Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back to Blogging

I took a bit of a break for Megan and Scarface for focus on school and for a few personal reasons, but I'm back again. I'm pretty sure I said that last time, but I guess I'm just an inconsistent blogger all around. Anyway, it's been nearly 3 months since my last post (yikes!), so there is a lot to catch up on!

In April I attended the Mane Event in Red Deer. As usual, it was really great! I got to audit some great clinics by Scott Hofstetter (hunter/jumper), Cindy Ishoy (dressage) and Michael Richardson (horsemanship). I got something great from all of these clinicians. Scott Hofstetter was really engaging and was a real pleasure to watch, listen and learn from. My biggest lesson from him was "be prepared." Don't show up to the clinic (and by extension, the practice pen or show ring) without your spurs and crop in case you need them (which I definitely do). And be prepared to think! Don't just do your course, then zone out. Watch the other competitors and learn from their mistakes so you don't have to make the same ones. Pretty basic advice, but always good to keep in mind.

It was a real honour to watch the Cindy Ishoy clinic, because she is the first Olympic rider I've had the opportunity to see in a clinic setting. She was really great and really emphasized the fitness required by the horse, especially at the higher levels. She also emphasized not to let your horse goof off when you're practicing at home because then you can't expect them not to goof off when you go to the show. For example, she was very adamant that riders not let their horse scratch his face on his leg while stopped and that the horse be paying attention, even when they are just walking to catch their breath. The biggest thing that I got is that I realized Scarface needs to be more forward in his downward transition. He was trained to completely shut down in downward transition, which results in comments like "Stop Very Abrupt" on our dressage test last year.

I also found the Michael Richardson clinics I attended interesting. Michael gained a very different perspective of riding after he became a paraplegic. Instead of being able to physically push horses to do what is needed, he now needs to rely on much more subtle seat cues. The biggest thing I took away from his clinics is how to use my seat cues to improve my free walk. It's about riding actively instead of just sitting there like a passenger!

Other than that, I've just been riding a bit when I can. I took three weeks off riding to prepare for my final exam last week, which definitely showed when I rode on Saturday. In fact, I fell off Scarface for the first time (not counting my 'hasty dismount' last year when I landed behind the saddle, scaring Scarface half to death). Completely my fault though. We had warmed up and Scarface was being pretty good (a bit stiff to the left, but I'm going to get his teeth done pretty quick to see if I can rule that out first before I consider changing bits or anything). Then we cantered up to our first little jump (a 12 inch X rail). Our canter turned into a gallop, then a dive right, correction, dive left, correction, hesitation, big jump and finally a big kick-out with the back end. I lasted through the jump, but by then I was so far out of position, when he kick-out his back end, I went sailing over his left shoulder. Luckily, the ground was freshly harrowed and I managed to land on my back and roll. Not even a bruise (except my ego)! 


  1. I'm glad your back!

    I'm jealous you got to go to the Mane Event! We tried to go but the timing wasn't good this year.

    Glad to hear you weren't hurt. Wow, first fall off of him? How long have you had him, it's been since he was three wasn't it? I am once again jealous. Your fall was much better than mine. I still have at least a month and a half before I can get back on a horse!

  2. Glad your back :), and that you didn't hurt yourself when you fell.