At first I didn't think I was going to be able to pull much out for my own riding and where Opie is currently with his training. There were quite a few upper and upper of the lower level pairs, and even the Training/First horses were super nice.
|for instance, when courtney asked this rider what her horse had done so far|
she said, "nothing, he's basically just sat around." um, i would like one of these plz.
I missed most of the first rider's session getting people checked in, but all the way up through the PSG pair Courtney proved to be a stickler for the basics. Between her own coaching through each lesson and the questions asked throughout the day I actually took away quite a bit of information.
These are written in order as they came up so they're a bit scattered in cohesion, but I'm too lazy to make them flow prettily.
- What is the most important trait she looks for in a dressage horse? The desire to be good and want to do his job.
- "Don't be in a hurry. Do it perfectly."
- In transitions, push sideways to get the horse moving off the inside leg.
- After the horse did a good job: "Tell him you love him!"
|i know a lot of bloggers will recognize the wonderful ringo! the rider courtney|
brought along jumped on a couple horses to get them going, and she was as quick
to praise as courtney was to give encouragement.
- For a nervous horse: A constant contact with mouth so they know you're there. "Just be part of her."
- For the nervous horse that wanted to go behind the bit: Let her go wherever she's comfortable until she's confident, and then you can push forward. Once comfortable it's just inside leg to outside rein connection.
|this mare was pretty green and unsure of herself with an adult ammy rider. |
the asst. ended up getting on for the whole session.
|and gave her a lot of confidence in herself by the end!|
- Always do things twice. Once to school the movement. If it schools well do it a second time to make sure they understood.
- It's all about priority, and first priority is always a horse in front of the leg.
- We spend so much time in training telling the horse, "No, don't do that that." that we have to also spend a lot of time telling the horse good job. If we always tell them they did it wrong they'll stop trying so hard.
|courtney wanted to see a bigger difference in the lengthening of this mare's trot|
|so the asst. rider got on to show it could be done|
|and then her rider got it afterwards, too.|
- A couple of the horses that were dead to the leg got some big kicks from the assistant rider. One of the auditors asked about how she decided when a horse needed leg, whip, spur, or a kick. Courtney's philosophy is Whisper or Shout. If you whisper and get no response all hell breaks loose. Don't ask big and then keep trying to ask big with a nagging leg. Get them going until you have to bring them back. She doesn't care what the response is--bucking or kicking--as long as it's forward. The horse should never be asking, "Is that enough?" You should be saying, "Okay, thank you. That's enough." and then bring them back. If he doesn't respond to the whisper you should shout so he learns, "Oh crap, I should have listened to the whisper." Forget about the contact/where the head is, the priority is to get the horse to go.
|another ringo picture because he was as gorgeous and well trained as we all|
fantasized about him being
- From a big trot to a small trot: The hand is a back up. It stops following, but it doesn't pull back. Adjust from the seat.
- On moving up the levels: The higher movements require higher collection, but a lot of people train on the daily in a lower level frame--for example, showing Third and schooling in a First frame. Don't do that.
- On the double bridle: She introduces it at 5 and just goes out and hacks for six months. (This is assuming she gets them at 3 so by 6 they're doing 3rd level.) So at 2nd level she starts hacking in it, and then moves on to stretching in it, but no working in it until they're 3rd level. If they're not comfortable in the double then there's no reason to ever ride in it unless you're doing CDIs. Some are easier in the double than the snaffle, and then it makes sense to use it.
|the double bridle question came up when courtney made this PSG pony switch|
to a snaffle. the rider is a well known trainer in the area and she seemed like the
hardest one to teach.
I had to leave after that to fit in all my driving, but by the end I was wanting to get on and get my horse sharp off my leg LOL.
Courtney was a super positive teacher, and you could tell she had a well of information to tap into. I'd definitely recommend going to at least audit one of her clinics if she's ever near you. Her emphasis on basics no matter what level the horse and rider were made it easy to relate to my own riding--or a few times she said things that made me think of other bloggers!