I signed up for the beginner jumping group (up to 2'), and on my first day we were a group of 6 horses and riders. We walked around for a few minutes, then Nick had us line up and asked the other riders what they learned yesterday, and asked me what my goals are. I said my main goal was relaxation as we both get tense being away from home.
We spent the first hour on flatwork. And I was a bit surprised that it wasn't really different from my dressage lessons - just because this was an equitation clinic didn't mean that Cupid could walk around with his nose sticking in the air. We started with just walk-halt-walk transitions. Then halt and back up, with the goal being to shift the weight to the hind end. Nick wanted me to slow it way down, almost doing half steps. "slow down the front end and get him pushing off his hind." Slowing down was pretty much our theme of the day.
In the trot work we went between a slow sitting trot and faster posting trot. Here it differed from my dressage lessons because Nick wanted the trot super slow when we were sitting - which does make sitting a lot easier but felt like cheating!
I was a bit nervous cantering in a group - even though I've shared an arena with people many times Cupid and I have never done a group lesson or rail class where everyone is cantering! Cupid was going a bit faster then the other horses, but was otherwise behaving. Nick said I need to work on keeping my legs from sliding back. And when we were in half seat he actually told me to get my elbows more forward, which is a rarity for me!
Nick was not a fan of my Myler combo bit. I had the reins on the bottom ring, he asked me to try moving them to the top, and suggested I should use double reins.
We all trotted over some poles. Then one at a time cantered though a grid of poles halting straight after. The focus was on a square turn, straightness, and the striding. We finished with raising the poles to small jumps in the grid, still with the square turn and halt after.
I left the first day feeling pretty good. Nick said Cupid and I have talent just need to put the pieces together!
|No pictures during the clinic, so I took a selfie after|
I was excited to continue progress on the second day, and Cupid did start out more relaxed. (Which was part of the learning experience, since we have a two day show coming up I figured this would be good practice!) The flatwork portion was fairly similar to the first day, just a bit shorter.
Nick again suggested double reins (and also took away my whip and spurs), and I borrowed a curb rein to try. Cupid hated it! He's never really reacted to an equipment change, and maybe it was me because I haven't used double reins in years. Even after we took them off he was a little agitated, so I took a little time away from the group to regroup while they started jumping. We trotted some circles and figure eights, then rejoined the group.
We did more work in the grid. For Cupid and me the focus was on not overbending in the opening circle (think about pointing his nose to the outside), not bulging out in the turn, and then maintaining a steady pace through, and stay straight halting at the rail.
Overall I thought the clinic was a good experience. The double rein was a miss, and I didn't necessarily agree with Nick's impression that I am a bit overhorsed at times (Cupid is quite good as long as I'm riding well, just not when I'm curling up on his neck!), but I don't blame him. He doesn't know Cupid or me, and was just going off of what he saw on that particular (two) day(s). He was actually quite patient and did also have many positive things to say. He also said that Cupid seems to really like jumping.
|Making faces :p|