Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Clinic Recap, Part II

Continued recap of the clinic with Farrah Green I attended.


Beginning of the Level 2 clinic. I had talked to the clinic hostess early that morning, and we had discussed the possibility of my bringing her young mare, Charm in the L2 clinic. She had two horses there in the clinic. She had taken Charm in the L1 clinic and had some difficulty, being that she was young, LBE and dominant, and a bit concerned about her buddy who was 100 yds away in his corral. Not to mention, her poor owner wasn't entirely sure how to handle Charm's antics, so anyway. I offered to play with her in level 2 because she looked like a fun horse, and Princess had sort of indicated (the look in her eye said it all) that she was in need of a day off.

So, we haltered up miss Charm, and away we went. For the first 20 minutes or so, there was a bit of LBE vs LBE mischief going on, because Charm clearly wanted to test my leadership abilities, and I wanted her to just stand still long enough for me to take a breath. So we just fooled around, I established my personal space, boundaries, made clear that "Yes, Charm, I am bigger and quicker than you...can we play together?"

The rest of the clinic basically ZOOMED by, Charm and I had a BLAST. Farrah would walk by and tease me, saying "You're not having fun, are you Fran?" because I don't honestly think I quit smiling and giggling the entire day. Charm is very mouthy, and towards the end of the day, she was literally picking me up by my pants and silly things like that.

One of the highlights of that day, however, came in the afternoon session, when we played with the friendly game on the fence in preparation for mounting. Charm had never been ridden before, being only 4 years old. I was really looking forward to this, because I had been given permission to give her her first ride. Farrah was patient and talked the group through the steps, getting a horse to sidepass up to the fence, the friendly game with legs and arms all over, and then, very carefully, Farrah directed her attention to Charm and me, (Charm was doing AMAZINGLY, by the way) and talked me through sliding on, then off, then back on, asking her to bend, then sliding off, then asking her to back up, then getting off, then riding a little passenger lesson around, and then giving her a treat, sliding off, and calling it. I've given about 20 first rides in my life, and each one has been special. Well that one meant a lot to me, because I was coached through it, it went perfectly, and to top it off, Charm's owner was almost in tears, she was so thrilled. I felt very proud of both myself, and of course of the horse.

We ended the evening by going out to a nice Mexican restaurant. It was a lovely time, Farrah and I now officially have crossed the line into oddness, with the "I just can't get over how GOOD you look in my shirt, Fran" joke...please ask if you're confused.


Started out early with a private lesson on finesse. What a blasty blast that was. We started out on the ground. Farrah pointed out to me that when Prin travels on a circle, she doesn't really bend with the circle (hence why I might be having trouble getting her to maintain gait for very long) and that it was more than likely caused by a block somewhere in her ribs, which wasn't aggravated when I rode because my fluidity helped her body do what it needed. Farrah messed around a bit, and found she was really good except for one spot about where the girth came around. So we started with an exercise where I would drive Prin in a circle, and then porcupine that part of her ribs over until she softened, her legs crossed over in back, (while still traveling forward) and her head and neck relaxed and came down. I never would have expected Princess to respond so quickly to a new concept, but she did in a matter of minutes, and the I got on.

Now don't kill me here, but since it was so early in the morning, I don't remember a whole lot beyond a couple of exercises we did here. We played a little with good transitions, and I learned something/had a really big BFO here. Any good transition, up, down, or inbetween, has to start in zone 5. So instead of keeping zone 1 up, I focused on keeping zone 5 DOWN...and MAN did my transitions get better!

Next we also worked on something somewhat similar to what we did on the ground, but we used kind of a shoulder in maneuver along the fence to accomplish the same goal. Princess did really super well with that, Farrah told me she was very impressed with our sideways. And she also paid me a HUGE compliment, that has kind of kept me fueled for the past few days. She told me that Prin and I were well to the point in our finesse (and particularly our circles) that I could get really particular, and start asking for Level 3 and 4 quality in it. I was really flattered, and it's been interesting trying to live up to that.

I'll have pictures from the lesson next week. The guy who took them forgot his camera at the barn and will get it back on July 1st. So stay tuned, he got some GREAT shots.

The rest of the clinic was fun for sure, I had a good giggle in the afternoon riding session because Farrah asked me to demonstrate the 21 minute pushing passenger lesson. Well...lets just say I've never done the full 21 minutes before! I graduated both the old levels, so I never HAD TO. Alls I can say is THANK GOODNESS I had a fluidity saddle to ride in. Prin stepped into trot and maintained it without a single reminder, which was a little shocking, but very cool.

To wrap this whole thing up, I also want to share my little piece of excitement. Farrah harassed me all weekend about assessing Level 3. She REALLY thinks I need to start. So anyway, she kept buggin' me (in an encouraging way) and finally she said, "Fran, I want to, and am GOING to help you film it. Let's get this thing done sometime!" So, um...WOW...I have a PNH instructor wanting to help me finish my L3 assessment. Hell, I'll take it. and Farrah's such an excellent coach and instructor, that I'll get through it fairly stress-free, I'm sure! She also told me that I HAD to come visit her sometime this year. There wasn't an out, I HAD to. And again, I say, hell, I'd be HAPPY to!

So overall, a wonderful weekend. I'll look forward to seeing Farrah again in 2 weeks at the tour stop in Madison, WI, where she'll be on the savvy team.

Thanks for reading, I promise I'll have some pictures sooner or later!


Jen said...

Wow, Fran! So exciting! Like you, I can live on a good compliment for daaaaays. :) I think it was Linda talking on one of the dvds (I don't remember where) where she talked about letting someone's negative comment bring her so far down that she was really unconfident for a while after that until she realized things were actually okay and that person didn't have all the information and spoke too soon. She then realized how fragile this thing called confidence is! I'm so glad you have a huge infusion of confidence from the clinic! Can't wait to hear how those more particular questions go with Princess in the coming weeks!

See you in Madison!

Sarah said...

Whoot whoot, sounds like a pretty snazzy roller coaster of a weekend! Can't wait to talk to you more about it on AIM whenever <3