It's not unlike what horses do for people when things go right. Right now, I am in the happiest place on earth and I wish I could bottle it up and keep it forever. You know, so when things don't go well I can pull it out as a bit of encouragement.
|This photo cracked me up...Tillie's eyes are closed!|
Clearly I am still riding the wave from the clinic this past weekend. It totally surpassed all my expectations. While I went into it knowing we would come out with more knowledge, I feel like even more happened while we were there. It was a defining moment for Tillie and I.
|Even more media!!|
I easily get nervous or tense up when it comes to jumping given Tillie's past. When things get challenging is usually when the blow ups would happen so she has sort of trained me to anticipate them. I am forever grateful to P for our routine saturday jump lessons because she has gotten us to the other side of that hump and now there are almost never any antics which means a much more relaxed me and that means a more relaxed Tillie...So it is all cyclical and related.
|Freeze frame in mid air as Dom would say....thinking about how to land and approach the next fence|
I was curious to see how this clinic would impact this nice agreement Tillie and I have come to and if this setting, or new challenging things would bring out the sass again. I really do believe though that Dom had such a great approach to each new exercise and exuded confidence that I felt confident. I also loved seeing how he approached every rider differently. Dom tailored the exercise subtly for the needs of each person and it was cool to see him pick up on that to give every single person a successful ride.
When the pair would come through and struggle and would say its ok, lets try again but keep this in mind...so it was always encouraging and his delivery seemed to allow the rider to take ownership and actually ride it out. It was really cool to see the lightbulb moments happening left and right.
|Going into the triple combo|
The following three are the major takeaways:
- Chin up on the approach to fences
- Tall shoulders to allow her front end to jump
- Forward, 12 foot stride canter
|Little bit tight to this one, but she got it done!|
The 3rd, 12 foot stride canter one has been a bit of a struggle for me as a rider because it always felt too fast to me. The 12ft canter stride in the past has led to the bracing then the sass so I have gotten comfortable living in a smaller stride. Tillie and I consistently at home will do the add on lines and get one additional stride because of this.
Tillie of course responded by jumping so uphill and powerful that Dom just started raving how much she could really jump! (Totally loving this btw)
|Going into the triple but with the jumps much higher!|
It was a huge defining moment. You could almost see the light bulbs going off for both Tillie and myself there were so many going off. The entire rest of the clinic into the next day, that 12ft canter stride felt like cake. It was all about finding that ride and when we did, the jumps just were easy and I honestly have never felt Tillie jump that well that consistently.
Id like to say it was because the jumps were bigger (which I am sure that helped!) but I really attribute this to Dom's initial exercises and discussion about the right canter.
More riders struggled on day 2, probably in part to having tired horses but because riding courses means any mistake follows you to the next fence usually. But the struggles were all learning experiences and Dom supported each rider through it and eventually ended every single one with a successful attempt.
|My most favorite shot of the day. Look at those knees!|
All in all the clinic made me realize sometimes hearing similar things from someone new allows a change to actually happen. Many of what I listed has been and always will be something I need to work on...but Dom being new for us plus his relaxed, playful and encouraging teaching style really let us blossom. I am a bit anxious and nervous to see if this momentum continues and translates into what we do at home!