We had such a fantastic day with Janet Foy last weekend and I have to apologize for being slow to recap! Every equestrian knows how days at the barn can slip away from you, and clinic days are quite a flurry of activity! We were fortunate to have a talented and fun group of riders as well as enthusiastic auditors. Thank you all for making the day so very enjoyable! We can’t wait to have you back and I look forward to posting live updates during our next clinic.
In the meantime, enjoy a few nuggets of wisdom from our day with Janet though I was too enthralled to take proper notes. I think I officially have my New Years resolution.
For a horse that needed a bit more lift in the front as he learns passage; Do a ‘pop a wheelie’ half halt, like if you’re on a motorcycle and want to pop that front end up.
It’s going to feel a little weird at first as he’s trying to figure out what you’re doing and you’re creating a place where now he has to carry weight on both hind legs.
When working on the pirouette and he comes up in the neck;Put him a little deeper so he can use his tummy muscles. When he starts to struggle make it two steps bigger then two steps smaller when he is more organized. We don’t want him to learn to just keep going round and round.
Ride the canter stride beautifully then turn. Two strides turning, then bigger, then two strides turning. Finish the canter stride then turn, Completely finish the stride then turn. Focus on finishing that canter stride first.
For a horse becoming numb to an aid;Like a choir or a symphony, we have to make sure we don’t make one aid more important than the others.
For a horse pushing out the shoulder she reminded us of the concept of four doors;There are four doors; back door, front door, two side doors. He always want to make the left door closed. He’s always pushing left, be aware of it that your energy is escaping there to the left.
Helping a rider be aware of where the block in energy was coming from;Sometimes what we feel in our hands doesn’t have anything to do with our hands. It’s further behind our hands.
Working on rein back for one pair, she reinforced the recurring message of three small half halts into a downward transition;Three half halts to rein back. Smaller, smaller, smaller, halt. I want him to think forward in the rein back.
Using haunches out to make a horse more supple;We’re actually creating an imbalance to make him more supple. We’ve got to get him looser to get the shoulders up and out of the way.
On bringing out bigger gaits in a less expressive moving horse; The great big moving horses you have to help find their balance. The not so expressive ones we have to push them out of balance sometimes to make their gaits bigger.
On being clear in an aid and receiving a reaction to it;Say we’re not going to just la de da around here. Be productive. So he really knows what you want. If you’re going to ask for it, be clear about it.
On energy in a pirouette;Make the canter a little bigger and now collect. Go into the pirouette with the energy you want and need, don’t try to create the energy within the pirouette. Half halt, turn, piaffe. And in the half halt you’re setting back, rocking back.
And my favorite ongoing theme from every trainer ever when the horse has a moment of angst:So what, it doesn’t matter, just keep going, if he has a little fit so what, it’s fine, canter on, no big deal.