Saturday, July 8, 2017

Karen Clinic: Day 2

Day 2 of the clinic was probably the most challenging and frustrating, but it eeked out good moments and I made a realization that sometimes in a 45min school, we only get 10 minutes of "good" work and sometimes that is enough.

It isn't to say that Annie was bad - she was actually far from it. K and I both noted she was visibly more stiff and sore than she had been the day before (no doubt from using her body in new and unknown ways). 

Pictured: protesting using said body in new and unknown ways
It took Annie a loooong time to warm up and that springy trot we had had the day before was absent for 90% of the ride. It was a bit of a tough pill to swallow in some regards. The fabulous springy trot in my lesson the day before was eluding me and all I could muster was little glimmers of it bubbling on the surface. 

We did A LOT of suppling exercise and introduced new questions like haunches in before we tackled the canter and I think it really helped as we managed to obtain Annie's bad lead quicker into the lesson and with greater success. The weird inability to sit Annie's canter started to melt away and I was able to actually sit to my goddamn horse's stride. 

Still hanging on my inside rein like Jesus take the wheel.
Annnnd my saddle hates me.
We have to take the good with the bad tho, and there was plenty to be happy about, even if we didn't get the quality of work we had the day before.

Some key points from this day included:

  • Cut across your corner to start your haunches in - go into the long side at an angle and start from there vs coming straight off the track.
  • Instead of immobile TOF/TOH, utilize them in a spiralling exercise (think kind of like a pirouette) - the forward movement mixed with bendiness will help her supple more.
  • When she gives to you, give right back even if you have to ask again a stride later.
  • STOP. JUST STOP HOLDING THE INSIDE REIN. (K ended up making me drop it while we cantered around the arena.)
Letting go of said inside rein and not dying.
Hooray, progress.
  • Support with your outside rein during the canter, this is what will help you keep her outside shoulder from bulging and it'll help you through your corners.
  • Sometimes when horses are stiff and sore, you won't get results fast like you did the day before. It is important to keep at it and reward for the effort when it is there.
  • When she picks up the correct lead, continue to canter and praise her. It is also important to praise her for her efforts, especially when you are asking difficult questions (ie. she started to get really frustrated with the haunches in stuff, so it was a good reminder to reach down and pat her when she was getting it right).
Ignore my face because ew.
  • Sometimes you have to abandon things (ie. haunches in) when she starts to feel flustered. Just walk out of it and start on something else, then come back to it.
  • Don't let her look to the outside at the running kids or other horses. Bend to the inside and ask her to come back to you mentally.
  • Forget about your reins in your half halts for a second. PUSH her forwards and ramp up that energy, then apply your rein aids as needed.

Slightly overbent, but a work in progress.
  • Leg yielding away from the track is important - it shows us how in control we are of our horses because naturally they will start to suck towards the track when we come up quarter line.
  • *insert another long discussion about hanging on the inside rein* If you have too much inside bend, her shoulder will fall in and you will need to straighten her back out with the outside rein. USE YOUR GODDAMN OUTSIDE REIN WOMAN.
Pictured: me not listening and using my inside rein.
Annie's head follows just fine, but not so much the body.
  • Drop your stirrups and stretch your leg long.... longer than that... even more... keep stretching. Pull your toes up, glue your leg to the girth.
  • "Has she been raced before?" - In regards to her right lead issues. For those curious, no, she was not raced.
"no thank YOU"
-Annie, I think.
  • Close your fingers around the reins, don't let them slip through your hands.

I am sure there is more from that lesson that I am missing, but these are the key and more valid points. The inside rein will always be the bane of my existence, mostly because when I feel like I am unable to turn her (especially at the canter), I'll open my inside rein and try to bring her around. Obv her head follows, but her legs just keep going straight so it doesn't work very well. Implementing the outside rein to turn was such an obvious thing, but clearly something I was lacking. But to be fair, when we are cantering our shit-canoe around in what is supposed to be a 20m circle, it kinda feels like this:

Annie: "We are going to canter straight foreverrrr."
Me: "Annie, we have to turn now." *puts on outside leg*
Me: "ANNIE." *sees upcoming arena wall*
Annie: *veers at the last second, and continues straight as a fucking board*
Me: "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL" *reefs on inside rein*
Annie's head: "I'll go with you."
Annie's body: "lol, no thanks."

"I thought I was gonna die"
-Me, obviously.
So, figuring that out was kinda nice. 

A lot of the previous days information played an integral role in this lesson as well, especially the idea of riding her canter "over jumps" and putting that rogue shoulder back where it belongs.

Again - she trailered to and from the facility really well and had also settled into a stall for a short period as my lesson time was pushed back due to another running late. I am a bit sad that this particular lesson was the one that got the most media, mostly because our first and last lesson (especially our last!) were much better. But, lots of media is better than no media!


  1. I'm glad the trailering went well, and it sounds like it was still a solid lesson despite the hiccups.

    1. It was a good lesson to have - to work out those issues with eyes on the ground to talk us thru it all :)

  2. You two covered a lot in this lesson! It sounds like Annie is doing awesome. You're doing such a great job with her. :)

    1. Thank you so much - that is so sweet of you to say <3

  3. That's a lot for one lesson. I'm really impressed you remembered that much. I have the same inside rein issues.

  4. Your brain processes things a lot better than mine, there is no way I would remember that many things from a lesson, haha. That last photo looks quite lovely!

  5. In his book basic training the young horse, reiner klimke states that sometimes you go to school and relaxation is the only thing achieved and that's ok!

  6. If only I had a penny for every time someone told me to close my fingers