Friday, June 20, 2008
Fenway, the Teacher!
Last weekend ended up being another great horse weekend - A clinic with Ellen in Winters, CA. It's about a two hour trailer trip but luckily Willoughby is an easy traveler. We lucked out and had pretty mild weather - in the 80's and 90's vrs. the triple digits, which is the case most of the time! My first lesson was on Saturday and we worked a lot on his canter. He's still learning to understand the concept of accepting contact and shifting his weight behind instead of hitting the bit and breaking into trot. Basically, he's learning to sit, stay engaged, and to move through his back, in a "rein back" balance while being very forward! This is helping me understand the concept more thoroughly, just by writing it! On Sunday we really made some progress and his canter felt so strong and balanced. I was able to ask him to wait, or collect, or to jump forward off my leg. Having the ability to change the balance, speed, and collection is such a treat after just working on 20 meter canter circles for so long!!! We were able to transfer the same feeling into the trot work too.
I have to admit that when I first got Willoughby, I was slightly dreading going back to the basics all over again. But it's been such a great experience and has been so beneficial to my riding. I know what I want a half pass to eventually feel like, so I understand that type of responses I'll need in the leg yields and shoulder ins. I know what type of canter I'll need to get clean changes down the road, so I can start asking for that type of canter now! When Fenway broke down (Fenway's pictured above), I couldn't fathom what good was going to come out of it. It seems like it was the end of the world (I know I'm dramatic but that horse meant everything to me!). But know I realize that he was the best teacher I could have ever asked for! He was phenomenal! And I miss him a lot!!!
But back to the clinic! It's so neat to feel Willoughby getting stronger and so rewarding to see how he is progressing! It's also great fun to watch the progression of other riders and horses at the clinic. And nothing can beat hanging out with a bunch of horse pals!