Working Equitation clinic with Darcy Henckel

This past weekend for a change in gears- we took part in a 2 day clinic with Darcy Henckel!

I think Oats liked her too!

She was very friendly, agreeable and horsemanship-focused, something Oats and I really appreciated. It was a very focused weekend that reviewed how we approach each obstacle, and obstacle work in general, through a relaxed, calm and horse-forward approach.

Bridge was no problem for all the horses! Photos courtesy of Stella French.

Oats was a gem but I WAS prepared lol. I rode the absolute snot out of him on Friday, after not really wanting to ride on Friday (freaking tired man) but I knew I kind of had to, to prepare him to behave for the weekend. He was pretty lazy on Friday, so I was going to call it a day, until I lost his shit spooking and spinning violently at a pony that he sees every single day, soooooo I figured he had a LOT more to give. And boy, did he! We hand galloped for 35 minutes, and he STILL had energy to do another huge spook after that. Face palm.

I swear I was trying to smile, ha.

I called it after his second spook and we cooled him out outdoors. He was so sweaty he was lathered white with sweat. Gee, thanks Oats… I gave him a calming paste the night before, and then Saturday came to the barn to longe the sillies out of him before our session in the AM. Meant a very early morning for me, but you know what? 100% worth it. He was very well behaved for both days, and I was NOT taking any chances of him being nuts or too silly.

Ok now I am trying to smile better 🙂 Through the figure-eight with is more like double-D’s!

He was calm, quiet and cantered nicely in a group. He approached the obstacles with focus and attentiveness, only really losing it at the gate on the second day when he spotted some horses unloading near the entrance of the arena and wanting to look at them instead. Can’t blame him for that!

I really liked how calm, quiet and attentive the trainer was. We weren’t pushed, nobody was, for anything that was too much. A good focused day was had by all 🙂 And I learned more about the obstacles- so many things to recall, ha. A lot of pitfalls you can fall into.

Throwback Thursday: Sage advice

From the expert himself, and famed curmudgeon: George Morris.

In his article from 2006, he discusses a lack of horsemanship in today’s riders. The article really resonated with me, because, chiefly, I am guilty of these things! I love showing, love winning ribbons, and wish I had more ‘guts’ as a rider.

Focused

Focused

I still do things like gallop my pony in the field, jump ditches, go up and down hills, ride in the outdoor arena when other riders refuse to (I do put front shoes on my pony when we transition to the outdoor because he is tenderfooted) and I take risks.

BUT

Not that many. I hate trail riding in our area because it scares the bejeezus out of me. I’m afraid of getting hit by a bus or motorcycle, of which there are tons and tons. The roads are too busy and too frightening.

Yesterday, I went to the outdoor and messed around with the little teeny tiny baby fences set up. We cantered them, trotted them, angled them, cut in and out of lines and generally did…Whatever we pleased!

A few years ago- playing over a liverpool

A few years ago- playing over a liverpool

I had a BLAST! I felt so free! Even though the fences were beyond small, it was just the most engaging feeling to do whatever I wanted. I do the ‘discipline’ work of dressage on Tuesdays, but i also feel like the ‘me time’ of weekend rides and Wednesday rides are necessary. It’s not a ridiculous free for all, trust me, but we just kind of messed around and I didn’t feel worried, or anxious, or anything.

It’s a nice feeling, ahhh…

It’s not perfect- the issues with his right lead (collapsing, falling in and struggling to maintain it) reared their ugly heads AGAIN telling me he is having a hard time with the footing and needs his shoes on- stat.

But, I didn’t let that derail our ride, we just moved on and I didn’t make a big deal of it. We enjoyed our small fences and i focused on finding my distances, and pace and sort of straightness.

It was nice to experiment a bit, without fear.