Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I moved the two hours north to Chester County in mid-November. Unloaded the rig at Fox Mill Farm and hit the ground running. Wendy and Travis Kinnamon of Breakaway Farm invited me back to help start thoroughbred yearlings for the duration of the fall.  Soon after Christmas I started managing a barn of foxhunters in Unionville, Pa through the most epic winter season I ever experienced that was complete with near record snow, ice storms, long term power outages and mornings that regularly began in the single digits. Spring couldn't come any sooner!

"Buff the Magic Dragon"

Cheshire Hunt Club

Due to time constraints I changed up a training program and opted for Sally Lofting because she was close to Fox Mill since she was based out of True Prospect for the winter. I am so thankful for this decision because the lessons had some major pay-offs as Sally worked me through further improving the canter and having adjustability before the fences in relation to take-off and the height of the fence. I have noticed a real change, evident in our initial attempts this spring season.

Hope ran Morven's Training and produced her first clear round in years in SJ and a steady, clear round in the mud laden cross country course. A few weeks ago I took Hope and Grace to Plantation Field. Hope moved back up to Prelim. with a clean ride cross country and our best dressage test at the level. Show jumping was tough and implemented the terrain during a time when most of us in the area were finally able to ride outside for the first time in months. Grace contested her second Training in style with a clean cross country round and two rails in stadium.

Photo by Steve Berkowitz - Hope Prelim Water

Photo by Steve Berkowitz - Grace tackles the Training Water
 

Grace contested the Training again the following week at Fair Hill in which we produced my third consecutive test between both horses, complete with an error, and a score of 40.9. Stadium had one rail, but a very quick and clean trip around cross country.
Grace tackles an early house in the Fair Hill Training

Photo by Steve Berkowitz - Grace Fair Hill Training

 
Both girls are entered at Plantation and Fair Hill back to back before making our final trip home for a summer of work at the beach. Hope is tentatively scheduled Prelim. for both and Grace the training with a hopeful move-up to prelim in early summer.



 

Monday, November 11, 2013

So Long Sweet Summer

Downtime has been nonexistent since I moved home in June following my first attempt at Prelim. at Waredaca and my subsequent first completed Prelim. at Plantation Field.

My life the last few years has been cyclically transient and nomad-like. I move home for the summer and fall to work at the beach while the season is in full swing. Once things slow down I pack up and move 100 miles North to the Southern Chester County area. Within this cycle is the sub-cycle of my riding progression which usually peaks shortly after returning home and doesn't regain until I am back North receiving proper instruction. I have fought myself throughout this down time to continue progressing, or at least maintain. At times it feels like a lost cause. At times it feels brilliant. And so goes our life with horses, the great humblers.

In July I took another shot at Prelim. at Loch Moy about 3.5 hours away. Our dressage is still in a "no shot in hell chance at being competitive" stage. Add to that a solid warm-up that was followed by a show jump round riddled with refusals and rails. However, things came together on cross country and we jumped a clear round with a few time penalties to move up almost ten spots.

My next attempt at Prelim. was in September at Seneca about 3.5 hours away. Our dressage had been an issue all summer and it really surfaced in the slick-bone dry-grass rings. The trailers were at least a 15 minute hack/walk from the rings, so once I knew I needed studs it was too late. Hope started slipping which got me upset and depending on my hands too much. Soon enough we were off course. We finished the test without any brilliant moments or one real positive mark, which was incredibly disappointing. However, the judge went out of her way to follow me back through the warm-up to let me know that she thought the mare possessed significant upper-level potential and that everyone has an off day. Stadium was tough but we had a great ride. We pulled two rails mid-course and I took a more open distance to the triple which got us in deep for the next two elements to pull two final rails. I made the decision in the start box to finish cross country with a productive ride and we did just that. I backed off the speed knowing we were last to begin with. She was strong to the first four fences so I put her in deep and when she finally backed off she gave me the most confidence-boosting ride as we loped around what was our hardest Prelim. course in true hunter fashion.

Seneca was far from a complete disappointment. Grace came along to contest her first Training. Studded for dressage she turned in a 39.5 (my second best score ever). She turned in one of the few double-clear stadium rounds and went on to jump clear around a very difficult cross country with only 1.2 time penalties to finish 6th o/o 24. I wasn't quite sure of this mare's capabilities late last spring, but as a I learn how different of a ride she is from Hope we are progressing in leaps and bounds. My plans for selling her shifted to the back burner with this performance because my confidence is hit or miss with Hope as we work through the stadium baggage. I have every intention of making a bid for Prelim. on this mare come late spring or early summer.

I have now just finished settling in at my wintering location near Fair Hill in Maryland. Grace and Hope are back in work after a brief vacation which included a ride on the beach at home in Delaware! I am not agonizing over competition plans and the springplanning, but am looking forward to some lessons with Molly and some new trainers once she heads South for the winter.

My goals for the winter are to really improve my flatwork with both mares and to get Hope out to as many jumpers shows as possible. I have depleted what was left of my Worth the Trust funds so it looks like working 60+ hours a week is all too eminent, but if I am able to improve I don't mind the work!

I find myself feeling stuck in this post graduate gypsy routine between locations. At times I feel like I am putting my professional life on hold to pursue horses. At times I feel like maybe my professional life should be horses. And then there are times when I feel like I am investing so much with not enough to justify continuing the pursuit. And the most frustrating point being that I don't really have an answer other than to keep doing the things that make me happy, regardless of the workload to support it.

Cheers to progress and answers, but most of all happiness.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Going Green.

This Picture = Hard work and persistence and a lot of lessons
Things finally coming together on the flat

A different green. This post is long overdue and yet so anticipated. I made my first attempt at Prelim. at Waredaca on June 2nd. Dressage went well considering I thought that, and therefore had practiced, my test was in a large ring. Stadium was a positive first effort and as a partnership we put in a long awaited forward round with some rideability. Hope SJ Round. Cross Country was foot-perfect until fence 5 (corner) where we came in with a flat canter that lacked impulsion and some control. She tried to chip and I more or less bailed with a "10" for  the summer-salt-land-on-my-feet dismount from the jump judge. All things considered it was one of my best outings yet. My next attempt was Plantation Field June 9th during a week when it rained torrentially almost every day. Although I couldn't quite find a rhythm in any of the phases, I finished and had a lot of fun.

Worth the Trust Scholarship:
Previous Balance: 904.23
5.28 - Lesson with Molly (60.00)

5.30 - Lesson with Anecia (50.00) - School Prelim. Test A - Worked on asking for lengthenings once straight off the wall, counter flexing before asking for a leg yield (i.e. leg yield right, counter flex left before leaving the wall) and canter transitions (creating a leg yield feel into the transitions).
6.1 - Lesson with Molly - Waredaca Prep. (60.00)

6.11 - Lesson with Molly - Plantation Flat Prep. (60.00) - A few key excercises to help nail some issues in the flat work. (1) When practicing the movement of cantering across the diagonal and trotting at X, throw in a circle as soon as the trot begins to encourage suppleness throughout the transition. (2) leg yield from the quarter line to the wall down the long side, then do a mock shallow serpentine at the trot. Then repeat with the canter. For the canter serpentine the movement was broken down as follows; off the wall diagonally, straight along quarter line, towards the wall diagonally. For this movement she told me to (3) imagine swinging the hindquarters away from the wall to obtain the straight suppleness down quarter line and to (4) circle immediately following the approach into the corner to discourage a rushed finish.

6.20 - 3 Lessons with Molly - SJ Rose, SJ Hope, Flat Hope (180.00) - Both jump lessons focused on what became a very challenging drill; vertical, 20 meters, oxer. The challenge was to trot in and canter five strides from both directions and then approach with a canter to get four in between from both directions. I am beginning to realize how difficult it is to bring Hope back following a jump and regain a quality canter, which when absent makes related distances difficult. Rose was game the entire lesson and continues to send my heart into my throat by casually omitting strides in related distances. My flat lesson with Hope is a lesson that will stick with me as a one of my most memorable lessons in developing dressage basics. Molly decided that my approach needs to be (1st) geometry: circle work to develop rhythm, suppleness, and elasticity and (2nd) test movements. During this lesson we drilled equitation; sinking elbows, firm lower leg, loose knee and a tall back that stretches up and doesn't arch. I admit I thought connection was developed through a firm outside rein to push inside aids too. For this Molly brought up dancing partners and said I need to have a steady inside rein to guide the bend, but a continually giving and taking outside rein to provide a space for Hope to push into and bend into. Our canter work focused on shape, shape, shape. To achieve shape Molly had me lift my inside rein with ever stride while allowing my outside rein to give and follow the bend. Throughout the lesson it was became clear that I have a real issue with giving up my right rein in both directions and when something didn't work I got piano hands. Molly must have said 100 times throughout the lesson to sink my elbows, turn my inside rein out with my palm facing up and to continue following the shape with my outside aids. Although it felt foreign, a week later I am actually enjoying flatwork. On that note, Cheers!

New Balance: 494.23

Look at that improved position!

I look at this picture everyday and know I have something special in this mare, but it won't come without disciplined practice and more lessons.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Spring Sweeps. Welcome Summer.

In the next week I will move home to Southern Delaware for the summer following what has been a busy spring. I leave my basement apartment at 5:30 a.m. and return around 9 p.m everyday and the days seem to pass all too quickly. Thankfully the hours have been filled with enjoyable employment, co-workers, and some extremely talented horses. In anything and everything Second Wind, let's get down to business:

4.25.2013 - SJ Lesson with Molly Kinnamon (Formerly Rosin) on Hope. In a matter of months my partnership with his horse has grown by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately it will take more time to counter the years of baggage we have developed together from bad habits and lack of lessons in the past. With joy we seem to have risen above our dont-see-a-spot-and-refuse phase, but now are working with maintaining the quality of canter before the fence. The result of our efforts lately seems to be a rushed bid at the fence a few strides out. I think it is just going to take time and disciplined practice. Although this lesson was awesome and a real confidence builder, at times it is hard to enjoy because I know there is a likely-hood that that result will not be so easily duplicated in our next ride. Lesson Footage!

4.28.2013 - Dressage Lesson with Anecia Delduco of Second Nature Farms (Oxford, Pa) on Hope. This was my first lesson back with Anecia since the previous year. My inability to keep my hands steady has resulted in some serious bouncing on the bit from Hope. First and foremost we decided that if it feels comfortable, then it is too slow and not engaged enough. An open trot from the start produces more quality movement with this horse. Our canter transitions have been difficult and I am beginning to realize how much I sit on my inside rein throughout my rides. The lesson included a lot of spiral-ins and outs, leg yields, and long sides following some collected circle work.

5.3.2013 - SJ Lessons with Molly Kinnamon on Hope and Rose. In this lesson my baggage with Hope began resurfacing as she repeatedly made bids and moves shortly before the fence at which point I was unable to maintain a quality canter. Shorter approaches and really riding off my outside aids seemed to assist in management of the issue. Lesson Footage. Rose accompanied the crew to get a tune-up for her first BN at the Fair Hill Starter on 5.5.2013. Rose had some difficult settling in and was a bear to bring back from the canter, forcing me to really burn the triceps while keeping my hands down and steady. This mare has a bold-but-cautious jumping character and in finally realizing that we have been having progressive rides. Homegirl can jump. Thats all I gots to say. Rose Jumps Too

5.5.2013 - Fair Hill Starter - Grace (Novice) + Rose (BN) + Courdoroy (BN). All horses scored within a point of each other collectively in the 38-39 range. Grace had a spectacular stadium round that was not justly recognized as in a moment of pure elation at having a stellar go at the two-stride, I went right past the next oxer to the final combination. Thankfully we continued to xc and Grace gave me an effort that demonstrated that she was ready to make the move to Training.

5.6.2013 - Dressage Lesson with Anecia Delduco on Hope. Same as previous lesson.

5.9.2013 - SJ Lesson with Molly Kinnamon on Grace. I made the decision to move Grace up to Training at the Plantation Starter. We had a lesson laced with gymnastics to get Grace is top jumping form.

5.10.2013 - Dressage Lesson with Anecia Delduco on Hope. Shallow canter serpentines!

5.12.2013 - Plantation Starter Grace (Training) + Rose (BN) + Courdoroy (BN). Same courses as previous day's recognized divisions. Grace made the move to Training with a solid test, clear sj round and brave xc minus the terrifying ditch and wall (we both lost our v's to that fence that day . . . on the second attempt . . .) Rose finished on her dressage score with Lady Charlotte Freeman in the tack for her homecoming. Runt finished on his dressage score with a solid sj round and sure footed xc go.

5.14.2013 - Dressage Lesson with Anecia Delduco on Hope - Full run-through Prelim. Test A!

5.17.2013 - SJ Lesson with Molly Kinnamon on Hope. Lesson Footage.

5.20.2013 - SJ Lessons with Molly Kinnamon on Hope and Rose

5.22.2013 - Dressage Lesson with Anecia Delduco on Hope - Re-run Prelim. Test A. Canter serpentines coming so much easier as well as a medium trot!

Worth the Trust Scholarship Funds
Balance - 1674.23
4.25 Lesson: - 60.00
4.28 Lesson: - 50.00
5.3 Lesson: - 120.00
5.6 Lesson: - 50.00
5.7 Gas: - 100.00
5.9 Lesson: - 60.00
5.10 Lesson: - 50.00
5.14 Lesson: - 50.00
5.17 Lesson: - 60.00
5.20 Lessons: -120
5.22 Lesson: - 50.00
New Balance: 904.23

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rose Goes, Runt Follows.

Rose making a comeback from a fractured fibula at her first cross country school in 14 months.
#SecondWind
 #ChroniclesOfMyLittleRedRidingHorse
Photos by Claire Cooper
 
Warming Up

Warm-up effort . . .

Introduction to the Ditch
 
Faster


Fancy

Brave Mare

Sales Gelding - Courdoroy- "Runt"
14.3 - 15 hands, 5 yrs. old
Competing BN
 
Warming Up

Approaching the Water

Some more Flatwork

First Cross Country School in 7 months

Introduction to the Ditch

Response to the Introduction

Pony Power!


Spring Cleaning

A long overdue entry.

3.26.2013 - Lesson with Kate Hicks - In this lesson we continued to work on developing a more engaging canter and challenged both Hope and I with some of the larger fences we have faced in our partnership. Although we had several hick-ups, the response was to try again (and again after another one) and that I dig. With several fences at Prelim. height I found out quickly that I needed more canter. A long and productive lesson with a tired pair by the end. I don't mind the rails as long as I am creating a canter that gets us an attempt versus a refusal. I swear I practice every day to not have hands that post with me! Will keep working on a snug and supporting lower leg and keeping those hands still! Lesson Video

4.3.2013 - Molly is back from Aiken! During this lesson we continued to focus on quality of canter and producing a canter that finds the distance and provides enough gumption to jump out of a misjudged distance (this quality of canter concept seems to be a tough spot for us). We worked over a single oxer and then a one stride. Although Hope felt improved in the flat, the lesson was not without refusals because of a combination of rider error and lack of canter.

4.6.2013 and 4.7.2013 - Grace (4.7.2013) and Hope (4.6.2013) go to Kate for jumps lessons in preperation for Plantation Field where Grace is entered Novice and Hope Training. Hope Video and Grace Video. Plantation was a solid first outing for the season in that nearly nothing went according to plan. Grace gave a great first effort at Novice and although she had a run-out early on, she displayed gallop and bravery beyond her years to finish on Sunday. Hope dropped two rails in stadium but was one of the few to go inside the time in stadium and a clean run across XC with no time penalties moved us up in the results.

4.7.2013 - Gas: -120.79

4.18.2013 - Lesson on Hope with Molly - Big lesson with Molly where the quality of canter finally began to emerge. The lesson consisted of a bounce using two low and narrow elements, a vertical-two stride-oxer and a vertical-one stride-vertical.

4.21.2013 - Kate's long awaited opportunity to teach me in a flat lesson. We focused on maintaining the quality of the trot between rising and sitting. Not sure if your doing it right, don't worry your abs will scream words of encouragement.

4.23.2013 - XC schooling with Molly on Hope and Grace - Grace kicked things off with the Novice group. We schooled arriving at the base of the fence with more canter to encourage the mare to use herself more up front. The result was a forward and more fluid ride over some training fences! Hope was next to go and for reasons unknown she lacked rideability (crowds, neon colored pony clubbers zipping by,world hunger, global warming . . . ). Although I was disappointed with the aspect of rideability, the mare was very forward and eager to jump. It became quite obvious that we have exited the loose-ring snaffle stage and for the time being require a little more bit.

Worth the Trust Funds: 2254.03 @ last entry
3.26 Lesson with Kate: -60.00
4.3 Lesson with Molly: -60.00
4.7 Lessons with Kate: -120.00
      Gas: -120.79
4.18 Lesson with Molly: -60.00
4.21 Lesson with Kate: -60.00
4.23 XC with Molly: -100.00
New Balance: 1673.24


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Now exiting the comfort zone

The last two weeks have been an interesting bout in my education as a rider.

In my lessons with Kate the jump-work pressed me against the edge of my comfort zone with the combination of more canter, tight turns and a more forward ride to some big fences. All in all things are progressing with tremendous homework, self-determination and motivation. Click for Video of Hope's Lesson

Grace also went for a lesson. I enjoy riding this mare because I started a majority of her education later in my riding career when I too was a little more educated and pursuing lessons more actively. Stamina will always be the bane of this mare's existence. Instead of saying she is slow, I like to tell people that she is just deliberate in her steps. Although she was tired at the end of this lesson, she was giving me what little amount of diesel was left in the tank and for that I give her props. Click for video of lesson with Grace
 
Starting to get the hang of it
Earlier this month I casually mentioned to my friend Kelsey Hamilton (USPCA HA)(DC Small Wonder Pony Club) that I wanted to see DOC coach the training sessions and she was game. With her mini-cooper loaded we set off Sunday morning for our ten hour drive. Monday we watched nearly seven hours of USEF High Performance Training Sessions at Stable View Farm in Aiken. If you ever opportunity I would encourage you to sit in on these events and witness in person the caliber of horse and rider combinations this country has to offer. As a visual learner the opportunity was invaluable as observers were able to see how both horse and rider reacted to DOC's requests. Becky Holder is incredible to watch on the flat and I can't wait to see how Allison does with her new ride (a mare!). On Tuesday we went back to the training sessions to catch what was supposed to be the only scheduled jump session of the day and included Erin Sylvester and Becky Holder. The pairs started with a low oxer that got wider with each progressive jump. Huge would be a complete understatement. The oxer was narrowed and increased in height to become the second element of a one stride. The later half of the lesson was devoted to a grid with five fences and a stride between each (set at 22'). Wednesday we pack up and drove home. The trip was short but inspirational and encouraging. 

The next few weeks signal the start of eventing in Area II. I have Grace entered Novice at Plantation Field Horse Trials and if all goes well, she will make the move to Training the following week at Fair Hill. Hope will also go Training at Plantation as we begin planning out first attempt at Prelim. later this spring. Between now and Plantation I would like to see (through disciplined practice) an improvement in a stiller lower leg, steadier hands and soft but steady elbows.

Looking forward to some lessons in the coming weeks to further push the comfort envelope.

Houston, we have lift-off.
Introduction with rail up on one side
Worth the Trust Scholarship Funds: 2575.00
-120.00 for two lessons with Kate (Grace and Hope)
-50.00 for a flat lesson with Anecia Delduco on Rose
- Gas expenses for traveling to Aiken for training session 49.94/51.08/49.95
New Balance: 2254.03

Monday, March 4, 2013

Winterized

Grace and Hope made the trip to Kate Hicks Eventing for jump lessons, which off course couldn't begin until a proper warm-up on the flat occurred. I am beginning to realize that flat work may be the bane of my prepubescent riding career because I have an almost non-existent understanding of true connection. Previous instructors have attempted to do so, and at the time I thought I was beginning to understand, but this week things suddenly began to fall into place.

Hope was first and Kate thoroughly schooled me on creating a canter that made distances instead of half halts and hands. Click for video of our lesson.

Grace was next. The lesson was interesting to say the minimum. Grace isn't particularly interested in listening to me on a regular basis and fancied all the things in Kate's indoor that created any opportunity to evade even the simplest of requests. Fortunately, she was in no way blessed with any form of stamina and became more cooperative as the lesson progressed. Where Hope is built like a tall and slim volleyball player, Grace has a build more reminiscent of shot putter. The transition between the two is similar to climbing out of car and mounting a sofa. Throughout the lesson we continued to school the connection process and transitions (think 18-wheeler going 0 to 60). The lesson took a turn from the usual when we introduced Grace to the liverpool, at which point she demonstrated agility and speed (in the reverse direction) unbeknownst to each observer . The reapproach was equally entertaining as Grace took to leaping with each of her four feet simultaneously over the liverpool. This resulted in belly-aching laughter that went on long enough to shed tears. We ended over a course including some challenging combinations and a substantial oxer. Click for video of our lesson. Disclaimer - you may want to avoid drinking milk during the liverpool.

Lastly, I took Rose to my friend Anecia Delduco for a dressage lesson. Much like Grace, Rose has a tendency to not see the importance of the task at hand. At times her approach is more "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!" #ChroniclesOfMyLittleRedRidingHorse. Immediately Anecia identified that Rose has a tendency to hold tension in the base of her neck, so the focus became leg yields to soften, which combined with straightness, became the theme of the lessons. Rose has light and effortless downward transitions. Her upwards need work and consistency which won't come without more connection on my end.

Lessons on Wednesday weather pending. Cheer to either lessons or a snow day!

Worth the Trust Scholarship: 2745 - 120 (2 lessons with Kate @ 60/lesson) - 50 (One lesson with Anecia @ 50/lesson) = 2575.00

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Perfect Practice

With the ever impeding spring season, I made the decision to get back into the saddle for some quality educating.

The first lesson was with Roddy Strang - equine extraordinaire. This was one of Rose's first lessons back from a devastating kick in Aiken that left her with a fractured hind leg and lengthy recovery. My past with this mare includes jet-planes full of baggage, but her talent keeps me investing like an addict. It is a tough pill to swallow, but our issues are as much a reflection of ourselves as they are the horse. This mare has been steadily improving since her rehab started, but she developed a severe detachment disorder from the alpha-mare (coincidentally the one that kicked her)(#redheadsneverlearn). For my lesson with Roddy he stressed the importance of created a positive experience every ride and including frequent breaks where you rub, pat, adore and generally spoil the horse. He suggested that I strive to create the relationship and fascination Rose has with the Big Mare with myself. This manifested during our lesson as follows. Ride Rose on lose rein. When I feel her polarize toward the other mare I go with her in that direction but energize the movement and create more work all the way to the mare at which point we may circle around the mare. Then when Rose has the inkling to look away you ride that and ask (or in my case hope and pray) for a hands free whoa. Followed with more spoiling. Roddy also stressed the importance of riding "skeletal" (with you pelvis and torso, free of legs and arms) to center your aids off of your seat and torso. It was an extremely interesting lesson.

I recently had a lesson with Kate Hicks on Hope. I have been searching for someone to fill the void since Molly went South for the winter. After some researching I came across Kate's Burghley and Rolex rides and I was hooked and completely envious of her ability to package her horse so well. It is the one thing I truely lack with Hope and it shows when she makes hollow and rushed moves at fences and with our 45+ dressage scores. The lesson started with an extensive flat warm-up (already fearing what an actual flat lesson will include!) where we addressed my hands and when it was appropriate to relax into a rewarding BUT forward ride. Kate is a stickler about the quality of canter and I spent more time circleing before fence than I did jumping, but the result was nearly effortless combinations. Single fences were another story, but Rome wasn't built in a day!

I also took Hope and Grace to a jumper schooling show last week. I entered both in a 2'9"/3'/3'3" jump-off class. The result was six clean rounds and subsequently six clean jump-off rounds! Not to shabby.

For the time being I have been ruthless in addressing and completing disciplined rides that focus on keeing my eyes and inside shoulder up, keeping my inside hand and belly button foward and my leg under me in a more balanced approach.

Big week of lessons ahead. Cheers to some video footage in the near future!

Worth the Trust Scholarship - 2880.00 - 75.00 (Roddy Strang) - 60.00 (Kate Hicks) = 2745.00

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dirty Dancing: Havarah Mornings

Last week marked the beginning of my 2013 Worth the Trust endeavor with an early morning of lessons with Molly Rosin-Kinnamon of Havarah Equestrian.

My Irish home bred Grace was first and our lesson focused on creating a trot that created a more uphill front end from impulsion and not hands. To accomplish this we spent time throughout the lesson using a series of three rails with the outside two angled away from the center rail to create a grid similar in shape to a slice of pizza. Like so . . . \ l /. For me this provided the opportunity to experience the feeling of an engaged hind end and in my attempts to maintain it following the grid, understand the plan necessary to create it.

Second to go was Hope who was arriving following a stellar jump school the week before and a not so stellar jump school the week of. My seemingly biggest obstacles with this mare are reacting to her attempts to make moves at a fence at which point my body seems to be seized with some form of fear and I go rigamortis. For this Molly suggested incorporating trot work over fences in order to encourage both she and I to wait. We also incorporated the pizza grid following fences in order to settle us and create some suppleness and obedience, while furthering my attempts to understand impulsion, in between fences.

As always I am fighting my habit of using my hand, but it seems as though several insightful clinic reports and comments have been addressing the same issue. We are not alone! I do feel as though my progress has been exponential in the previous months and I can only hope to maintain that impulsion (boom!). Cheers!

Worth the Trust - 3,000.00 - 120.00 (Two lessons at 60.00 apiece) = 2,880.00