|Yes. That's a Norwegian Fjord stallion. Yes, he's adorable.|
The best part about auditing this clinic is that Lou is my trainer's trainer. That makes his teaching style incredibly accessible to me, as it is so similar to my trainer's. Many times I have audited a clinic with Lou only to have a bit of Nancy's teaching come through a little clearer. Plus, it's always fun to see your trainer get a lesson. Right?
Here are some gems I picked up from this weekend's clinic:
- Honesty off the leg means the horse reacts to the leg with correct movement in the stifle and hock, not with speed. Make sure when you're applying your leg that the horse is stepping out correctly, on both sides. The horse in question was very one sided, lazy on a right hind. Lou was helping the rider feel what equal action in both hind legs felt like.
- Short sides are just shorter long sides, and should be ridden just as straight as a long side. (I'm absurdly guilty of forgetting this.)
- Don't forget the outside hind in the shoulder in. You have to make sure he is sitting and supporting with that leg, or you'll push him into a leg yield. Support the outside, push the inside.
- Presenting a horse in a double tells your instructor that you are ready to increase the level of feel and responsibility needed to ride in a more advanced way. You, as a rider, have to be more aware of yourself and the horse.
- "You've gotta want more out of him, because right now I feel like I, as your instructor, want more than you. And that makes me cranky." -- This is a great thing to remember, no matter who you're lessoning with. If you aren't ready to ask your horse for more (acceptance, obedience, bend, impulsion, understanding), why are you in lessons? It's not fair to your horse or your instructor.
- Don't work your leg out of rhythm with your seat. (Another big problem for me, and probably anyone who rides a lazy horse).
- Know the difference between an engaging half half, and a disengaging half halt. You want a low neck (more horse in your hand)? Stifles are more disengaged than engaged. You want a higher neck (horse off your hand)? Stifles need to be more engaged. The need for engagement was demonstrated by a Fjord stallion with a tendency to get heavy in front and lazy behind. He needed more engagement to pick up the front of himself. The need for disengagement was demonstrated by my trainer and her Friesian/Dutch gelding, who tends toward overengagement (think constant piaffe instead of walking, or cantering). Disengaging his stifles lowered his head/neck and kept him in a rideable and thinking frame, rather than being so engaged he could barge through half halts.
Anyone else audit a clinic recently?