I’ve had the itch to get out and do a clinic lately, if for no other reason than to have a fresh set of eyes. Nicole is fabulous and is totally capable of guiding Savy and I well beyond training level, but sometimes it helps to hear the same things in a different way. When Alice Peterson of Blue Ribbon Farm in Long Island came to our farm with a client to look at a few sales horses, I jumped at the chance to have a little “mini clinic” right here at home.
Alice and I worked on connection and roundness, with an emphasis on the inside bend. I don’t bend Savy enough to the inside and it’s because Savy leans on my inside legs and falls in and the circle gets smaller and smaller. Alice totally called me out on it. We worked on establishing a solid inside bend, rounding with the outside rein and then leg yielding on the circle. She did fall in and our circles got pretty small, but Alice didn’t let me give up the bend to make a bigger circle. Every time I gave up the bend she called me out. Coincidentally this is the same exercise Nicole and I have been working on for the last few weeks, which just confirms Savy and I are on the correct path.
Alice had a fun exercise to help Savy become quicker off my leg in the canter transition. Walk one stride, trot one stride, walk, trot, walk, canter. Basically we were revving her up for the transition and it did work. It also emphasized the need to have a strong inside bend since Savy wanted to have her nose up in the air during the transition. She also made a point that Savy and I can and should start each ride on the bit. I have a tendency to take it easy in the beginning of ride, but we’re at the point where I need to get right down to business. Alice said some horses benefit from walking around on the buckle but mine does need it since she’s not tense or nervous.
The trot work was decent but the canter was crap. Sundays are usually Savy’s day off and I could tell she was tired. She was slow and behind the leg, but not pissy so it wasn’t an attitude thing. I definitely have some new tools to help with our connection though and I really enjoyed riding with Alice!