Disclaimer: This recap is based on my memory and understanding of what Cindy Ishoy taught. It is very likely that I got some things wrong so any disagreements/judgements should be on me not Cindy.
The clinic was starting the next day until 2:30 and I was the first rider. There were also people to feed in the morning which meant that I could sleep in and have a leisurely morning. It felt so weird but lovely to sit and have coffee with Paula and relax. I got to the barn at 10:00. Carmen was not happy because the horses had gone outside and left her all alone!
I could have found a spot to turn her out but history indicates that she doesn't really settle so I cleaned her stall, took her into the ring to lunge and look around and then sat down to keep her company.
Don't let her expression fool you- she was actually quite relaxed with me and was happy to drop hay bits on my mead.
I braided her mane and gave her a really good groom. Braiding was not 'required' but I find that it is very calming for both of us so I like to do it. I went into the ring about 30 minutes early to walk around and get us to both relax. My friend Cindy came to watch (not to be confused with Cindy Ishoy the clinician or Cynthia who rides Irish). She took the photos and videos of the lesson. Shanea came as well to watch.
When Cindy came in she asked me a few questions- I explained that we were out of shape and just getting back into work. She asked a few more questions and then had us go out and walk around.
Carmen and I were both a bit tense. Honestly, my thoughts were in a bit of whirl:
okay, sit up and follow the movement, put your leg on, Carmen we do not spook at the door or the sign or hay or the door, how do you ride anyway? Why on earth did I think that this was a good idea? Don't even look to see how many people are here watching.
Right away Cindy was after me to get her more bent- particularly to the right. I really thought that we had a good bend but it wasn't enough and when I look at the videos-I have to agree: what felt like a good bend was really not a bend at all.
Because it is very important to me to be honest I'm going to share some videos from this ride. Please don't be too harsh- honestly I am very harsh on myself anyway. I am disappointed in the degree of tension I see in my shoulders and arms- Carmen was very tolerant of me in that regard. I was honestly riding as best as I could.
Early in the ride doing our trot work:
At 3:44 you can see Carmen looking askance at a round bale at the far end. Cindy was so sweet asking people to not jump around and getting after some dogs. I said that it was okay because this was part of the reason why we were there.
I was sure that I had completely forgotten how to ride. Cindy asked me to do a 3 loop serpentine and I could not figure it out at all in the small ring. I apologized a lot. At one point we had this conversation:
Cindy: Teresa, you are trying too hard.
Me: Yes, that is my thing.
Cindy: okay. I really appreciate how hard you are trying to do everything I want but you don't need to think so much. Let me do the thinking and you just do what I say and it will be fine.
That was just what I needed to hear. I could take a deep breath and let Cindy do the 'riding' for me.
At this point I should say that I really liked Cindy's teaching style: she is clear and direct and positive. I didn't have to struggle to figure out what she wanted and I didn't need to listen to long explanations. She is also okay if there are mistakes. The says that horses at Grand Prix level have made a ton of mistakes. Don't get upset- just fix it.
Here you can see me trying to more bend. Honestly it was a real struggle and Carmen was not too keen on the idea. I was also opening my rein far too much- an old habit that has returned.
You can see how she likes to keep an eye out for things and spooks at a person walking up the stairs. But this was so useful because the work just kept going - there was no 'break' for spooking, just breaks when the work was going well.
However, as we got more bend I could feel her softening and relaxing into the work. It was definitely easier to keep her on the aids and she was more rideable. Of course she also was not too thrilled with this as it is also harder.
Cindy was really helping us with our issue of haunches in going to the right. I was trying so hard with my inside leg that I thought that it was going to fall off.
Here is some later work where we are doing canter and some lengthens:
We are looking more relaxed. There is a spook in that corner but we were able to ride through it with no big drama. You can see that she is a lot more relaxed over all.
I have to say that working on leg yields with a mirror is awesome. I can see how I overbend the neck.
While Cindy was not negative in her teaching style she only praised when it was warranted. So getting 'good job' or 'good riding' was something to be treasured and had real meaning.
When we were done Carmen and I were both sweaty. The weather had warmed up but she still had her winter coat. I walked her out and then hopped off to walk her some more. I took her out of the ring and put on a cooler and took her outside to dry off. We went for a little 'hack' in hand to check some things out.
I was really happy with session we had and I realized that this was just the bootcamp we needed. Not sure if Carmen agreed. I groomed her to get her to dry some more and then ended up grooming her more later. I was happy to see that, while she might have been tired, she didn't seem to be sore anywhere.
Cindy didn't finish teaching until 7. I watched some really great lessons and then we all ate together. Cindy was staying at Paula's and we didn't get home until after 10. I was so tired that I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Pretty sure that Carmen did the same.