The Last Few Weeks, and a Clinic

So, it has definitely been a moment since I have written anything. With the new job, getting used to it has been a big adjustment. It’s going well, but it was overwhelming for sure. I’m feeling good about it now that I have 3 weeks into it.

Enough about the day job though! Horse wise things are going well. For the first 2 weeks for the job switch finding time and energy to get a ride in was tough. I wasn’t riding all that much, which lead to the rides I was having being kind of garbage. Not Dawns fault, but she has excess energy and with a lack of rides she would just be a bit hotter than normal.

How we feel about winter

This week I stuck to a schedule because I had a clinic to ride in today. It was with the clinician we had ridden with back in the fall, and I was excited to get her feedback on how we were progressing.

The arena has flooded a bit, so for the sake of the clinic it was moved from the arena Dawn is used to in the one attached to our barn, to the other indoor that is at the other barn a walk away. I hadn’t ridden her up there in a good long while, so I rode her up there Thursday and had the worst ride ever. She was an anxious, nervous ball of energy that was just not getting better. She was jiggy, spooky, and pooping nervously to the point I questioned if I should ride her in the clinic. I’m glad I stuck with it and did though. Fridays ride was much more reasonable and then she was perfect today.

I headed up early to give her a good warm up. The last time I rode in the clinic I was running late and spent a lot of time just warming up and I didn’t want to repeat that mistake again. We did a bit of w/t/c and then it was our time to ride.

I explained what we were still struggling with- tempo at the trot and canter, not jigging at the walk, and Dawns tendency to curl behind the bit. She asked what my competition goals were and seem quite pleased with them. She said they were simple and easy to achieve, which was something she liked to hear. Then we went out on the circle in a light contact. First and foremost she wanted me to lengthen my reins. She said that with the length of Dawns neck that I needed to ride a bit longer to encourage her to truly move into the bridle. Then she caught me riding with an open inside hand around the turns. That was ok when she was young, but I was to focus on keeping my hands up, forward, and together and anytime I think of opening my hand, I should put on inside leg. I also ride with my leg further back than I should, to connect to the inside hind I need to ride with my leg at the girth.

When we went up to trot I was definitely feeling out of control. With her being able to finally use her neck properly without my forcing too short a frame we had a lot of consistency issues. I felt like I was bouncing all over, which honestly tells me my worst fear- I have been balancing off her mouth. Poor girl. Luckily for me, when I told Kate I felt loose in the tack, she told me I really wasn’t.

We did trot left first, and when we went right it was much easier. I have been putting in a lot of right sided work because it was our weaker side and may have overcompensated. To the right once trot was established we were ale to work on connecting her to the bridle a little more. Again, we had a much easier time getting it all accomplished to the right. The second time to the left was not as bad, but still not as great as the right. To the left Dawn actually threw her legs out a few times- I wouldn’t go so far as to call it extended trot, but it was something akin to it. As Kate said “I hate to tell you, but there’s a bigger trot in there whether you want it or not!” so that’s exciting and terrifying all rolled into one.

She had a lot of extremely nice things to say about Dawn. She said if I can avoid the jigging, her natural walk is next to perfect and she would score it a 9. She said Dawn is one of those movers that pro riders tend to gravitate to because they can ride the movement which can be harder for amateurs.

She also helped me with trying to separate my mind from the Dawn I have raised and ridden to the Dawn I have now. She’s not a baby anymore and needs to be ridden more maturely, but she understands how hard it can be to ride your own youngster.

It was a fantastic clinic and I had a great, positive ride which has left me feeling much more confident in show season! Which, holy crap, is 6 weeks away. Must. Breathe.

I put together a very amateur little edit of the good moments of my ride, I have attached it below!


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