glenatron: (Iris)
[personal profile] glenatron
This weekend has been another clinic with Jeff Sanders, which has been pretty amazing. The thing about Jeff is that he builds you up from the start towards work that is at least equivalent to high school, and talks about it like it is just bread and butter riding. And the thing is, that to him it really is. That is a pretty inspiring environment to be working in - admittedly most of what we were actually working on was shoulder in/out ( mostly on four-tracks, like Gueriniere intended ), travers, renvers and then working onto half-pass and rollbacks. Everything is working towards flexibility and collection and also towards subtle riding - Jeff characterised me at the last clinic as suffering from "hand tourettes" and I've been working on trying to do less with my hands, which is paying off gradually but I still need to do less.

Jeff is very big on working in the bosal and Iris never seemed to like that, shaking her head and losing focus when wearing it, so I have barely used it. Jeff was suggesting that it might be easier to move forward with that than the snaffle - he doesn't use a snaffle bit at all with most horses - and I was keen to try so we spent our session this afternoon trying to get her more used to it. Jeff looked at how she responded, retied my mecate so there was a bit more length on the knot end and it wasn't tickling her chin. With this done Iris was quite happy with it, which is pretty great and I don't know if it would ever have occurred to me that this was the problem. So maybe Iris will make it as a hackamore horse after all.

Just like last time, I feel very inspired and immensely proud of my horse who was exemplary throughout. Iris is teaching me so much and with the expert guidance of brilliant human teachers it feels like we could achieve anything*.

*Except a nice peaceful trail ride, which is apparently beyond the limits possibility.

Date: 21 Mar 2016 09:14 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Flexibility and collection and subtle riding - this sounds wonderful. And I'm so glad you and Iris were able to get the most out of it.

Don't lose hope on the peaceful trail riding - Iris is still young, and horses mellow a lot as they get older.

Date: 21 Mar 2016 23:23 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We get better- her weakness is my weakness showing through and I'm not going to quit working on it. One of these days we'll be as good on the trail as we are in the rest of the world.

Great clinic

Date: 21 Mar 2016 15:08 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It was good to see you and Iris doing so well Ben, she's looking great, so much softer and more balanced than the last time I saw you both. Working the way you are can only mean this will continue to improve and who knows where that will lead and as Jeff says never put a limit on where you want to be with your horse as anything could be possible. I like that, just worried I might run out of time though!

Date: 22 Mar 2016 15:13 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I took a peek at his website with his clinic schedule and wow, he is well-traveled! I imagine he isn't spending much time at home this year.

What wonderful opportunities keep coming your way to learn from all of these people!

It's funny how ticklish horses can be sometimes. How a light, brushing sensation can drive them nuts and then firmer, steady pressure can reassure. Hopefully this proves a good solution for Iris and she can go happily between the hackamore and her normal bridle.

Date: 22 Mar 2016 19:30 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He's just become a father so he's planning to cut down on travel, but he was already booked up for most of this year, I think his future plan is fewer, longer, clinics.

Jeff is of the opinion that the hackamore is a pretty good tool for working a horse from the start to high school and all points in between, particularly if you are interested in baroque riding or one-handed work, which I am. I've actually got a new hackamore on the way and there... well... there may be a saddle to follow too...
Edited Date: 22 Mar 2016 19:35 (UTC)

Date: 26 Mar 2016 03:21 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
New equipment to try can be exciting. Hopefully they work out well for you both.

I haven't done much work in the hackamore. Marty has a nice one for her big Quarter Horse mare, Sunny, but I've mostly worked her in the cross-under because I have been using her in lessons and am not comfortable with students using it (despite my best efforts many still have a tendency towards grabbing and dragging with the hands, feel is so hard to teach!).

Date: 26 Mar 2016 11:43 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Most people tend to fit them too loose too - on a correctly fitted hackamore it should have contact right around the top and sides of the horse's muzzle and only shift a tiny bit when you pick it up. There are a lot of hackamore specialists who seem to get that wrong.

It's pretty hard to learn to use it I think because it really depends on not using your hand unless you really have something that you can't do another way and then using it as little as you possibly can. That's the opposite of how most of us instinctively want to ride because it needs you to connect your balance to that of the horse and to trust them to a degree. Getting it right, though, opens the door to a lot of positive changes in one's riding, I think.
Edited Date: 26 Mar 2016 11:44 (UTC)

Date: 30 Mar 2016 03:58 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll have to keep the fit in mind. I'd like to pull it out again and learn how to use it better. I've enjoyed playing with the other bitless options and seeing how the horses respond more positively with it and how it has even improved their work with the bit.

Always learning!

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