Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Debbie Clinic and quilt update...

My quilt top isn't moving much. I don't know how my Mom-In-Law does it. I stitch ONE long row across and I feel like my eyes will fall out of my head. (I'm doing this by hand - no sewing machines involved and yes, I realize it would go much faster with a sewing machine)

I had a clinic with Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez last Wednesday before the weather turned bitterly cold. It was really fun.

May I tell you how much I love my little red-headed Sera Sue? Feels like I should be writing her name in my notebook with hearts and flowers surrounding the script...

Debbie is normally very difficult to impress. Many times I think Sera and I are doing well and Debbie will bring me back to reality. She is very encouraging and supportive and at the same time, she lets me know things aren't quite as peachy keen as I may think.

She said Sera and I have made big improvements! She kept telling me how pleased she was. I kept telling her, if she's pleased, I'm pleased!

She thought Sera was overall in much better balance and carriage over her back. She was jumping nicely thru her canter and her musculature was developing the right way, she was consistent in the bridle and coming out through her withers. I need to work on keeping my inside leg more still and supportive... my hands more quiet...sit back a bit more... but over all she says we've made really good improvement.

She asked me about flying changes.

I told her what we'd been working on, how we'd been introducing them but that Sera kicked out behind.

Debbie said - lets give it a try.

She wanted me to canter around the short side, move across the arena on the diagonal, at X, or the middle of the arena, begin leg yield to push her hind legs closer together and before reaching the other side, ask for a lead change.

It took a couple tries for Sera to react with a change. And when she did change, it was clean but she kicked out.

I told Debbie - that is what she does.

Debbie said - that's IT? That's ALL she does? You didn't even lose your seat!

I said - well, no. I don't, but that is what she does, she kicks out.

Debbie laughed and got excited. She said, I thought you meant she KICKED OUT!

And she proceeded to tell me about horses who kicked out so violently their riders ended up on the horses neck, or on the ground or the horse would bolt and the rider was along for the ride.

Ohhhhhhh.... well, this is my first experience with flying change so I guess in this instance ignorance really is bliss. heh heh.

We practiced our flying change a couple more times... not making a big deal out of anything if she didn't change, bringing her to trot and asking for the lead change. If Sera got too excited and began kicking out over and over when I brought my leg back, we brought her to walk and asked for haunches in to let her know my leg meant to move, not to kick out. All very calm, quiet and no big deal.

Debbie thinks if we can get our flying changes, we can show Third Level next season.

I'm happy we are improving... I know there is ALWAYS room for improvement... but I'm sure glad Sera and I gave Debbie something to smile about this time around!


Kelley said...

Sounds like a great day with Debbie!!! Fantastic. : )

Shanster said...

it really, really was... :)