In October I held my first clinic, giving my clients; who may not have access to an arena somewhere to bring their horses for a lesson, who wish to desensitise their horses to new surroundings and who would like a taster session in order to find out what I’m all about. Ofcourse also for my normal clients to get a good grilling over a well thought out exercise I’ve had time to put together.
Each individual and their horse has a different story, I wanted to focus the clinic on confidence building in the horse and rider and consistency but with each individual combination this is achieved in different ways.
To give you an insight into what went on, here is a summary of a couple of my lovely clients lessons.
What they wanted to focus on, which exercises we used to do this and how we achieved the end result.
The Spooky Horse
Rambo was new to Victoria who decided to get herself a horse to enjoy and compete after a long break from having a horse to call her own.
Known for being spooky and dramatic, Victoria wanted to bring Rambo to the clinic in order to desensitise him to new surroundings, learn techniques to handle his behaviour and continue to work on her riding and their partnership.
In order to prevent Rambo’s spookiness escalating, as soon as Victoria got on, I asked her to circle round me, asking Rambo to focus on what she was asking of him rather than letting him look around and jog and snort if left to his own devices.
Concentrating on encouraging inside flexion and activating Victoria’s inside leg in order to get Rambo to step under himself with his inside hind and soften over his back, neck and eventually to the contact, achieving a relaxed horse no longer focusing on his surroundings.
Doing this on both reins and then pushing it up to trot while slowly increasing the size of the circle allowed the now calm Rambo to fill Victoria with more confidence that she could consistently keep him settled and focus on her own position and aids.
Using randomly placed poles and transitions in the school we encouraged Rambo to become more supple through his back, open his stride and soften forward to Victoria’s hand. In terms of Victoria, we highlighted the stiffness through her body, encouraging her to relax and ride the back end of the horse, not the front, this allowed her to progress to a soft and balanced seat, let each stride push her into her rise rather than it being forced and softened her elbows and lightened her tension down the rein.
By the end of the hour session, we had a horse striding forward consistently into a soft hand in the walk, trot and canter, suppleness through changes of direction and a confident rider, conscious of how her riding affects her horse.
An all round relaxed picture, worlds away from the snorting, spooky horse and stiff rider we welcomed into the arena initially.
Matching Pony and Rider
Maddison was a new rider to me, sharing a pony that I knew already. At just 5 years old, Maddison had previously sat on and walked and trotted on larger horses but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to be in full control of a small pony that she could handle without being led.
Initially I worked with Maddison to lay down a simple base knowledge on the use of her aids for walk, trot and changes in direction, before working on her balance in the saddle to build her confidence towards achieving rising trot.
We then did lots of walk trot transitions, using different methods to make Maddison aware of her body in the trot, at such a young age, I have to alter the ways I explain the rising trot using a variety of fun exercises in order for the penny to drop as every child interprets the feel of rising trot differently.
Keeping the focus in the trot is vital but we also have to allow children to enjoy the laughter and giggles that comes with bouncing on their bums and let them embrace the time they have in the saddle.
At the end of the half hour session, Maddison was able to rise in the trot and understand which rein to turn in different directions, the diagonal aids to stay by the fence and how to start and stop said pony all with a wonderful smile on her face.
Although it rained for the entire day, my hardcore pupils and I worked hard to achieve their goals, and were all looking forward to their next sessions!
I intended to have a clinic each month, but due to the virus we have to miss November and go straight into December. I look forward to holding the next clinic in December.
If you would like to be involved in my next clinic or you have any questions then please get in touch.