Well, we did the clinic yesterday. Unfortunately I have NO pictures to show. I am so mad at myself. I put my camera in the car 2 days prior just to make sure I don't forget it. I get all the way up to the barn, turn it on only to find out there's no card inside. UUUGGHH!! That was the cleanest my horse has ever been and I don't have photos!! They did videotape the sessions, so I'll have that to post eventually.
Anyway, we didn't braid, just showed up with squeaky clean horse. I went with tan breeches and black T-shirt. I dressed puck in his white square saddle pad and white boots. He looked so cute. The first thing the clinician commented on when he saw Puck was what a kind eye he had. Naturally I liked him right then and there.
He watched me ride for a bit and then made decided to work on getting him to engage his hind end more to connect him over his back. We pretty much were in agreement that my horse is a willing participant, but doesn't completely commit to what I ask for, so he had be do transitions within the trot to wake him up. The lightbulb piece of info he gave me was, when you ask a horse for more impulsion at the trot, and he instead breaks into the canter, he is not responding but is rather evading. He said that, if you drew it on a graph, thrust is a straight line while speed climbs. Horse's "climb" by lifting their shoulders, ie cantering. I had been doing it completely backwards by using trot-canter transitions. Every time I had him canter, I was letting him off the hook. Doing the transitions within the trot initially made him stiff and unwilling, but once he relaxed and started stepping up from behind, the change was huge. I love lightbulb moments! I can't wait to see the video.
Luckily every other rider had something different that he chose to work on, so I got to see a lot of other "fixes" as well. The one thing I really took home was that the "fix" for every horse is different. While it may be the same basic moves, they are applied to suit each horse's situation. I know, duh. But really, how many of us read something or watch something and then run to the barn to try it out only to wonder why it didn't work? I really got a lot from this clinic. We're going to have him back at the end of the summer for another.
I went up today to ride Puck thinking it would be a short ride since he'd probably be sore. I was delighted to find him jump right into a forward connected trot and float around the ring. His canter was fantastic. I don't think he's ever been so light and uphill. I feel like we crashed through a major barrier and can now move up in our training. I'm so proud of my boy!