Friday, December 17, 2010

Lurena Bell clinic at Belle Terre Farm

Ceil's ride on PJ, a 22 year old German Riding Pony:

In canter: even when you feel good jump in the canter, also insist that he sits down. Get him to sit over his left hind leg (in left canter). Bend him in "too much" to get him to hang his neck out of his withers: make him almost over-round on each rein. The outside rein should be soft, while you ask him to bend a little left and a little right. If he speeds up, collect him back into a better balance. The canter should have a "ONE-TWO," "ONE-TWO" beat; you shouldn't hear the third beat. The half halt should make him sit down over his haunches: EXPECT him to SIT DOWN over his hindquarter. He should come all the way back to where you can soften on both reins. Think "piaffe in the canter."

In walk half pass: also sit him back so that he quits using his neck to balance; rather insist he uses his haunches to balance.

In sitting trot: don't try very hard from the waist down, and keep him soft on both reins. Slow your body down so that you only go a slow "one-two," "one-two" beat. Be sure to make everything you do about rhythm. If he gets quick, slow him way down: every step has do be deliberately placed-- no running. Rhythm creates balance, and without balance there is no rhythm.

In medium trot: try it posting trot first, then only do short stints of sitting the medium trot. Strive for balance and softness. Roll your knees in a little to steady your balance.

In canter half pass: the canter should stay the same or improve during the half pass. Left bend or right bend reminds him to develop more balance over his legs rather than his neck.

In lateral work: rhythm creates balance. When he gets tight bend him in both directions both left and right to prevent him from stiffening his neck.

Carrie's ride on Delphinia, a 12 year old Trakehner mare:

In shoulder in: keep looking into the corner. When necessary give a tap with the whip to maintain impulsion. Avoid tightness in your hip and leg. The reins need to be soft. Maintain your position regardless of what the horse is doing.

In trot: Remind the horse to be soft on both reins. It is okay to allow the horse to make a mistake. Be quick with your half halt then be fast on the give. You can increase the repetitions of the half halt then be equally quick with the give. The horse doesn't get to pick the trot; the rider decides the trot. The rider should feel "lazy" below the waist; shoulders and upper arms should allow rider to balance and allow the rider to keep the horse in balance.

In leg yield and half pass: look over to where you are going. Occasionally turn the leg yield into short stints of half pass. Test the outside rein to see if it can soften; don't allow the horse to tighten. You don't want the neck to shorten, but rather be BRIGHTER into the reins. Occasionally surprise the horse by throwing in a short diagonal line from the center line rather than leg yielding over, again allowing the horse to soften. Any half pass, leg yield etceteras is work on a diagonal line: the horse should be straight and soft despite whether the shoulders or haunches are moving. BOTH reins should have equal weight in each rein.

In canter: the rider's hips and legs have to be relaxed in canter, especially in preparing for flying changes. Sit way back- even behind the vertical. Delphi has to let the rider sit back on the pockets; facilitate this by giving quick outside half halts. If the rider's seat lightens, it is because the horse has changed the balance. Rather, the horse has to come to the RIDER's balance, not the reverse.

In canter to walk and walk to canter transitions: In the down trans from canter to walk and especially the up trans from walk to canter, the horse is NOT allowed to pull in the walk. The horse should be in the outside rein to be positioned for the transition from walk to canter. To keep the horse supple, throw in some surprise walk pirouettes during walk to canter transitions. If the horse leans on the left rein, "shake" her off of it. The heavy side can be the slow side. During the turn on the haunches, remind Delphi it's a walk: count "1-2-3-4." Half halt her back and continue the turn into a full 360 degree pirouette. Half halt on the outside rein to prevent the horse stepping out. It is okay at this point if the pirouette is big; you can always tighten it up later. If the horse pivots, then make it a bigger pirouette. Counting the horse's footfalls helps maintain the rhythm.

The rider should be able to move the rider's legs in and out, forward or backward, without the horse over-reacting to the movement of the rider's legs. The rider should set high standards, staying in position regardless of what the horse is doing and EXPECT the horse to conform to the rider's (presumably correct) balance. Even if you have to do 17 walk to canter transitions, so be it.