The week after the Region 1 Championships we had a clinic with Jim Koford. He comes to a farm about 1 hr away, so we load up and drive over.
The first day I rode Xavoy, and Xafaire and April rode Payana. Xavoy and I are currently showing at 4th 3 and not doing as well as I had hoped. We need a 60%+ to qualify us to do a 4th level freestyle, and we got a 59.2%, at the show. We can’t do the November show cos we will be at Equine Affaire, so that’s our last blast for the year.
But Jim (who has just returned to us from a stint in Germany) has plans for us to move up to PSG anyway next year. So we have been diligently working on PSG stuff! Like pirouettes on the diagonal and the canter zigzag from the side to X and back to the side. We also need to do 5 x 4 tempis and 5 x 3 tempis. It’s hard enough for me to count when I just have 3 of them to do.
X is getting so much stronger and more assured at all this stuff. but he still gets a bit too much on the forehand and then when I ask for the changes he falls forward and takes over!
So Jim had us working to get him up in front and off his forehand, boy does he gfeel powerful when we do that. We got a really nice line of 4′s and 3′s, then Jim says Okay now do the 2′s. I must have looked horrified (or worried) cos he adds, you gonna have to get used to them ready for I1 anyway, it’s not so hard, change, ask, change, ask, change, ask…… and so I did, and X did them, 5 of them! What a boy. When I get him off the forehand and stay in the saddle so he stays off the forehand then the changes are easy, well, not so difficult anyway.
Getting him off the forehand helps with the pirouettes as well, he can really sit and turn when he is carrying the weight on his hind end!
The second lesson was shared between Payana (P Pony) and X2 (Xafaire), Jim is so popular that we only get 2 slots to ride in, but Jim lets us share one slot. Xafaire is still convinced that the corners of Pati’s arena contain dragons so we had some what of a discussion about that, but once he was assured that no one had him on the menu, he settled down and did some nice work, he needs to learn to stay soft and round and lengthen and shorten stride, it does not take much to distract him so we work on him staying with me and listening to what I say, not worrying about the state of the Universe!
P Pony and April are working on 2nd level stuff, shoulder in, haunches in and lengthening stride, plus walk canter and canter walk. The plan is for them to come out in 2nd level next year.
The second day we took Xavoy, Payana and Halifax. Another problem with only having a 3 horse trailer and 4 (or more) horses is that we have to decide who gets to go and who does not. It was Halifax’s first time to an away clinic, he handled it all with his usual aplomb. Of course being a young stallion we are hyper careful but he really is a good boy. He and Xavoy shared a lesson with X and I working on such stuff as our canter zigzags, this time we did the one from I1, going from center line to 1/4 line, change and to the other 1/4 line change and then back to the CL. I had to learn to straighten the halfpass as we approach the 1/4 line, then change and immediately into the new half pass! Let me tell that takes some co-ordination. but X got it pretty quickly.
Halifax did lots of trotting and cantering on a 20 m circle and learned to bend and move off the leg, both forwards and sideways. He’s only 3 yrs old but already he focuses on his rider better than some older horses! He is so balanced and athletic he has no problem turning and doing transitions. The plan is for him to do Training level next year, just how we are going to haul all these horses to the shows I don’t know!
Payana and April had their lesson still working on the lateral work as well as the lengthening stuff. Halifax got to stand on the trailer and behave while P was doing her lesson. He dealt with it all really well and was mostly a very good boy.
So in this week X and I have been doing our homework mostly working on staying up in front and keeping the right bend, but also on transitions within the gaits. I got another line of 2′s with April counting and we have been doing our canter zigzags as well. Look out for us coming out at PSG/I1 next season. It is so exciting to be finally riding at this level after all these years, thanks to X and my teachers, Jim, Matt and Ronnie!
Well off to Equine Affaire, I hope to see plenty of people there.