Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Debbie Clinic

Feeding time in the morning....

I left work early today, came home, changed clothes, loaded up my mare, Sera, and hit the road to Beybreze Farm , a Cleveland Bay barn, near Johnson's Corner in Loveland, CO for my 12:30 ride with Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez.

Debbie is a judge and has an eye for detail like you wouldn't believe. When I'm riding, she will tell me I'm correct or stop me from doing something before I've done it... when I'm only thinking it! How does she KNOW?

It's like I'm a poker player with an obvious tell.

I didn't have anyone to tape a segment of my ride, so no video today, tho' it went very well.

Debbie hasn't really liked Sera's canter... it hasn't been balanced enough, through enough, consistent enough. I work and work with hope that the next time I see Debbie, Sera's canter will be better. Nope. Hasn't happened.

THIS time, Debbie says we truly look like a 2nd level horse and rider and Sera's canter is GOOD! Hooray! Progress! She said "wow" at our progress! She told me, "This is really good. Try to come back for these clinics as often as you can, this is really exciting!"

(I think the hock injections and chiropractic work have helped us break through Sera's resistance)

Debbie is always encouraging and helpful, however she's never been "excited" about my ride before. I know I'm moving in the right direction which feels really good...

I won't bore you too much with all the Dressage speak, cuz unless you're into it, it can be a little like watching paint dry. I'm to work on

1. Rein back to make sure Sera is straight and round with good footfalls. (Sera tends to feel boxed in with this movement, stiffens, gets above the bit and comes against my hands)

2. Work on maintaining more collection in the canter on small figures while keeping Sera round and deep. This work is hard so Sera wants to stiffen up and get tense or quick to avoid this much work.

She must learn to accept the contact while moving forward in collection. AND she cannot shuffle along in her canter, I have to work to increase the jump. (oy... so much to think about!)

3. And last but not least, the turn on the haunches needs to be rounder, smaller, more collected and more through.
You are gonna make me work on WHAT?! (poor squinty eyes with a flash going off at her first thing in the morning when she just wants her hay)

Sera worked hard for me, she was wet from her ears to her tail at the end of our ride... I put her cooler on, walked her out, loaded her up, came home, curried her dried sweaty hair, put her to pasture, changed clothes, hoped my "helmet hair" wouldn't offend anyone at work and headed back to the office.


I'm pooped. Nighty nite...


DebH said...

Now that just sounds simply amazing..I have watched alot of the dressage from the sidelines and I would be ecstatic to watch someone I sorta know!! That just is way too Cool! You have more gumption than anyone I know..GOOD for YOU! Hope you can post a video SOON sometime, I would love to watch!

Heather said...

You went to a clinic on your lunch break? That is commitment!

I am so happy for your progress with Sera! What a good mare! How often does Debbie come to your area for clinics?

Shanster said...

DebH - it is to me! Tho I know it's not for everyone and it can get a bit dry. I remember you telling me about the approvals at a place near you! That is really fun and you are a lucky dog to go!

Heather - yeah and I came in early, stayed late and used a couple hours of leave at work cuz my afternoon fling took way over an hour... it's worth it tho!

I think she comes once a month in winter when she isn't busy judging shows...usually all the spots are filled. I got lucky with a cancellation and filled a last minute spot!

Susan said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. It seems we have a lot in common besides old buildings. I have milk goats. I plan on writing about them and the cheese I made soon. Of course I love horses, but I'm also from Colorado originally. Small world.

Cheryl said...

It's amazing how much practice goes into riding. I always assumed you just get on a horse and the horse does the rest. Sounds like a great way to spend a lunch hour!

Shanster said...

Susan - I'm always amazed at how small world this place is!

Cheryl - yes, it was a wonderful way to spend my lunch hour (or two)! heh, heh.