Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kevin Freeman Clinic

 I'm glad I went and I did learn, but I felt like we could have done more. There were 5 of us in my group, ranging from a couple very nice riders with green horses, another man who like me just wants to ride and show around 2'6"-3' for fun, and a teenager who seemed inexperienced with a green horse.

We started out trotting doing some walk/trot/walk transitions and some trot/halts.  Kevin critiqued each of us on our position.  I got dinged for letting my elbows come back and my reins get long.  He had me shorted my reins and try to think about keeping my elbows at the front of my body.  We did some small trot circles, working on turning from the outside rein, with a soft opening inside rein.

Then we went right into jumping.  He had a start by trotting a small vertical and he had a ride in a posting two point.  A few of us were a little sloppy to the fence (me included).  He wanted us to get right to the base.  For me, it came back to letting my reins get too long and Buddy taking a flying leap at the fence.  I had to work on keeping my hands firm and up and not letting Buddy cheat.

He added a second vertical to the line, in a short one stride.  Again, I had to work on getting Bud to the base and then put on my leg to keep him coming forward to the second. I also got in trouble for looking down over the fences and I had to concentrate on looking up, down the arena. After doing the one stride a couple times, we added an oxer at the end, again in a one stride. 

While the striding seemed short, I really had to encourage Buddy over the second and third fences to keep him going down the line.  I felt really discombobulated a couple times but Buddy was great.  After the oxer, a 4 stride was set up to a vertical.  Kevin told us that for some of the shorter strided horses, we might get 5.  Buddy was included in that.  Again, the first three fences felt awkward but after landing off the oxer I sat down and rode forward to the vertical in 4.  It wasn't as hard to get Bud forward, and the 4 felt very nice. 

We all went thru the gymnastic to the 4  a few times and then added a long gallop to a single oxer on a short diagonal line.  The goal was to use the momentum from the gymnastic to have a strong forward rhythm and ride it to the oxer.  He told us to not worry about finding the distance 10 strides out, but to have a balanced, rhythmic ride and the distance will come.  Long approaches to oxers are my downfall, so I was slightly nervous going into it.  In coming to it, I tried to just count the rhythm and keep coming forward.  It worked!  We had a nice distance to the oxer, and Bud felt great over it. 

We only did the gymnastic to the oxer a couple times each before the session was over.  We only rode for an hour and a half, but were scheduled for two hours.  It felt like we were just getting started, and that I still I had a couple issues I wanted to work thru. Buddy wasn't even that tired!  I am going to try and set up more gymnastics at home and try to work on getting Bud to the base while not chasing him to the fence.

Good pony!

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