Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Lynda Ramsay Clinic: Day 1 and 2

I've been MIA, I know. This Summer has been busier than most, and the allure to sit in front of a computer screen recapping rides is very, very low. However, rest assured that we have been quite busy and before I get into even more show recaps, I need to recount our clinic experience with Lynda Ramsay!

The show that was held in early August was a two part series - first being the show, and second being a clinic to work on areas to improve. I had signed up for this clinic months in advance, as Lynda would be judging the BVX later in August, and it would make sense to not only show in front of her ahead of time, but to also take a lesson or two to gauge and understand what she is judging for and why.

One of my favorite photos from the clinic.
Thanks to Alberta Equest for coming, watching, taking media and cheering us on <3 

Our first lesson was the morning after the show - Annie and I headed to the TBC grounds and took our time getting ready. When it was nearing my lesson time, I popped on and did a little trot-around before entering the arena. I knew Annie would be quite tired from the day before, and didn't want to burn her out, especially considering we had another lesson the very next day. She felt pretty good, and I could feel that her headspace was much more positive than the day previous - meaning our chances of having a very tense, bracey Annie would be very, very low.

Lynda and I spoke at length about Annie and I's history - going over several highlights and also reviewing some of our trouble spots in our tests. Since some of our transitions were quite rough, I opted to spend the lesson working on those - namely trot - walk and walk - trot. We did work on our canter transitions, some positional corrections, and obtaining some rhythm.

Day 2 media.
I don't have any riding media from that lesson, but I can attest to the fact that it would be like watching paint dry, haha. The boyfriend chose the wrong lesson to watch, as I am sure it felt like an eternity of walking and a few steps of trotting. Despite the boring nature of the lesson, it was a lesson we needed to have and I'm happy we did it.

Some things to remember from this particular lesson:

  • Time your transition appropriately - when she is forward, accepting of the aids and is through the back - simply because she likes to dump herself into the trot-walk transition and ends up inverting her back, bracing her neck and hollows herself in anticipation of the transition.
  • Push her past any falters in the transition - schooling means you don't have to follow through with the transition, especially if you feel she is going to dump herself into it.
  • SIT before doing the transition - do not rush.
  • Sit up and back in the canter transitions - tipping the upper body forward will not help (I know better than this, but our canter PTSD makes me think I'm helping when I lean haha).
  • You do not want that moment of hesitation she has between the trot and walk - push her past that, even if you have to go back into trot again.
  • Keep practicing - we are creatures of habit, so do not be alarmed when things go back to the way they were.
A nicely forward and non-dumpy trot-walk transition.
Overall, it was a good lesson. A bit dry, but we got a handful of really stellar transitions and a clearer understanding of how to make a bad transition better. I made a mental note to ride more transitions on my next schooling rides.

The next day we headed out for our final lesson, and both Annie and I were quite tired, but game to work on a few more items I had in mind.

This lesson we worked on leg yielding, lengthen trot, cadence and rhythm of the trot, shoulder in, riding squares at the trot and canter and of course, more trot-walk transitions. 

And a nice quiet trot - canter transition.
Some things to remember from this final lesson:

  • Ride her straighter (less bend) - even straighter than I think I need to.
  • You want her head, neck, and shoulders to turn as a unit, not singularly. Riding her straight off the aids will help with this (this is where the millions of square turns came from).
  • Inside leg to support her around the turns of the square.
  • Ride her less like a green horse - ride her like the horse you want. If we ride them like green horses, they will stay green.
  •  Shoulder in a bit in the canter to help keep her haunches from drifting inwards.
  • Squeeze of the calves = longer steps and power. Squeeze of the heel = quicker steps. Teach her to understand the difference.
  • If the rhythm in your turns is interrupted, it means the turn was either too tight or not tight enough.
Lynda was a huge advocate of straightness - the front half of the horse should all turn together and not in segments. It certainly made turning and circling much easier, steering the front half of the horse vs attempting to get the shoulders to follow the head. 

Overall, a super lesson and I was pumped when we managed to do a really nice shoulder in on a circle. 


  1. What a great set up with show-lesson-lesson. It's nice to be able to get feedback like that. And sounds like solid lessons too. Lots of good stuff to work on!

  2. Those are great videos. I love how relaxed and steady Annie is. her rhythm is excellent. Also, you look nice and soft and following too.

  3. Annie has transformed so much in the past year. I am so impressed with the work you've put in. Well done!

  4. I absolutely can understand the sentiment of not wanting to sit down and actually recap the rides, but thank you for doing so. It's been fun seeing you and Annie progress over the last couple years.

  5. gosh she looks so freakin fancy pants in those white boots!! glad you got so many useful tidbits and takeaways!