Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Flying High - Dom Schramm clinic Day #2

Going into day 2 of the clinic I was on a high from how well day 1 went...but because of how familiar I am with how highs can also produce terrible lows if you get too comfy up there, I actually was a bit nervous. Tillie was her normal self pulling her out of the field, but I knew she would be tired so brought her in early to let her nap with her Back on Track blanket on.

Yawning tired Tillie getting groomed
The hour and a half drive on day two was just as easy as day 1 despite the ridiculous hurricane force winds we had on the east coast...but Tillie was quiet in the trailer and, I presume, asleep with her Back On Track blanket on. Because of the wind, the morning sessions of the clinic were being held in the indoor...but luckily as we were pulling in, they were in the process of moving the jumps back to the outdoor for the group before us. The wind finally seemed to die down to a more bearable speed.

Taking Tillie off the trailer on day 2, she was much more chill then day 1. Tillie took a casual look around and started munching on hay. I still chose to get on her early with it being chillier and try to go for a relaxing warm up. I got on her and instantly could tell I had a different horse from yesterday. She was still looking around and curious, but was either tired so didnt have the energy to carry on or really just that relaxed after already seeing it all the day before.

so thankful for my grooms :)
I didnt push too much in the warm up since Tillie did feel tired, she kept offering to break in the canter (the footing in both rings were pretty deep so wasnt too surprised). She was more of a push ride and seemed to feel a bit uneven side to side again. But I tried not to stress reminding myself she did work super hard the day before and our new pentosan routine wouldn't kick in until we completed the loading dose phase until the end of the month.

Once we walked out the outdoor when Dom was ready, we trotted and cantered briefly around the entire ring to get a good look at all the new jumps out with fill. I opted to grab my crop after this for added support.since she did feel a bit tired and knowing we would be jumping a triple combo and jumping a liverpool.


Dom said we were the big kids in our group so opted to have us warm up over a single vertical fence rather then an X to see if we all learned a bit about our approaches from the day before. Dom sent each of us through to go over it 2x each direction. He said he sent the fence purposefully to have two different approaches depending which way you jumped into it: One side was a longer approach and the other off a turn. This would challenge your eye early on the ride.

 Dom right away commended me on not leaning and staying taller on the approach (me being a silly girl didn't know what to say and just laughed).

Before I went, he discussed with another rider who was struggling to get the right ride off the turn (either too long of a take off or chipping in) how to use the turn to set up your striding. He said too many people worry too much about pushing and pulling the canter when its more about the rhythm and using the path of the curve to adjust the striding.

  • To remove a stride, take a smaller turn to the fence 
  • To add a stride, take a wider longer turn to the fence
He asked me on the left lead to demonstrate this adjust-ability by going to a more open stride after we did it twice before from the same striding:


Tillie basically ran over it

Next we moved onto the liverpool. Myself and one other rider's horse had not seen one before, but Dom said he wanted each of us to trot into it first, then canter it. He folded it in half at first for it to seem less daunting and spoke to us about desensitizing.

  •  Never assume your horse is comfortable with it
  • Always re-introduce the liverpool to build confidence
  • Youll lose more by assuming they are comfortable and wont lose anything by taking it slow
Tillie could have cared less about it and basically ran through it both times earning a chuckle from the crowd. 


At this point we started stringing some fences together and we started getting more into riding courses. I noticed many riders, even in previous groups struggled with the bending line to the liverpool to get the right striding. We took a bit of flyer to get 6 strides which Dom commented was a bit of a stretch and not a bad ride, but the 7 would probably be safer and more comfortable for us but to be able to react and make the choice in that moment.

He called it a freeze frame mid jump. He encouraged everyone to be able to take a moment mid jump and know your plan when you landed for how you wanted to ride that next fence. It showed how when 1 fell apart, the remaining jumps tended to get harder to clean up and get nice for some so Dom pointed out how important it is in stadium to have the precise ride.


This is where the real fun begins! The jump started going up and despite Tillie feeling a bit tired, she really started to fly. The first time through I dont think she had quite enough canter but she quickly got it together and soared over the liverpool oxer. Dom reminded me to stay tall to allow her shoulders to come up and longer we went the better she went (or I was starting to feel a difference when I sat up!?) Its quite amazing how many trainers have all been saying the same thing, but for some reason the way Dom worded it made a light bulb go off...and clearly it did for Tillie too! 

Dom's commentary here again just excites me to no end! He again boasts over Tillie's jumping ability and you can hear him say to the group its quite amazing despite her downhill build. After this course, he was very polite and said "Please don't take this the wrong way, but your horse is build a bit down hill yea?" To which I replied "No offense taken, but yea she is." He said she really is a powerful jumper and does a great job getting really up and over the fence, but the key with her is to allow time for her shoulders to come up. Because when I do she really does jump and quite well. He seemed to be a little bit in awe about it actually lol. 

The fences went up again for our final course:

Dom coached me through this course to stay tall and "give her time" to come up under me. I learned my mistake from the first attempt and went larger around the ring before approaching the first fence to wake her canter up. Fence 3 to the triple rode so NICE...but in my excitement we lost it on fence 1 of the 4 stride line. Dom sent us around to try again to get a better approach and ended with discussing how the more up my shoulders are the more up hers will also be.

Honestly, I was so in love with my horse in this moment and beyond excited at how much Dom loved her I am so glad I had the footage to re-watch and re-listen. I am really hoping we can recreate this feeling at home with P and I am actually thinking of trying to see if Dom would come down to me for some lessons - having a trainer/instructor so excited about your horse is just so neat. Of course we all want to hear that, but there is something about when they truly like your horse that makes you get it.

AHHH!!! All in all so excited for this year and feel more confident then ever to go into this season.


  1. Sounds like a super exciting clinics :D Wise words he had about liverpools I can't tell you enough how much grief the damn liverpools always give me

    1. He said it for every level too...and hes right, all horses were desensitized to it pretty quickly and it rode easily for most where as if it was rushed, there would have been way more issues there

  2. I love how you can see how big you're grinning even in a little video!

    1. :) I am STILL grinning!!! Its taken me so long to feel so good riding and I just want to squeeze it and never let it go!

  3. I had one trainer in a clinic who raved about what a cute jumper my horse was. Totally smitten and we learnt so much - amazing what a confidence boost does to your learning ability! Your clinic sounds awesome, and I agree too about the liverpools!! Wish I hand't been so complacent now with my mare!

    1. Right?! and dont beat yourself up...sometimes all it takes is someone to tell you your horse IS really cool to find some new inspiration.

  4. Love the videos - love how you are grinning in the last video!

  5. You guys look so good! I love the shoulder comment, because I am so tall I have to be careful about tossing my body around when I am jumping (sorry Pongo).

    1. ugh my shoulders are my nemesis. Bless Tillie for being so darn good and being patient when it does mess things up

  6. Looking good! Sounds like a really good clinic.