Monday, September 10, 2012

Most wonderful amazing astonishing incredible clinic EVER.

Jeff is a wizard.  Seriously.  Know how I've been talking about River not getting contact and going around like a drunken giraffe?  Ten minutes of Jeff telling me what to do and he was going right.  Incredible.  Poor Jeff, however, spent 30 minutes chasing us with a longe whip.  And I don't mean "walking around vaguely pointing it at us."  I mean "chasing us and cracking the whip right behind River's butt."  Because someone doesn't like to do forward.  I'm not going to say who that someone is.  I'll let you guess.  *coughRivercough*

There are three main things we need to remember:
1.  Forward
2.  Position
3.  Release

Forward is obvious.  It's one of those things you don't appreciate until you don't have it.  It is absolutely impossible to get River (or any horse, but this is River's blog, not Any Horse's blog) to soften into the bit without moving forward.

Position...  River tends to put his body parts in strange places (read that sentence as a non-horseperson, it's hilarious!), so I tend to get put in weird places.  I need to focus on keeping my body where it needs to be, regardless of where River tries to push me.

Release.  The thing I, erm, kinda-sorta maybe forgot about.  Okay okay, I totally forgot.  Let the flogging begin!  It basically went like this:  turn the key, turn the key, RELEASE,  OMG he's reaching for the bit and not imitating a giraffe!  Turn the key, release, holy crap he's on the bit!  Turn the key, release, are you sure this is my horse?!  ("Turn the key" means turning your hand like you're turning a key in a door, works like a charm to unlock a horse's poll and jaw.)

We also did some turning on the forehand, but not the way I'd been doing it--halting on the rail and asking.  Because Riv struggles with forward, we did it at the walk.  The goal wasn't to do a perfect turn on the forehand, but to get him crossing his hind legs under him.  So we'd walk forward across the diagonal or down the centerline, then keep the outside rein firm and smack right behind my leg with the whip to get him to step over.  Riv is pretty dead to leg, so we'll be using lots of whip.

Jeff asked about the canter, and I explained we haven't attempted it yet.  He advised basically doing lots of what we've been doing, as well as working the canter on the longe so when we get to the canter, he'll have all the prep work down.  My crash test dummy is away at vet school and will be back for Thanksgiving, so we have more than two months to get him ready to canter.

Jeff got on to reinforce what we did.  I took some video and pictures.  (Nothing of me riding--it was just me and Jeff, and he had better things to do than take pictures, lol.)

This is how Riv starts out :

And after a couple minutes:

Even to the right!:

Here are a couple stills:

Doesn't he look so GOOD?????  I wish Jeff could stay for ever and ever and ever.  He won't be back until probably May :(.  For some strange reason, he'd rather stay in Florida for the winter than Buffalo...  go figure!


  1. Wowza! He's getting it and looking faaancy!

    1. Thanks, I'm so happy with him! I was debating riding with Jeff because I wasn't sure if I could really afford it, but I decided that I couldn't afford to NOT ride with him!