and Dawn was less fussed about the whole thing and was able to both maintain the canter and also to do repeat canter/trot/canter transitions without getting too excited.  All my canter transitions were done without any physical aids - I just thought the new rhythm and focussed on the initiating hind leg. Dawn's feeling good about being an excellent teacher - she is a big challenge for me to ride and has taught me so much already.

Then up to Wisconsin to ride Red.  Still cold and windy, but I carried a dressage whip for our session to remind him that forward was his responsibility.  Heather said that he's fit enough and far enough along in his training now that "just good enough" isn't really what we're after - he can do better and do what we're asking with more precision.  So I was focussed on getting forward in all gaits, keeping my focus up and forward through transitions, and getting the quality of transition and subsequent gait from the beginning.  I tried the right shoulder fix when we were cantering on the right lead, and it made a noticeable difference in the quality and "togetherness" of his right lead.   I'm beginning to work on eliminating my fraction of a second brace at the transition, and I think that'll make a big difference to him, although he's still letting go of his mental issue requiring him to brace as well.  His depo provera shot has had some effects - we were riding with a cute mare today, and he nickered at her a couple of times - but it was a "hey, cute babe" nicker rather than a "I want to have babies with you right now" nicker, and he was less distracted by the other horses and their doings.

Then back to ride Pie.  We had a good session continuing to build his strength and stamina at trot - lots of short to long trot and back.  Then we did some up and down hill walk conditioning in one of the pastures with a friend from the barn and her horse.

A very good day with horses!

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