|Doesn't she look so enthused?|
When the opportunity arose to ride with him at Barn C, I hesitantly opted to try it out. I'm always nervous to try new trainers, especially being that clinics can be quite costly and sometimes, they just aren't your cup of tea.
A few friends who audited one of his last clinics at Barn C earlier in the year urged me to try him out, so I decided to take them up on their assessments and decided not to audit him myself before going.
I signed up for both Friday and Saturday, just like I had for the Anthony clinic. Annie was great to haul, as per usual, and settled in quietly at Barn C and munched her hay while I got her tacked up and ready. It was raining on Friday, so I tacked up and then led her into the barn aisles to wait for our turn in the ring. She stood with moderate interest, and looked pretty damn cute doing it.
|About to do real gud dressage in jump tack.|
Sven asked me a few other questions, like her breed and where I got her from. He then asked us to please go around the ring at all three gaits and show him how we currently ride - he explained it would give him a better understanding as to what kind of lesson plan he would use for me and see where we needed help the most. I tentatively marched Annie off and a smidge of dread filled me - I get hyper aware when people (especially trainers) watch me ride and almost forget how to ride and fumble around.
|This is our "before" trot. Going nowhere fast...|
and a very dumpy transition. Don't be fooled,
I am literally pushing her every single fucking stride.
I did have to laugh a bit, because when I had first approached him at the middle of the ring, he folded his arms across his chest and kind of smirked and said, "Well, if you want to keep riding like that, you may as well get a stick horse because you are literally doing both jobs." He was a pretty cheeky clinician, and I enjoyed the little quips because they did remind me of Anthony.
We started out at the walk and Sven encouraged me to leave my legs off of her at all times and ONLY use them when I needed her to do something. At first, it was very difficult to literally leave my legs dangling and it caused Annie to falter her steps a few times (because somebody wasn't nagging her along). It reminded me of my rides with Anthony the weekend before, wherein he urged me to ride her bolder - it all was kind of falling into place here. Sven directed me, in this instance, to use a squeeze of the leg to push her forwards. If she didn't respond, my leg cue would be a touch of the heel and finally, a kick to the ribs. We would give her the opportunity to respond, but needed a response otherwise the stimulus would increase.
As a whole, this lesson was pretty much reminiscent of my 4-H days trying to trot an ornery 20 year old Quarter Horse mare around the ring. Legs flapping and flying everywhere and man oh man, was I EMBARRASSED.
And Annie? Annie was PISSED. I mentioned to Sven, "She feels very, very pissed." and he kind of laughed and said, "Well ya, she just came out of semi-retirement."
So, the tail was just a'going on the Bannie machine. She was NOT happy, not one bit. But, I do promise things settled by Day 2 and she was much more at peace with our new arrangement. I suppose I had to be prepared she'd have all the feelings.
|The helicopter tail returns bc Bannie is PISSED.|
However, you can also see the moment where around the
corner she sort of fizzled out and we went for a little lengthened
canter bc slowing down is a no no, Bannie.
Part of me was annoyed I didn't fix it sooner, because our lessons consisted of the very basics all weekend and I was paying for such a simple and easy fix. But... obviously I needed the lesson because I've gone three months without going ahead and doing it when Anthony first mentioned it in his April clinic. So... shame on me?
The lesson felt immensely messy, but it was a necessary messy. And I know for a fact I wouldn't have had the patience to kick along for 45 fucking minutes and get to a good place before ending.
|The whole lesson was focused on forwards - not|
bend, not contact, just forward.
By the end of the lesson, things were starting to piece together nicely and I could feel that Annie's wheels were starting to turn a bit. I still had to kick every several strides but I was starting to make things black and white instead of riding off into grey territory.
Overall, I enjoyed my lesson with Sven and he was a sympathetic and understanding teacher - I had mentioned a few times I was embarrassed and he simply shrugged and stated that once we had forward, the rest would fall back into place and be even easier for us. I knew he was right, but it was a hard pill to swallow.