Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Clinic Recap, Part I

Okay, so I think the best way to do this is going to be to just go day by day, and try not to be too detailed, or I'll fall asleep at the computer. So. I was there for 5 days, Thursday, June 19th thru Monday the 23rd. This entry is going to be REALLY LONG...I'll try to break up the text with some pix, but no promises, this won't be for the faint of heart to read-haha. This is Part 1, (Thursday-Saturday) I'll write Part 2 tomorrow.


We arrived a little later that anticipated, because lord knows I can't get my life together and into the tack room of a trailer on time. It was a relatively stress free trailer ride, although Princess wasn't exactly confident about the clattery dividers of the 3 horse slant. If I end up with that trailer (saving for one now that the saddle's reality, and the one we used is for sale) it'll take some play, but hopefully that works out...and no one get all excited, this is all just speculation, I'm not about to jump into buying a trailer just yet...

This day was a private lesson day, so basically all that happened was I set up and got Prin in her stall (herinafter referred to as the dark pit of doom...she HATED that thing, it was about a foot lower than the level of the aisle, and really stuffy, etc)and caught up with Farrah. Renee also met me down there, she wanted to try out my lovely new fluidity saddle, which I *think* was a hit, though I didn't get a whole lot of feedback because she rode in it while I helped out and played "Carrot stick wall" for Farrah's amazing demo.

Thursday ended with a little trail ride. Farrah rode Caesar, her gigantic QH gelding, and ponied Wesley (WES-WES!!!!) her little Arabian gelding, Farrah's mom, Echo, took her STUNNING Friesian gelding Napoleon, I rode Prin, and another participant, Dana, rode her little Paint mare, Shasta. I was very intregued by how just playing with the order and placement of the horses on the ride can make such a difference in the smoothness (and not so much) of the ride. We experimented with things, and had a pretty good time.

Farrah invited Dana and me to camp out in the back of her horse trailer which was cause for a hoot, here's some photos of our little "house":

Dana getting breakfast ready

And in case you were wondering, no, we did NOT drink all that soda.


Beginning of the level 1 clinic. Nothing too notable, I experiemented with photography, I'm a little embarassed to say that not much turned out, the lighting was actually really bad, BRIGHT reflective sand and panels, I just couldn't find a good angle. I got a few that I could probably photoshop into being good, but I'm too lazy to do that for the blog anyway.

The participants were too cool, the horses were beautiful, and everyone learned a lot.

Funniest part of the day I think came probably in the afternoon session. Farrah asked if she could borrow my halter and lead to demonstrate an effective phase 4. She tied my halter to the door of a stall, and went about explaining. Well, she SNAPPED a phase 4 down the line, and the snap cracked against the door, and we heard a "tinkle tinkle tinkle"...Farrah effectively phase 4'd the set-screw right out of my snap on my lead rope and broke it...GOOFY GIRL! Anyway, got a couple cool pix of the entire group "Phase 4-ing" the stalls, SO FUNNY:

That evening, I had a REALLY emotional session. I put Prin loose in the arena to play at liberty. Things went REALLY well for the first 10 minutes or so, then she broke away from me, and I just could NOT get her to come back. I was already on edge because I hadn't gotten enough sleep, and then was being reminded of some holes I had in my little things here and there. So when Farrah came over and told me that the reason she wasn't coming back was because I had broken the connection, the thought did NOT sit well. I got a little teary eyed, and looked away, feeling absolutely rotten, thinking "How could I do that to my horse?"...

For those who know me well (and now for those who don't) when I get into deep thought, and then get upset, I go straight RBI...and pretty extremely too. So I walked away, sat down at the far end of the arena and made a pretty poor attempt at hiding my emotions so I could stay in my own head. Farrah, without knowing me at all, did EXACTLY what she should have, she followed me at a distance, stood about 5 feet away, and rubbed my back with the Carrot Stick, until I apparently relaxed (Was a little preoccupied at the time to notice), and then she came and sat down next to me and put a hand on my knee. At this point, I looked up, and to my surprise, Farrah was also crying...If there's one thing I can't stand, it's when someone matches my emotions, because then they get even more, I started bawling.

I will spare the details of that for a while, it was erm...kinda touching, but anyway, once I started to collect myself, we actually carried out a really great conversation about self-doubt, and goals, and materialism in humans, stuff like that. Moral of the story, Farrah Green is an AMAZING person. The way she handled that gave me a whole new respect for her, and I really love her for it.


Princess and I participated in this day of the clinic. It was a real eye opener for me, and I found some holes in my Principle games that were preventing me from getting a couple of L3 tasks (Hmm...forhand porcupine game...Prin moves zone 1 really lightly, but zone 2 is sticky...and I wondered why my spins/pivots were poor. Once I adjusted that, it was like someone flipped a switch) Farrah did a good job of adjusting the games to fit our level of refinement though...for example, getting a horse to stop with hind legs crossed in HQ porcupine...haha, EASIER SAID THAN DONE!

I'm not going to lie, I got bored after a while, and so did Prin. We finished on kind of a bad note because she and I were both zoning out, and so I just put her back afterwards feeling kind of disgusted with myself for having such a short attention span (Silly LBE, I am) and went out to situate myself to watch Farrah's scheduled inspirational demo.

Well, right after I had put my horse away, I got a really pleasent surprise. Farrah came over and said "Hey, I had a cool idea. Want to get your horse back out? I thought it would be really fun for you and my mom to ride too, and we could do the demo together."

Being that I've been so dissapointed about Savvy Team, I almost cried when she invited me to do that. I of course jumped on the chance, and so we did the demo together. I started out on the 12' line, did some circling and stuff and then I moved to the 45' line and did zone 5 driving, which was a HIT! Prin and I did zig-zag half passes up and down the ring at the trot and canter (she even did 2 lead changes for me!!!) and then I hopped back on with the halter and 12' line reins, and did some transitions, lots of flying changes, and some dressage maneuvers, then I took the halter off and went bridless, with just my dressage whip, not even a carrot stick (BIG LEAP OF FAITH!!) and that's when the REALLY amazing stuff happened. We were riding to some sort of Techno/Dance track, and i started to kind of prance to the beat in my body (LOL..makes me think of Madison last year...anyway)and then Prin's stride started to feel odd and different. I looked down at my shadow, and abotu fell off when I saw what I did...Prin was elevating her stride in trot. While her head wasn't in or down, her back was coming up and her stride was higher...Prin was offering the best she could in an attempt at Passage!!! WOW!

We ended the demo by all 3 standing up on our horses, then I backflipped off, and Farrah laid Caesar down. It was GREAT!

Demo photos:
CUTE--Farrah and Wesley
Farrah and Wesley

Farrah and Caesar
Farrah and Caesar

Farrah and Caesar 2
Farrah and Caesar BB and B

Wesley sitting.

Goin' in the canter...we did some gait within the gait for people, and I think they found that cool.

This is gawky and awkward, but this is actually one of our passage strides. You can see me staring down at the shadow-lol

trottin' around

TADA! What's funny here is that Prin actually looks SMALL in this picture. But let me assure she's still 16.1hh, its just that Napoleon is 17.3 and Caesar is probably 16.3 or 17hh.

Talk about awesome timing with the backflip!

Also got a little chance to talk about our story and why I did PNH, etc. That was fun, because I'm just dying to share everything I can, of course.

So, end Part I of my clinic adventure. Sunday and Monday held plenty of GREAT STUFF too, but it's now approaching 2:00 am and I promised Mickey I'd ride with her tomorrow morning, so I've gotta hit the hay. Rest of the recap tomorrow, including my opportunity to be coached through giving a young horse her first ride, and also my private finesse lesson, and the huge compliment Farrah paid me, and exciting plans for the rest of the summer.

Stay tuned!


Renee said...

Awesome stuff Fran. Can't wait for part II!

As for feedback for Fluidty ( :D ) waaaaaaaaaaaaaaant!! I had a little trouble with the canter, but I'm guessing that's mostly because I'm used to my LBE/RBE who canters at the slightest suggestion.

Glad you had an enlightening time. :)

Anonymous said...

Cool! I also can't wait for Part II! I think I am going to link your Clinic Recap 1 & 2 on my blog for people to read. I love your pictures too! The one of your flipping off Prin is priceless!! :)

Jen said...

Can I tell you reading this is really cool for me...yes, all the things you can do, etc and I really admire you for that! But for me, personally, the 'confession' of the personal upset you felt makes me feel so much better, because I often feel the same way. I find I end up feeling guilty for doing something wrong (or not doing something) that I either did not have information for to begin with or didn't see when/how/where to use the arrows I did have. I have misfired those savvy arrows so many times, or used the wrong arrows with the right intentions...but it doesn't matter...if I fail, I feel like a failure. I'm working out of it, little by little, but you know, I think if you hold yourself to a high standard, then you aren't satisfied with second best! It's a good thing, just now to be patient and ALLOW (with a good send!) ourselves to grow. It's something I know in my gut, but don't always live. Anyway, thanks for the confession because it helps me know that it happens even to experienced horsepeople, too.

AND congratulations on an awesome inspirational ride! Wish it was on video!