You’ll have to pardon me for not taking notes after the clinic this time, like I did at the previous clinic I attended. We had a killer condo to come home to each night (photos of that coming soon), and frankly, I was really tired after each day.
Day two began with me getting on Dino about 45 minutes before class started. I do my very best to take Buck’s advice, and if I’m given homework, you can bet I’ll do it! We didn’t really have any homework, per say, but he did suggest to us that we do plenty of flexion work before class began so that’s what I did. I did move him out a bit too- and that came a LOT easier than it had the day before.
Day two really wasn’t a lot different than day one, in so much as what we did. Though we did do more sets- and some serpentines. Anyone that has ever been to a Buck Clinic knows that serpentines are one of the favorite things he has us to do. I usually just half-hitch my reins over my saddle horn and use my feet first- which is actually the point of the drill. I know myself well enough to know that if I put the reins over the saddle horn I will force myself to use my feet first- not just go into auto pilot using my hands first. The goal with serpentines is to get the horse operating off the energy and movement and feel in your legs as you change legs with each turn. I’m not necessarily kicking him to move over- I’m directing the energy in his body with the energy in mine. In case you’re lost now:
If going to the right, my left leg will be slightly forward, my right leg slightly back. The reason for this would be that you need to open the shoulders on the right, and drive the hip to the left in order for your horse to hold the pretty, round, “c” shape we desire to have. It would simply be reversed for the left- left leg back, right leg forward. Riding like this, and getting in the habit of doing it every day, even in when riding on the trail really helps your horse. I do try to practice these on my horses, but like Buck says- if they haven’t got it, then you haven’t done it enough yet. We started to make some progress by the end of our time spent on this- enough that even Buck noticed. Hold that…Buck notices everything. Even if you think he doesn’t.
Dino’s backing had significantly gotten better by the end of the day and throughout the weekend we became more proficient. The sets started to flow on the second day. I often have people tell me they have problems with their horses backing and I feel it is a result of the horse being too sticky through their hindquarters. We’ll cover all of that on Day 3! One thing to remember about doing sets is not to be the first one done if you’re on a colt, green horse, or youngster- it is to get a couple good steps, let that soak (rub your horse), get a couple more good steps (rub your horse), let them soak, and then go from there. If you get two good steps and your third might be sticky, well then by asking for a third step you will ruin any good “flow” and “feel” you had going in the first two. You always want to quit while you’re ahead. Horses search for the release. Pressure is simply the motivator which we use to get our horses to search for the release. But if your timing is bad and you don’t release when you should, your horse will become sticky.
Buck said this weekend, that there isn’t a horse on the planet trained well enough that he won’t come untrained to some degree if whoever is on his back doesn’t educate themselves enough to ride and continually search to become better.
We did a lot more work, trying to get our horses to really walk out and Dino was infinitely better than he’d been the day before.
Photo from day three of Dino really striding out (me thinks he’s trotting here):
Today we also worked quite a bit on asking our horses to pick up a soft feel at the walk- by elevating first, then rolling in at the poll, carrying it down to the stop. Same thing from the walk, to the trot, to the stop, or the walk to the trot to the walk. And again, anytime my colt didn’t move out like I’d quietly asked him to, I really got after him to lope across the arena. Please note- on a really green colt, you won’t try to hold that soft feel to the faster gait at first- you’ll get a soft feel at the walk for a step or two, give it back, then ask for the trot, get a soft feel for a step or two, release ask again and then see if you can carry that soft feel down to the walk or the stop. Dino was far enough along with the soft feel that I could carry it from the walk, up to the trot and down again, though I wouldn’t ask him to hold it for more than a couple strides each time. Buck said our trotting looked really good- good elevation and we were rolled in at the poll correctly! Go us!
Watching the folks in the Foundation Horsemanship Class on Friday Morning:
We had a lot of trouble getting a right lead- in fact we didn’t get one at all today- so Buck had us rolling our hips to the right anytime that we got to the other side of the arena on the wrong lead. He wasn’t worried about us being on the correct lead just yet, but he wanted me to be aware of what lead we were on when at the trot (yes, you can be on a certain lead at the trot- and walk too, for that matter- more to come). He told me that if I would be consistent in rolling my horse’s hips to the right when we came across in the wrong lead, that before we knew it I’d get it and say” well, I’ll be go to hell- I just got the right lead.”
He really cracks me up. He is so witty and extremely entertaining. Yet hard on you at the same time.
One last thing we worked on before we ended the day, was turn-arounds. The kind of turn arounds you’d need if you were sorting cattle at a gate, or cutting a cow from a herd, moving or simply working an invisible cow.
I know I covered this in the previous clinic work up, but I will cover it here again- but this time it’s going to get a post all to itself!
Previous Clinic Recaps: