|group 1 listening intently to Mr. O'Connor (in blue)|
|equestrian bloggers unite!! plus bonus husky (who is clearly thrilled lol)|
And really, he had a LOT of wisdom to share. After auditing (free + a $10 lunch), I'm not convinced the expense of riding in his clinic would be justified for me and Isabel at present (the exercises and concepts were very similar to my current training program). But the lectures were excellent and I encourage anyone interested to audit a clinic should he be in your area.
|major bonus: we got to watch him ride when he got on to school one of the horses!|
- People ride below their level bc they don't make decisions. If you go out there and make a decision that leads to a mistake - that's great, you've got something to fix. But the lack of a decision process gets you in trouble.
- Get away from good fence / bad fence mentality. If you don't know what a good fence is, how do you repeat it? How can you repeat it in competition under pressure? Know the parameters so you can reproduce them. Also know what the parameters are when it DOESN'T work so you know what to fix.
|stadium exercises focused heavily on the 6/7 stride outside line and the 5/6 stride bending line visible here|
- Direction - Means the rider always has a line and never leaves it. The line is the width of the horse - and you should be able to play within that line. Shoulders in; haunches in; faster; slower - all on the same line. Rider must be exact all the time. If you only jump one path every time, you're not jumping a corner you're just jumping a part of the corner (ie it's no different than one specific painted section of a pole).
- Speed - aka Multiple Canters. Flat work is about "go, come back, and turn." How fast can you go or come back? Can you go from 500 mpm to 200 mpm in three strides? The #1 exercise is lengthening and shortening the canter. Riders shoud be doing this more than anything else.
- Rhythm/Balance/Quality of Canter - And specifically that the canter is sustained. You shouldn't have to hold the horse or carry him, he keeps it by himself - that's balance. Ears and eyes are on the fence. Not too round, head not too high.
- Timing - Recognize the distance. Have to be able to "recognize" not necessarily look for one. When you look you change the canter. When you recognize you see it out of the canter you're in.
|the other stadium exercise was this triple of an easy 5 strides to a 1 stride|
These lower levels require a forward seat 90% of the time - unless a horse is backing off. Forward seat is fastest way for rider to get strong. Shouldn't be sitting much at these levels.
Stand up in the stirrups, then put your head below horse's neck - feel the bounce in your heels and the stretch in your hamstrings. Then stand up again, then put your head below the horse's neck again, then stand up, then go HALF WAY down. That's a forward seat.
|group 2 working on finding their optimal forward seat by standing in the stirrups|
Once a week jack your stirrups up 3 holes and circle around in a forward seat with two poles at 12oclock and 3oclock, maintaining a narrow and well defined track along the entire circle, not just over the poles. Horse should be self contained and stay where you put him. This is an excellent way to build rider strength.
The dreaded six stride line (84 feet? I didn't catch the exact measurement) then bending line (72 feet). You have to relate the distance measurement to the CANTER not the NUMBER. Meaning, what canter do I need to get that number? Why do I want that number? Answer: To put the horse in the optimal place to jump.
The full exercise: seven down the line (collected canter), five up the bending (forward canter), five down the gymnastic to the one stride (collected). Build the canter through first turn, slow through second.
|the catered lunch was quite delicious - well worth the small cost, esp considering David continued the conversation throughout|
- Most ppl bend too much to the inside. In dressage AND show jumping. Outcome is that haunches are too much to the outside. Need to use outside aids. Otherwise lose outside shoulder and drift off line. He wants the horse straight - both in show jumping and xc.
- Horses run at the fence bc of anxiety. that anxiety is caused by riders 98% of the time. For one anxious horse in the group, David directed the rider to "Pat him to trot" rather than pulling him down. Make it a game. A puzzle. Patting is about relaxation. Do a lot after the fences on course. Land and walk. Or land and trot. Pat him. Etc.
|pretty sure this ramp was jump 16 from Isabel's and my outing at Waredaca earlier this summer|
- Take your eyes off the fence when you're thinking about the "next." But until that point, look right at the fence where you want to jump it.
- He wanted the canter lead corrected before turn in stadium.
- Re: the two different canters: Which one is harder for you: lengthen or collect? Work on that one. Pros warm up by testing the "zing" and a "whoa" in the canter then move on.
- Don't give up on a fence. At this level the horse can jump it from the walk.
- A change in speed on cross country has to do w how vertical the face is. If we get short to a vertical fence they could hang a leg so we need balance. Whereas a less vertical face means we can keep coming.
- When walking a course always walk up to your fence then look backwards to see a truer sense of the terrain.
- He doesn't walk courses with his students. Maybe the first 2-3 times, and then they are on their own.
- In a drop, keep shoulder in same place and allow your seat to follow saddle through the arc. It's not "leaning back" bc otherwise you'll just get pitched forward on landing.
- Tie knot in end of reins on cross country. Safety mechanism in case you slip your reins - it protects the buckle from too much pressure.
- Stirrup behind ball of foot for xc, at ball of foot for stadium, and maybe slightly in front of ball for dressage.
|this mare was amazing and reminded me a lot of Isabel - or rather what Isabel could be with continued education. Fitting that the mare's name was Empress, as Isabel can only presently claim to be Princess, or maybe Queen on a good day lol.|
XC Position / Exercises:
Make any adjustments about six strides out - in the 'preparation zone.' That's about when the horse realizes what they're even jumping. In the preparation zone, move seat toward back of saddle and slightly open chest (for shorter riders, taller riders have to be more careful with their torsos). As you open your chest and bring seat back in preparation zone you may find that by the last two strides you're in the saddle or very close to it.
These two different positions (forward/galloping and preparation) tell horse "we are cruising now" or "we are jumping now."
Once you're in that 6 stride zone you have to maintain - and react if it changes. Managed maintenance.
|the standards were eventually built up to a small vertical to finish out the schooling|
And most importantly it was a super fun outing with Alli and Austen and I can't wait for another opportunity to hang out with those lovely ladies!