I just returned from a fantastic two day clinic with a national Grand Prix rider, who regularly trains with Steffen Peters in the US.
It was a great learning experience, and I got so much out of it that I'll definitely be booking in regularly when she is here for clinics hopefully every 4-6 weeks.
She picked a lot that I hadn't noticed, I've been focusing so much on trying to straighten the right hind that I didn't even follow my rule of straightening the shoulders in front of the quarters *smacks head with palm*. He was very much on his right shoulder, and encouraging me to lighten my seat and allow him to fall on that shoulder. Because he's so lovely to sit on, I haven't made a big deal of it. It made me realise how complacement I have been with him!
First lesson was based around that aspect, getting him upright, and keeping the poll as the highest point as he wants to drop the poll and load his shoulder constantly.
Second lesson he must have been studying overnight, as was I! As he wsa much, much better, more willing to stay up in the poll and straight. We started a bit of work in the half pass, encouraging the half pass bend through his neck while maintaining straightness in the body, and some work towards the half steps, and canter pirouettes.
I was nervous the whole clinic, that she would not like my horse, as he's not an enormous, spectacular mover with world beating conformation. But at the end of the clinic she told me that he would not shine at prelim/novice level, and that I am hereby banned from competing him in the low levels as he is ready to go out medium, and strong enough in the back at present to go advanced. She felt that she could get on him and ride some of the PSG, and said he had a great talent for the collected work, had excellent trainability and that I would do well to start riding him now like an FEI horse rather than a prelim/novice horse.
That certainlybumped up my confidence, it makes me very happy to hear that its me letting down the team and not my horse!!!!! Now that I've had that put in my head, that he's got the ability to be up there, I'll definitely be pulling my head in and stop fluffing around with him.
Next clinic is already booked in for the end of September, so I've got lots to work on between now and then.