Monday, January 27, 2014

John Turner Clinic - Day 1

Friday afternoon getting ready for the clinic was a bit of a disaster.  My truck wouldn't start despite the fact that I took it in 3wks ago because it wasn't starting then and had supposedly been fixed.  That combined with the fact that I have been majorly overextending myself at work and the barn (12-14hr days/5 days a week for 3weeks combined with not being able to sleep more than 5hrs a night) led to a panic attack/sobbing phone call to my mom, the second one in a week.  I was all set to cancel the clinic and spend all weekend in bed until another boarder at my barn, who I don't know super well, said she'd lend me her truck.
Nice F250 diesel that hauled really smoothly
My mom ended up flying up to meet me Friday night and joined me at the clinic both days.  No one else from my barn went, even though auditing the clinic was free.  It was awesome to have her along to take videos and make sure I ate and drank and to spoil Buddy with apples and peppermints.

I was in the 2'6"-2'9" group and we started right after the lunch break.  There were 6 of us, one 17yr old junior and the rest of us were ammys. We started out by going back and forth from a two point to a deep seat at the walk, finding our balance and stretching down in our heels. In the trot John wanted us to flex our ankle and nudge the horse with our heels every time we sat.  We added some trot-halt transitions, making sure they stopped straight and didn't move once stopped.  A few of us (me included) had horses that stopped crooked, so we were instructed to halt with the haunches in the opposite direction they wanted to go.  Buddy likes to stop haunches left, so I had to make sure to stop him haunches right.
Introductions day 1

This led to turns on the haunches and turns on the forehand.  John said he does a lot of this with his horses, and that the key to successful lead changes is turn on the forehands. I got dinged for going to fast and trying to rush through them. He kept telling us over and over that nothing we do is a race, and to keep everything slow and in control.

We didn't do too much canter work at first, just a few transitions to lighten them up. Again he said "It's not a race, it's a departure. You prepare them, then ask for a canter departure." For jumping we started by trotting a small vertical with one side dropped and halting in a straight line. The jump was the first in a 4 stride line so that made it a bit more challenging. Buddy was offended by stopping and not going down the line and was pulling me forward. John had me take off my figure 8 noseband and martingale, saying that he thinks they are just decorations and he thought Buddy didn't like the flash. We then moved onto cantering a small vertical on a diagonal with a long approach and stopping on a straight line.  The first time sans noseband and martingale was pretty awful.  Bud was flipping his head so much I was afraid he'd rear.  Almost everyone in the group had problems so we did it a few times, and each time through got better.
Way to over jump Bud.
The jumps went up and we added the 4 stride outside line after the vertical.  It was a long four, and some people got 5, Buddy was feeling forward so I pushed for the four. Again we had to stop on a straight line and despite having to move him up, Buddy halted well.  John then had us reverse the exercise and go up the line to the diagonal, halting again.  A few of us were having issues following our horses mouths and relaxing our elbows so we finished the day by doing some canter work  and jump the single fence with our reins in a driving position.  As weird as it felt, I did notice I could follow easier and had to unlock my elbows.
It took me a while to figure out how to do this and hold a crop at the same time.


  1. ooo yes driving rein is a good tool!

  2. I've been doing a lot of driving rein work right now. It help me get "unstuck" at the canter.