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
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~!