Lightening and downpours today (we'll take it!!) and lightening and thunderstorms yesterday, so didn't ride either horse. Did take Whiskey to a trail horse clinic on Saturday morning, which was really good.
1. On the gate, get right next to the gate and be forward enough you don't have to lean to get the rope. Once you pick up the rope, back smoothly and angle their butt out away from the gate so you have enough room in case their is a pole on the ground to step over as you go through the gate, then as you walk forward, really hug the gate and again get to it tight, then back smoothly until you can just put the rope back - without leaning.
2. Walk overs - ours were 2 feet apart. Trainer suggested making a mental mark on the ground one foot before the first pole, then halfway between the other poles as you walk over - Whiskey would put her feet right where I was staring. I was told not to hesitate before the poles, and to not lean forward out of my seat - sit deeply and move forward carefully.
3. Trot overs - a 12 foot square we had to do serpentines through - should be 3 strides at a working trot, don't guide too much with hands, use legs, legs, legs. look where you want to go, and bump with your legs and check with reins to get the horse up and rounded.
4. Lope overs - learn spacing - again with the mental note of first hoof hitting the ground one foot before first pole, then using the right line to try to keep the horse smooth and even ... for us it was 6 strides.
5. Back through - patience. I was rushing, so we had to sit, back with spur cue with me looking straight ahead, and not relying on reins. We had to practice a couple times to get our placement right for the turn, I am going to be working alot on this in the next few weeks.
6. The box, we did good and we were reminded quick and smooth is best.
Overall - I needed to modernize - keep my butt in the saddle - work on spacing and body positions, if Whiskey is getting frustrated, just keep working on it without getting harsh with her - let her figure it out. If she is clunking the poles, just keep working on spacing and set her up correctly. When you walk the course, look for how many strides it should take - for us four feet is one stride.
It was a great clinic, and the trainer is having another one in a couple weeks on showmanship and horsemanship - which is great timing since I have two horseshows back to back the weekend following the clinic :)
In the meantime, Ivy is busy in her pasture, she is bucking, rearing, pacing and acting like a crazy thing in the bad weather, but when I go into the barn she comes racing in for a goody. She hates to be by herself in the field, but I refuse to let her in with Whiskey as Whiskey is a pig and would eat all Ivy's extra food, plus I don't want Ivy to get any more attached to Whiskey than she already is - they share a fenceline so that's good enough - I keep thinking I am never going to keep any weight on her the way she is always running around, but just when I think I am going to break down and put them in the same paddock, I look out and Ivy is out eating in the back or checking out the cows on the back fenceline. I think she'll adjust - and all her moving around out there is great for her bone development.
There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Nelson Mandela