It's been a very busy week here at Gavilan Farm so I am sorry that I haven't had a chance to update since the clinic. There was alot of preparation leading up to the clinic getting the barn looking even better than usual, making sure all of the jumps were set, and getting the horses cleaned up and show ready. Once Phillip arrived the work really began- as far as riding goes that is.
The first day of the clinic was show jumping day. The course was set with technical questions including tight angles and turning questions. The basis of the exercises were overall focused on being able to keep your horse moving forward through the questions and pushing into them instead of holding and shortening to make a distance happen. This was particularly difficult because I tend to be a bit more cautious in the show jumping phase but it forced me to step out of my comfort zone and it was so beneficial for Q and I. The lesson started with three offset verticals with one stride in between them. This question tested the ability to stick to your line while turning but not pull back or hold their mouth to get one stride between the verticals. The next exercises were two oxers on a tight angled one stride followed by a turn four or five strides to a corner. This further tested the ability to think quickly and turn efficiently. For the one stride angled oxers you really needed to push to make it work and upon landing continue to send forward in the turn instead of sit and pull back as is many people's tendency. The final exercise was a simple triple combination with a vertical- three strides- oxer- two strides- oxer- which could be jumped either direction. Although there was no turning or an angles the challenge was still being able to ride forward and positively into a line in order for the horse to be quick on their feet and have the power and impulsion needed to clear the oxers. All of these exercises can be seen in the show jumping video that I have uploaded in the videos tab.
The second day of the clinic was cross country day. The day started out kind of hectic because Q pulled a shoe out in the pasture so I had to try to find it or else we wouldn't be able to participate. Luckily Nat was able to find it and Will tacked it back on right before the lesson started. On cross country, Phillip discussed riding efficiently on course by always landing forward and galloping in order to save time and your horse and also instilling confidence in your horse on course by jumping the gallop fences out of stride and doing your best to not always take them back right before a jump if it isn't necessary. With Q, I worked alot on being able to adjust far enough back that I am not interrupting his stride right before a jump and hitting the jump out of stride. Q was jumping so well and was very confident which in turn gave me even more confidence with him. Alot of exercises were in the water which we have had challenges with a while ago but Q was jumping right out of stride and didn't mind at all! I am hoping to have a xc video put together in the next couple of days.
Overall it was a very successful clinic and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to ride with Phillip as well as watch the other lessons and learn from them as well.
-As always, if anyone has any questions about the clinic or the exercises we did feel free to ask!