Clinics

Some thoughts on lessons and clinics:

-if your horse is nervous or hot, that is fine. You’re not performing, and I’d rather you bring me what you have to work with and have me help you get them relaxed and balanced.

-lunging your horse to expend energy before a lesson wastes precious energy you’re gonna need in the lesson, and goes against the purpose of the lesson. We’re working on relaxation and balance: lunging or round penning in circles to get the ya-ya’s out does the opposite of this, putting you at a poor starting place. Again, bring what you have and we’ll get there together.

-if all you did was walk, there was a reason. We’re working with where you and the horse can stay relaxed and balanced. If the basics in the walk are not solid, how can we trot and canter without losing balance and relaxation?

-if all you did was walk, don’t downplay the amount of physical effort your horse had to put in. Your horses is using deep postural muscles to stabilize their body in a way they aren’t used to. They will be tired. I’ve had top level endurance horses exhausted after 20 minutes of walking in good form- it’s not what they’re used to doing, and different muscles and ways of going are being used.

-if all you did was walk in the lesson, at the end of the lesson getting a trot and canter in out of balance and with tension is like eating Oreos after brushing your teeth. I left you and your horse where you were for a reason: because your horse was in a good frame of mind and a good balance. Ending on that note was intentional.

-you won’t walk forever. You’re there because either a) it’s a great place to give the rider enough time to focus, learn to follow the motion of the horse and practice a new skill
B ) the horses’ back is tense and needs to open
C) the rider can’t go into the faster gaits without pulling, getting tight, or otherwise reversing the balance and relaxation we’ve worked on at the walk.

There is no shame in any of these. We start with where you are and go from there. I don’t care if you’re a Grand Prix rider or a backyard trail rider. I don’t care how much your horse cost. If we’re working together, I believe in you, and you will be treated with the same amount of respect
but if the basics aren’t right, they aren’t right, and we don’t rush past basics.

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