We took Xavoy and Cita to the VADA-CH Chapter Grant clinic with Jeanne MacDonald. And we had an excellent clinic.
They say that if you get to take one good useful piece of information away from a clinic then you had your moneys worth, well by that token we got way more than our moneys worth.
The clinic was held at Ashanti Farm, and it was very graciously hosted by Gaby and Manfred Netteck, and Bruno and Barbara Greber. Ably administrated (organized) by our long suffering President Gardy Bloemers.
Jeanne was as always full of helpful info and with her judges eye can really help you improve your performance.
X and I worked on quality of gaits (mostly roundness, always a sore point with X), and we also worked on our half-passes.
Jeanne was able to show me how I am causing X to be tight in his left side because I don’t allow enough with my left hand and I lock my left should back. I also am still leaning too far forward.
She really helped us sort out those right walk pirouettes, and also our straightness to the right, all by getting me to allow more with that left hand.
We also worked on the extended walk, and she got X doing his full foot length over step that he needs to do. We finished with some work on the flying changes, which do need to get more jump, or maybe ts the canter that needs more jump so that we get clean changes.
Cita and April worked on getting Cita to use her hind end better and to engage more, as Jeanne puts it, “Sit more, stop less” in the down transitions.
Jeanne helped April sort out her timing better for the changes, and Cita obliged by actually doing several clean ones.
They also worked on the roundness, bend and engagement in the lateral work.
X was in a far better frame of mind on day 2. He had less opinion to express about the work and seemed far more accepting of what was being asked. He did some nice work towards collection in the canter along with straightness exercises.
Jeanne showed us a way to practice the piaffe, working to progressively shorten the trot steps and then to allow them to be long again and X really seemed to like this way. He got light and round and through the back, and I actually felt him ‘sit’ for a few of the half-steps that we were doing. I think a lot of was the amount of sugar cubes he got to eat during the practices, Jeanne is definitely a believer in the bribery method. X was all for the sugar method!
Then since he was so soft and though we tried some 1 tempi’s, doing the flip-flops or in and outs, as in change, change with no strides in between. As always his left rein was easier, he has less trouble going left,right, left than he has going right, left, right!.
But with help from Jeanne on the timing and on my position, we got it going both ways and that was all for that day.
So out of that clinic I got help with straightness, walk pirouettes, tempi changes and paiffe, I’d say that that was good value for money!
Cita on the second day was also softer, and more through. She does not have Xs problem of getting tight over the back, but she can get anxious and then she tightens up a bit. They worked on the engagement again, and on the balance in the lateral work. I missed a good bit of Cita’s lesson washing X off. But in all both horse and rider seemed very happy.
Jeanne is a excellent clinician, she throws a lot of ‘stuff’ (theory, instructions thoughts etc) at you and it can be hard to assimilate it all at the time, but her exercises work and we came away feeling very confident that we had achieved something.
Cita was always the star, being so beautiful and so compliant, she got lots and lots of compliments. X has his admireers but it’s always Cita who everyone dotes on!
A fun and valuable experience, again many thanks to Gaby, Manfred, Gardy, Bruno, Barbera and Jeanne.