Today’s recap is going to be about the clinics I watched with Jan Ebeling and my lesson yesterday on Oats (hence the ‘go’ button not ‘eject’ button. He gets those confused, apparently. Or maybe I do?).
Jan is funny, erudite and very nice. His clinics were forward-focused (funny it was definitely the theme of the entire weekend- how do you fix riding/horse problems? MORE LEG LEG LEG! (as per every clinician, all weekend.)
I am starting to see that a BIG problem in my riding is that Oats is not forward off my leg, and let’s face it- not at all broke to the leg very well.
Hm…definitely something I have either caused, or let happen through laziness/attrition/ not wanting to rock the boat too much.
Jan was very interesting to watch- he schooled riders to ‘push’ and then ‘let go’ when they got what they wanted from the horse. He believes strongly in warming up and transitions through the gaits- big trot, small trot, then walk, then trot. If your transitions are unschooled, your other work will suffer.
He also was a big believer in FORWARD to the downward transition, rather than letting them ‘schlump’ through it.
Check him out here
He is fair and very kind to the horse/riders combos. His big takeaway is to be flexible, and be fun about what you’re doing- it’s not ALL bad. Ha.
(He should have seen Oats yesterday!)
So that take me to Oats, naturally. He felt sucked-back and pissy on our first ride on Monday, that I sort of solved by cantering immediately over poles and working over crossrails instead of doing the usual walk-trot-canter warmups. That worked pretty well actually.
Except on Tuesday, our challenging lessons with Karen Brain, his sucked-back pissyness was definitely on display.
It was interesting (and frankly scared me and wigged me out) we are in a BIG grey area. Oats is finding other behaviours- rather than straight out bucking- to get around what I’m asking. So…instead of forward trot with bend, he’s trying to canter. Sometimes throws a buck- in all fairness, he only did that one yesterday to the left. It’s not all ‘bad’ but it’s also not all ‘good’…It’s just…there.
He’s trying these other behaviours, and Karen felt like he’s slowly getting ‘there’ but bringing up these other attempts to see what he can sort of get away with. So, I guess I can’t punish him for trying??
It was funny though and SO EXHAUSTING when I was like, forward-trot-bend and he’s like…canter-suckback- neck in air. He does this funny ‘prop’ up when he was trying to canter and it felt like when he tries to launch me, so I got kind of grabby…which is the wrong response. I had to ‘fix’ it by either circling, or letting him canter but really working the canter- left bend right bend left bend right bend. He doesn’t just get to cruise.
Over and over and over and over…
We did circles, oh, did we ever do circles. I felt dizzy!
Then our circles weren’t forward enough (jesus lady, I was getting tired at that point haha) so Oats thought a circle meant a chance to suck back again. ARGH.
My butt and leg cramped up. We were soaked in sweat. It was frustrating, I got annoyed and kind of mad, and Oats was just barely, grudgingly, giving me what I wanted. PHEWWW.
(oh and you should have seen our ‘discussion’ about picking out his hooves nicely before my ride. Apparently Oats feels like he should be allowed to snatch his hind hoofies away from me, rudely. I had another idea about that !!! Nothing pisses me off more than that. Frig!)
I am feeling sore today and think I will give him a day to think things over (and I need a break to go for a run maybe).
Horses. Why does it always feel like 1 step forward and then 3 steps back???