Friday 22 August 2014

Learning By Doing

I've gone a little crazy and just signed Bridget and myself up for a clinic the weekend after next - or exactly 5 days after I get home. I usually tell my friends it's silly to practice too much or try to be perfect for a clinic and I'd rather bring myself 'warts and all', so it looks like I'll be putting my money where my mouth is!

I think this is going to be an excellent first clinic for us. It's just a generic western horsemanship/extreme trail type clinic. It's located just up the road from the farm, which is a major bonus - I can just ride there!  I'll probably be the only one in english tack, but they're used to that.  I signed up for the trail challenge portion of the clinic which is just tackling the obstacles one by one with the clinician there to help. Go as fast or as slow as you need, no pressure :) The farm owner has some awesome obstacles set up, including a teeter totter and a log pile bank/water complex.
Cowboy edited out since this is not my photo of the bank.
The extreme trail thing is admittedly not something I can see myself really getting into (I really think that bank would be better used for eventing ;) but I do think it will be a great way to try new things with Bridget and build a partnership. I know some people disagree, but I like getting really green horses out doing stuff right away rather than getting them going really well in the ring first. As soon as they have a good whoa and a bit of steering, off we go! I feel like they gain a lot more confidence that way and it's easier for them to stay interested and understand the purpose to what I'm asking them to do (like if you don't move off my leg we're going to end up in that big muddy spot or we'll never get that gate open to go home! :). It's also easier for me to stay interested and focused on the task at hand.

Big sister Ginger may also be called up for assistance. She's ponied before, and for all her quirks, she is actually a pretty solid trail horse.
I may bring Ginger on Sunday for a lesson as well, depending on where she's at mentally. True to form, she's entirely put out about there being new horses on the property and is stressing her pretty face off. I worry about her but she did need to lose weight anyways, so there's a small upside. The other horses are all over it and ignoring her antics, which is sad and funny all at the same time. Hopefully we'll be able to have her sharing a pasture with everyone soon - she's out with her boyfriend, but can only talk with everyone else over the fence. Since the new horses are dominant to her and ignore her and refuse to come to the fence every time she tries to stir up some drama, she's been getting weird about it and pacing and not eating and generally being a nuisance.

In any case, my friend is riding after the trail portion of the clinic and we've shared lessons in the past. We'll see how it goes - I've heard great feedback about this guy, but I'd like to see for myself before I sign Ginger up. I'm leaving it open since past experience has taught me big changes and/or time off for Ginger equals a speedy return to her "wild pony of the West" persona, and unlike Ginger, I hate being the center of attention! We might have to go through the whole pretending to be an untrained horse thing for a week or two until she magically wakes up one morning and remembers her job! 'Miracles', we've got them :) There's no rush for her, since there is a different clinic the following weekend, then the Fall Fair fun day the weekend after that, so along with regular lessons and trail rides, we've got no shortage of outings in the month of September. I've even found a clinician who comes once a month or so and will teach jumper/eventing clinics...looks like I know where my spare cash is going for the foreseeable future!

We've got nowhere to go but up :)



  1. How exciting! Can't wait to hear all about it :)

  2. That all sounds fab!
    I completely agree on getting young horses out and about asap. Makes things less of a big deal later when they are more set in their ways & stronger as they've been there done that before. Plus as you rightly said it helps relationship building as they lean on you - their new person ☺