Monday, May 17, 2010

Wolfgang May Clinic 5-16-10

As I said in the last post, Greta was much better at the clinic yesterday. She was still a bit wired at times, but I handled it nicely. I actually asked for help lunging her before we rode, and I'm glad I did. It never hurts to ask for help, especially if you're a bit on the inexperienced side of some aspects of the horse world, like I am, and if the person you asked for help is used to handly a four-year-old Oldernburg mare that can be flightier than your own haha! It's just one of those things you get used to, and I'm glad I'm learning how to handle such things now while I'm young and impressionable and still have a velcro seat!

After the lunging and the 45-minute lesson, she had worked up a sweat, more so than the "a little damp on her neck and behind the elbow and underside of her back legs" that we get sometimes at home. I don't want to work her into such a sweat every time I ride. It's not healthy, I'm sure! So this one time where she really worked up a sweat, and Wolfgang was kind enough to let her retire about ten minutes early, was probably good for her. She's getting two days off!

It was a lot of the same consistent transitioning like the last two clinics have been, as a lesson showing me how to keep her focused when she wants to run, but seeing how nicely I was handling it all and seeing how much our leg yields (the angle the camera was at, sadly, you could not tell Greta was doing a shoulder-in) and turns on the forehand had improved, Wolfgang embellished a bit more on my rein contact, something I have big trouble with (as I often have too light of a rein!) and we did some exercises to keep Greta round without her Royal Gooberishness feeling trapped and trying to run right through them. A lot of take and and quickly release, take and quickly release. She got the hang of it after a while. There were times where I had to sit the trot so I control her pace a bit better by the "scoop" of my seat, until she got down a nice working trot and I could do a slow post to keep her there.

All in all, Wolfgang, my instructor, my parents, and myself were impressed with how well the clinic went. I kept remembering what I had read in Dressage Today: if they're hot, they're hot, and it's not necessarily the horse becoming braver or the rider stronger, but the trust to build up over time. In the short-term, keeps your aids consistent and just stick with what you have.

What really helped was what my instructor's daughter, a Novice level eventer herself and the one who was kind enough to be the experienced hand lunging Greta while I watched and learned, told me "Just take what your given and work with it. I know she's freaking awesome at home, but that's not her right now, and you just gotta work with it."

Greta loaded nicely, unloaded surprisingly calm, was a bit ancy but manageable while tacking up, and did just awesome under saddle. I am so proud of her. It makes me so hopeful for the future.

She was able to get turned out today, as the pastures finally dried up (although all the horses had to be left in tonight because we got a downpour of rain right at 6:45 and that has lasted on-and-off through out tonight) so she was able to just relax today. She got a bath when I came out, so now she's sparkly clean... she hasn't had a legitimate bath for almost three months now, I believe. But now that it's warm I don't have to worry about that thick winter coat holding in all that cold moisture! I'm going to get back into giving her a bath every other week. But she got all droopy-lipped and her eyes were at half-mast for most of the bathing. It must've felt amazing, bless her.

All in all, Greta has been brilliant lately, and she is just looking nicer and nicer every day. There where some points in the video where I could see her really shine, and it made me so happy. I love my Goober Girl so much. Have you hugged your horse today?

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