Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stephen Clinic

Today was day 1 of the Stephen Bradley clinic put on by GDCTA. It was hosted at Montclaire Stables and thank goodness for the covered arena. As I was driving to the clinic the radio said "Today is the hottest day of the year so far!" It really wasn't too bad though in the covered. There was a fairly decent breeze and the shade was nice. 

We had fun. Stephen set up two great grids. We started trotting over the cross rail and then he built it up eventually to a trot pole before and after the cross rail and then we went to a vertical and then eventually it became an oxer. We focused on straightness and keeping the same rhythm before, over, and after the jump. It was good for the young horses. Danny was pretty good. 

I had told Stephen that he tended to be lazy and behind my leg OR.... rowdy. And sure enough, he started out unimpressed and a bit sluggish. He would trot up happily and at the last second before the fence he would slow down. So Stephen told me to wake him up a bit and get through the grid in 3.5 seconds instead of 5 seconds. So.... we came to it with a bit more animation and Danny flipped to rowdy. We jumped big and a bit quicker and landed in a crow hopping bucking spree. Hee hee. Stephen laughed and said "okay... now I see what you mean". But after that he was pretty good and I was able to keep him a bit more animated without the antics.  
So then we switched the next grid. This one was tough. We cantered in over a vertical and then came back down to the trot for some trot poles about 6 strides out. And then the trot poles became a vertical too. This was hard!!! Mostly because Danny and I can't figure out how to canter over poles in front of fences without messing up. I just can't figure out how to ride to the canter pole without looking like a monkey. And I'm not sure if it's because Danny is green too and can't figure out his footfall.... or maybe because he prefers to take the slightly longer spot when he has to get in closer he contorts? I don't know, but it was embarassing. I couldn't quite figure it out. But after about 8 times we finally got it. And he wasn't too bad about coming back down to the trot for the second fence. It was hard not to ride too conservatively to the first fence in order to make it easier to come down to the trot to the second fence. Stephen called me out on it though, so... I couldn't keep cheating. ;) 
 It was a very educational day. I think every student and horse learned a good bit and we ended on a good note. Hopefully it'll carry over tomorrow!


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