Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Let A Horse Step On Your Foot..........

Because this will happen:

I am able to ride, so it is all good. Walking is at a slow limp :(.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Henrik Johansen November Clinic

The past two days we had the pleasure of having Henrik Johansen teach us at River Run and Simpatico.

I was able to ride Neo, Claudius and Falcon.

I'll start off with Falcon. I continue to say this over and over, "I am continually amazed by the progress of this horse". And I really don't know why I continue to say this because after this journey so far, I shouldn't be surprised that we are able to school this horse with no problems; and that having him move up the levels over the next couple of years is to be expected-not a surprise.

What I was really happy with the lessons was that the approach I had been taking with Falcon was right on track with what Henrik wanted. We continued to work on what we have been prior to these lessons: lateral suppleness and engagement of the hindquarters. The highlight of the two days was on the 2nd day doing in-hand work with Falcon. I was just able to start riding with a whip and not have Falcon freak out. Falcon took the in-hand whip like a pro and gave us some really good half steps.

With Neo, we continued working on getting Neo to come up in the back more and really reach out in the neck. On the first day we had some really good piaffe and canter pirouettes. On the second day we spent all of the lesson on straightness, engagement, and throughness. We ended up with by far the canter we've had.

With Claudius we started off the first lesson not well. I couldn't get him engaged and listening too me. By the end of the lesson we were starting to get what we wanted. In the second lesson we started off with how we started the day before and within 5 minutes started getting the responses we wanted. The biggest being Claudius released in the base of the neck. Once we get that, we have a solid horse.

The last 15 minutes were probably some of our best schooling and our best trot. The question with Claudius is how far can we take him? Are we going to be stuck at 4th and Prix St Georges? Or can we make the next steps up the ladder? Well, after these past couple of days I have full confidence we can take Claudius up. In fact, during our second lesson, Henrik said that I will take Claudius up to Grand Prix. I am not expecting this to be a quick or easy process getting to GP. But I tell you it's gratifying to get to this point to at least talkabout getting to the Grand Prix with Claudius.

So, I feel very good about these three horses after the past couple of days. Once again Henrik has proved to be one of the best teachers I have ever worked with or seen. His approach gets me thinking about the process and then Henrik gives me the options to use to get to reach the objectives laid out.

Thank you Rebecca Chatfield, Cindy Bucceri and Alanna Danna for the opportunity to ride their respective horses in the clinics.