Sunday, 14 July 2019

Clinic Recap 1: Lesson With Sophie

Sophie had her first clinic outing this past weekend and was such a star!

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I don't do a ton of groundwork Natural Horsemanship style, so I had a lot of questions for the clinician! I was also feeling a bit worried we'd be in over our heads. If I'm honest, while some of the things they do are super cool, it's still not something I can see myself wanting to put that much effort into if I can work it out in the saddle or on the trail instead.

I'm so sorry, I took pictures this weekend for everyone but didn't ask for any in return. So, you get some randoms from last weekend instead.

We started with chatting about short and long term goals (not dying when I ride her the first time, then dressage :) and what I've been doing with her. The clinician knows me from previous under saddle and mountain trail clinics with Bridget, but it's the first time he's met Sophie.

Worry number one was eased right away - none of the fancy round penning or rope twirly things were happening. He said teaching liberty and tricks is one thing, getting a horse ready to ride and be a good saddle horse, another. Cool.


So, he watched me lead and longe Sophie and generally just do what I do and was super happy with her. Very complimentary of us both, which I won't lie, was really awesome to hear and put a big smile on my face! I've mentioned here before that I feel fairly confident with what I'm doing at this point, but of course being without guidance there us always that worry in the back of your mind wondering if you're actually being an overconfident dummy and messing it up!

So, we continued on, and the majority of our time was spent on new to us things. Awesome!



I learned how to have her side pass from the ground, away from me, then towards me. We did turn on the haunches and turn on the forehand and got them a lot smoother. Spent a little time doing  patterns, and a lot more time discussing future steps and homework. We finished with him teaching Sophie how to line up with the fence for mounting, and he put a foot on her back and then kind of hung a leg over her. Sophie was pretty wide eyed at that (stranger danger!), but we ended there when she relaxed.



Homework and feedback:

- Build on the turns and sidepassing we learned, always looking at adding more correct steps in a row and having a good flow.

- Keep with the longeing and the transitions within the gaits - he loved that I do that with her and that I  try for balanced up and down transitions too. It's so helpful for improving her response and balance.

- She is more reactive on her right side than the left. Right flank in particular a touchy area. Keep working on that. Asks if she kicks and I said not in a long time, but I do agree if I push her too hard she might still might panic and see that as an option.  It's fun that he picked up on that so quickly.

- Just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm good at it. If I'm unsure, just do what I think is right. I'm not going to mess it up. (Sounds so pretentious to write that, lol...I think what he was really saying is I could be more confident in myself, not thst I'm a perfect trainer! :)

- Don't worry too much about asking for even more responsiveness. She's ready and willing to try and if I want my sharp dressage horse it's cool to have those expectations right from the start. She naturally wants to be that horse anyway, and there is no need to slow her down. This means I need to be hyper aware of my cues and response times too.

-No judgement if I wanted to ride her a little now, but likes the idea of waiting until she's a bit more physically mature. Thought she looks like she's got a lot more growing to do.


- He really, really, really liked Sophie. His take on her:

     -SMART
     -Sensitive
     -Wants to be light and soft
     -Great attitude
     -Nicely put together, nice mover, so cute.
     -He wishes she came in his size, and  thinks I made a good choice purchasing her          and will have a lot of fun with her.

All in all, a great starting point! Sophie was SUCH a good girl too, and really seemed to enjoy having new and interesting challenges and people to meet.

I audited the remaining parts of the clinic as well, so if you're up for it, I'll post some notes. There were lots of new to me things to ponder, plus a lot of things he mentioned he used to do but doesn't anymore, and why he's changed his thoughts. I found those conversations especially interesting.

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19 comments

  1. Her trot is heavenly. Look at the reach with the shoulder! It sounds perfect for what you needed. And yes, I want to hear more. :)

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    1. I'm so glad she's small or that trot might scare me to try to sit! It was a great lesson, and OK, twist my arm, you will hear more :)

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  2. it's always so nice to get that validation!

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    1. I didn't realize how much I needed to hear it until it was out there. I spent all weekend trying to keep the smile off my face :)

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  3. Congrats on an awesome lesson!

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  4. Woohoo!! Sounds like such a beneficial lesson for you both - so great you guys got a bunch of new things to work on!

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  5. Oh yay! Sounds like it was such a positive experience for both of you!

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  6. What a good banana pony!
    It's amazing how much there is to learn on the ground. I wish more people spent time learning it!

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    1. Fingers crossed, it should make the transition to riding pretty straightforward.

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  7. Sounds like a great lesson and experience. What a great baby pony!

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  8. To hear so many positive things from a clinician must have been the best feeling in the world!

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    1. Pretty much! He's a very nice man, but I've seen him tell people it how it is more than once so it meant a lot to essentially just get a big thumbs up :)

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  9. she is growing up LOVELY so excited for you and glad you enjoyed hte clinic!!

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    1. I'm excited to see what the future brings for her. I really like her <3

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  10. Baby pony growing daily by leaps and bounds!

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