I’m going to be brutally honest. Much of Day 2 is a blur.
And I’ll tell you why.
It was a struggle for me to get through this day.
nervous, or rather unsettled, for some reason, and that didn’t help Dino. NOT ONE BIT. He whinnied around and fussed and kicked up when I asked him to move out.
What I do remember most from this day is the, as I’ll call it, “foot drill”.
Today really wasn’t a whole lot different than Friday. And as I’ve said before in my writing, the level of the riders in the class really dictate how much gets covered.
Now, I’m usually too focused on my own horse to notice what others struggle with, but I think it’s probably safe to assume, based on hearing Buck’s coaching, that people were struggling with 1. a soft feel and 2. foot cadence.
We did the standard morning warm ups- some flexions, some serpentines, some one rein stops, walking/trotting while picking up a soft feel and giving it back. Though I know there were some that struggled with the soft feel. And there was certainly something he saw in the group that led to the drill that did me in on Saturday.
I say that it did me in- it was just challenging for me because itt’s just not something that I really practice, and my timing on it is sketchy at best. Poor Dino- it’s a good thing he’s patient and has been taught to search for the “release” and the “answer”. And it’s a good thing I reward his every try, or the poor guy would really be confused by what happened next.
Buck, took his pretty gray filly, Gidget, and picked her front feet up and set them out, while going forward. Of course he could do it every step. He told us to just try to get every third or fourth step. And then added that he doesn’t have every clinic do this drill.
The point of the drill is to get good at foot cadence. And of course that led to the conversation he has with us in every clinic about how Ray (Hunt) used to make them call cadence for hours, and at the time he never understood why. Though he’s grateful for it now. I can call cadence, but have me get in time with a foot to set it up and out, and I’m late 80% of the time to the right, and I nail it 95% of the time to the left.
If you’re lost at this point, I’m going to explain.
In the “foot drill” if you’ll indulge me in calling it that, you want two things to happen: 1. You are attaching the direct rein to the front foot and 2. you are wanting that foot to become light- so light in fact that as your horse picks it up, you could actually set it back, forward or out to the side.
That said, it’s a super cool to feel your horse pick his foot up, and literally hold it until you tell him where to set it (by releasing the rein). I’ve practiced this some at home with Zach, but not to the extent that I should be practicing, as was evidenced with my clinic struggles.
Here’s how Buck had us attempt this drill:
We started from the serpentine and would then go straight for a few steps, and try to set the foot out to either the right or the left. And we might have to make a circle to make it easier on our horses to “help” them understand. If our circles got to short, or we lost too much forward motion, he’d tell us to ride back to our serpentines again. Once in while I’d get a foot to feel light as a feather, and it would just feel weightless and I could put it anywhere. It was great! And then I would struggle again. I’m just fortunate that I can come home and practice with someone who has better timing with this drill than me!
Again, there was “flat” work on the rail, half circles to change directions, some backing up, and for me, some loping out, to keep Dino moving.
To make the day more fun that it already was, I got to meet a girl who’s been my twitter friend for a while. She took a couple fun pictures of Dino and myself from the day, which was good because I had forgotten my camera that morning. For shame, right?
I was so tired at the end of the day that I went to bed at 9:30. That rarely happens, but I was exhausted.
More to come, I promise!
Happy Trails! Enjoy your weekends!
More about my time riding with Buck is below.
Day One from Iowa:
First Clinic in Belton, TX:
Second Clinic in Steamboat Springs, CO: