Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mark Todd Clinic! Gotta love eventers!

This was a very laid back kinda meandering lemmings type of clinic. I think at first Mark was setting up jumps and unfortunately I didn’t even realize who he was so I didn’t offer him a hand while I was busy snapping shots of a pro-rider from texas who was warming up in a gallop on a gorgeous pony J He wasn’t too shabby himself ;)

Finally things progressed into warm-up but at first no sound system so half of the auditors stood in the arena. I was there with my trainer who is still healing from surgery so we stayed in the bleachers. We missed a few huddles but honestly I did not expect a grand speech and am glad I did not because Mark is a man of few words it seems and so did not attempt to entertain us all (fine by me). He wasn’t at all interested in the auditors or most of their stories and I thought that was quite funny. There obviously was more reason to train the people he was there to actually train more in a lesson type feel which was also fine with me since I see more and glean more from riders actually riding, corrections, and then the trainers jumping aboard to show me rather than a book worth of words. No words can replace seeing a good hand and leg feeling some frisky critters rib cage up until it melts into the pot of gold its owner always hoped it would be ;)

Oh and by the way it was freezing of course. Warm every day but that one. Ugh.

Anywho, the barn owner came bringing a microphone and Mark grudgingly put it on. He was very pleasant until he had to do the clinician type stuff and then he looked incredibly irritable LOL I actually think he felt if you were not there to ride you could leave altogether… But then someone kept bringing him some coffee. After that he started to be a bit chattier, olympic medals and human after all.

Onto the notes I did not take.


Giant square with poles on two sides with quarter pirouettes in the corners. Collection for the turn and then forward then back to collection. (he also demonstrated this himself from extended to collection and back again with seamlessness)

Get a good reaction from the leg and then a good reaction to half halts for the collection.

Find a rhythm first before you start adjusting the horse

Turn from the outside and then in a circle open the inside a bit more and differentiate between your sit and turn L and your circle work with more bend.

Small corrections, small corrections.

No secrets here this was all about the canter work and it was all about basics.

I wont lie to you it was very front to back riding but I did not expect a grand dressage lesson to be had and felt that everyone there was incredible with their hands so the horses still maintained a suppleness.


Crossrail figure 8’s with lead changes over it

Gymnstics: let the horse make the mistake and correct after with halt and rein back (nothing drastic just a small correction).

Wait wait wait wait wait no gunning in between fences

Poles everywhere in between fences

Jump oxers front and back

S figures with lead changes between jumps keep it fresh. He was very strict about getting every single lead change correct and over the fence landing on the lead you ask

Every rider shut up and rode. None of them felt like dialogue would make that oxer any easier so they took their instruction and applied it quickly and professionally. Gotta love the serious business that is eventing. Every correction by Mark showed quick success and we all could see it unfold clearly.

NOTHING was new but everything was well done by the tactful sticky riders that attended. We only stayed for the advanced­-inter-prelim and for the most part people were pushing the boundaries of their own level instead of being new and were showing off some serious skill. Mark’s job was made easy by only needing maybe a few corrections before a “good” run.

One rider’s horse did swim a jump in the gymnastic of 4 fences and she jumped the second on her pommel the third she fell completely sideways hanging and recovered by the fourth fence taking it as if nothing had happened all with only a stride or two between each to recover. We all clapped including Mr. Todd, it was quite a show of horsemanship.

We mingled a bit and learned about so many of the pro’s/ammy’s there at the large facility and we got to hear the entire farm history from the barn owner of Holly Hill over coffee while my trainer and I explained over and over when asked “Did you bring a horse?” “No we actually ride dressage.” “OOOO_OOO really?!” like mythological creatures we were quickly introduced to everyone :) 

It was a great clinic and for the people who actually rode it was surely life changing, and for me I remembered lots of things that could be useful in my riding or even just ingraining good horsemanship into my brain again refreshed my want to strengthen my back and half seat myself through a good gallop once in a while J

It was a pleasure Sir Knight Todd~!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Before and after/plus rant!


After one year


Before :

You can say something as simple as “I love blue breeches!”on a forum, any forum, even a forums labeled “This is the forum ONLY for people with sense and some form of accomplishment”, yes even on that forum you could post a benign little nothing quick sentence on your Iphone at the mall sipping a latte and completely happy and cheerful and someone will see the evil in it. The pure hatred you must have for every other breech? Are our breeches not good enough for you?

Are you a breech snob? I bet all of your blue breeches are expensive and dipped in gold! We like breeches that are different and unique and you must be judging our down to earth breeches. In fact I think personally that you have always been very small minded about breeches and from what I’ve read you can’t even wash them correctly…

So then you come home from your mall day to find a barrage of breech outrage and even if you try to diffuse it with, “I have cheap breeches too!” “I really have all kinds of colors.” “I actually think I clean them just fine?” but it’s too late… They have found out your nefarious hatred for heinous breeches everywhere… Sigh.

Anyway Im having some kind of nostalgia lately. Lots of reasons I won’t go into here but its making all kinds of things seem so mall in the scheme of things. For now I just want to enjoy my riding and be thankful for the different horses I get to use and work with J

So I promised to talk about some of the training Ive learned lately and one of them is a biggie to me of late. Change of figures. Do something a few times and move on. Figure 8’s? Great do a few each way. 20 meters? Get a good one and move on. Rail? Yes but come off and onto it a few times in small s’s and wide s’s and add circles sprinkled in. Change of direction often. If there is resistance longer than a few strides it’s not going to change by doing exactly the same thing for another few strides

Offering a bed before the horse is to the outside is pointless. Ask the horse onto the outside and then bend, even if it’s not perfect.

That’s all folks!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year peeps!

So here are some pictures of the Walkaloosa J He is a joy to work with most days. Has a bolting issue whenever he has to work too much but luckily for me he is none too fast and very slow legged so it’s kind of like your fat Labrador at fetch vs. a greyhound. You think it’s cute when he tries to “run” because it’s a waddle.


Trouble is as he is getting fitter he is also a bit faster at ducking around when he does get loose from me a bit.


I try not to punish forward so I get run away with… A lot!


I have found some suppling work confuses him and makes for a mess of a ride so Ive tried to use big on the rail riding really forward and with lots of flexion down and then release once he gives.

Since these pictures I’ve had one really nice roundish ride but the TROT he does when he does it vaults me out of the saddle! He has some impulsion behind naturally which is nice but Im not used to it because my horses have been flattish of late.

Lately I have learned a few things about how horses should be “athletic” in every sense. Stretching, building muscle, and endurance.