dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Clinic Report Day 1: Keep it Simple

I've been away since Friday attending a clinic with Johanna Beattie Batista. I've had a few clinics with her since Carmen and I have started together. Right now my brain is so full that I'm not sure I'll be coherent.

But it's not sunday without a blog post so here goes.

Thursday I had one of the worst headaches I've had for a while. I managed to get everything ready but there was no way I could ride and I decided to forego tack cleaning. Friday my headache was gone but I had that post-headache hangover. I don't know what else to call them- my head doesn't ache but my head and my body feel beat up and out of it. I finished getting the trailer packed and then loaded Carmen. She walked right on with no fuss and we began our trip.

It's a 2 hour trailer drive to the location but it almost all highway and so we sailed along with no disruptions. Carmen unloaded easily. She hesitated a bit going into the barn but followed me along quietly. This was a big change- the last time we were there I needed help to get her to walk into the barn. I set her up in her stall and put my stuff away and then had lunch. Seriously- this was such a nice leisurely, stress-free clinic. I was riding at 3:30 so there was lots of time.
this is the view from the outdoor ring- this place is a jewel.
That's a golf course along the river. 

I was able to lunge and quietly walk Carmen around before the lesson started and I took full advantage of it. Johanna wanted to know my goals and I told her that I wanted to work on straightness and smooth transitions. I explained how Carmen gets crooked when she's tight- she calms when I can get her straight but she also fights that. Johanna advised me to ride her with lots of changes of direction when she gets crooked- do small circles, large circles and changes of rein. She then told me to go play with that.

I should explain that what Johanna does is explain something and then lets the rider try it out and see if they can figure it out. She will watch for a while and call out small adjustments (or large). I could feel it working- Carmen was getting straighter. Johanna then began to talk to me about keeping my brain clear and simple.

Apparently I think too much. Who knew? <-----sarcasm font

Seems that Carmen gets confused by all the thoughts roiling around my head. Of course she has lots too so the too of us can get ourselves in a mess. But, since I'm ,theoretically, the one who can consciously change it has to be (sometimes it's just not fair).

So my job was to ride Carmen, keeping my intent clear and not hold my breath. I worked on that and it really did work. Johanna pointed out that as I was doing that Carmen was no longer spooking and looking around. hmm.

Then we worked on getting my pelvis more engaged. I tend to ride with too much weight in the stirrups and not enough on my seat bones. I will blame my early hunter jumper training but I've been riding like this for years. Which makes it impossible really hard to change. I've been starting to get it on my own but in this lesson I could really feel it. All of sudden my seat bones were moving with the horse and I could feel her back through the saddle. And the transitions were soft and forward. It felt so cool.

Carmen was really tuned in and we were dancing around the ring. I would get it-lose it- get it but more and more it was starting to really sink in.

I asked for a canter and the wheels fell off the bus. She was very resistant about going into canter. We thought that with my deeper seat she wasn't sure how to carry me. We left it alone and finished up on a great note.

This is not a photo from that lesson- it's from the next day but I it shows how it felt to me.
trotting on sunshine :)


18 comments:

  1. Sounds wonderful. I think most dressage riders are guilty of over thinking :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know I'm a big over-thinker too. You guys look great!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I need to go through our photos and see if the change

      Delete
  3. Lol it's supposed to be simple, right? Right?!?!? Carmen looks great tho!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah- it's pretty simple- just be perfect and it will all be fine. ;)

      Delete
  4. The pictures look great. I look forward to hearing the rest when you've recovered.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That sounds awesome! It's hard to quiet your brain, that's my biggest problem haha. Glad you were trotting on sunshine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My brain very seldom shuts off - I need to work on that.

      Delete
  6. Carmen is beautiful! Sounds like a great clinician

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. And she is. She's different then what I'm used to but I'm learning a lot from her.

      Delete
  7. Yes - I also heard "Sit Down!" quite a few times this weekend :) Carmen looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thinking too much and sitting forward in the saddle are issues I have, too. Happy to hear you didn't push Carmen when the wheels fell off. LOL. It seems like a great--safe--clinic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I shall start a support group for the over-thinking riders. :)

      Delete
  9. I have the same problem with my hunter/equitation background. I tend to use my stirrups more than my seat. You both look wonderful together. She is just gorgeous. Sounds like a great clinic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! That's what I think has happened to me.

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.