Saturday, 13 April 2013
Linda Delvallegarcia Heywood Clinic Review
So the clinic last weekend went really well for the most part. I had warned Linda on day 1 that our coach was gone to California and none of us had jumped in about a month. So we started out trotting a vertical and then halting afterwards. Concentrating on waiting with our upper bodies and allowing the horses to jump up to us. Moved on to some little courses concentrating on proper turns and bending, with halts thrown in here and there to make sure our horses were paying attention to us. Concentrated on switching the outside rein coming out of the turn and holding the new outside rein coming into the jump, which sounds weird as hell but was INCREDIBLY helpful and a good tool, when you switch the rein you instantly straighten your horse and get a straighter approached, instead of holding onto the old outside rein on the approach which causes the horse to drift and bulge their shoulder. Sunny was pretty good for not jumping in forever, she started out a bit bouncy and erratic but settled down nicely partway through and was jumping EXCELLENT. Linda's husband was commenting on how nicely Sunny was jumping, just knees up perfect every single time. Linda got on her at the end of the first session, Sunny was pretty good for her actually, and that's when Linda asked if I had ever tried a standing martingale on her. I hadn't, just always used the running, but I was open to trying something else so I borrowed one for day 2 and 3 of the clinic.
Day 2 Sunny came out and from the beginning was PISSED about the standing martingale. She'd put her head up and hit it, then keep flinging her head and hitting it, and totally bouncing on her hind end in the process, which was hilarious but incredibly difficult to manage, much less sit (see 1:15 in the video). Just picking up a trot to the one fence was quite a production, as you'll see in the video as well. Sunny just wanted to brace against the standing and hop around on her hind end. The whole session was frustrating for me, but after seeing the videos I felt a bit better about it. Sunny still manages to get out of her way and jump perfectly fine even while screwing the hell around, and it was good for me to just practice sitting there and waiting quietly even though Sunny was having quite the crazy party underneath me (see 4:55 when she just loses her marbles around the corner). That's one of Sunny's "things". She'll get so wound up trying to fight me (or the standing martingale in this case) she'll totally lose focus and forget about what we're doing-> Jumping! So we've had some stupid stops here and there over the years due to this. So that day was interesting:P
Day 3 was awesome!! Sunny came out with a totally different attitude after having a night to think about the standing martingale. It was adjusted a tad looser as well, which may have made a difference. Sunny was really lovely on the flat as we warmed up, and when we cantered just the vertical to start I could feel she WANTED to bolt and go really forward to the jump, but I had just a light feel on the reins and kept my body back, and she totally stayed with me. THAT'S what I need!! She naturally carries her head high while jumping, but she wasn't fighting anything that day, I didn't feel like I needed a martingale *at all*. I was pretty happy with that alone! We ended up doing some super fun crazy tight turns, Linda made an offhand comment because we'd been talking about George Morris at lunch, and she was like "Oh this one time at a GM clinic he had us do a crazy turn like from this jump here to this one here..." and she indicated 2 jumps which were like this-> _ / and continued "But we couldn't do it in a straight line, we had to come in on a curve and bend them both." And me with my big mouth is all like "Oh, I can do that!" And Linda's like "Really? First time and everything?" And I was like "Shit yes I can!" And then I was like "Damn, me and my big mouth BETTER do this first time around," lol. So that's 1:30 in the video, Sunny is awesome and we NAILED them first time! Sunny is so great at the hard stuff, I don't even really have to steer her, through those turns I just turned my body and opened my one rein, and Sunny's like a sports car, she turns on a dime! So that was super fun, of course, since I'm an eventer. Then we ended the session by doing some bending lines and tighter turns in little courses.
Here's a few pics from on day 3.
All and all it was another great clinic with Linda!! I can't wait till she come back again. Just getting that different and a new perspective on things, so many riders were having those LIGHTBULB moments, it was so great to see:)