Monday, April 11, 2011

Sleepy Katchi Gets Big Boy Spurs

Lucinda Green Clinic at Win Green (Rhoadesville, VA) - Day 1

I guess this is Katchi and my 4th clinic with Lucinda Green, and she is just as fantastic as the first time! If you've never had a chance to ride with her or audit - DO IT! It's hard to describe just how amazingly effective she is - she's enthusiastic, encouraging, and demanding. She's insightful and always looking for something new to learn. Lucinda described for us today her objective of teaching "the 3 F's" - Focus, Footwork, and Fun. By the looks of the horses and riders at the end of each group, she accomplished all 3. One analogy I really liked was to approach teaching horses as if you're teaching a child to read - keep the letters big and the words small. Focus the horse on every letter of every line. If you do that properly, one day they'll be come speed readers which is absolutely critical for advanced level eventing when they must read, sort out, and answer questions within seconds (or less!).

Lucinda's exercises of plastic tarps, skinnies, arrowheads, barrels, and oxers... all set at horrendously wrong distances are amazing at allowing horses and riders to develop just the right balance between communication and "fifth leg." The horses must listen and react to the rider's instructions about pace and line, while at the same time learning how to get themselves out of trouble and do some seriously fancy footwork. Pretty cool!

Kerry and Atticus rode in the second group of the day - I think Kerry expected the clinic would be great - she totally underestimated it! Atticus started off his ride with a bit of a crisis over the black tarp. He was the second of 4 chestnuts at the clinic - and the second of 4 chestnuts to absolutely freak out over the black tarp! Now isn't that interesting?! To their credit - Atticus was not the worst of the chestnuts and Kerry didn't fall off!! So, it could have been worse, although I'm sure Kerry was pretty darn sick of that stupid tarp after she had to walk (well, leap) over it for the 150th time!!

Kerry really rose to the occasion today and came leaps and bounds forward with her cross country riding ability. It will be so fun to see what Lucinda does for them tomorrow when we actually get to jump cross country fences!

As for Mr. Katchi - sleepy was the word of the day. Actually, he wasn't sleepy - he was too chill about it all. He was the same horse I have at Jimmy's gymnastics clinics now. No matter what the line is - he's sorted out the game and he can't be bothered to get excited about any of it. Well, Lucinda fixed that! About 2 years ago, I finally got up the nerve to start riding Katchi with these fat little round rolly spurs (AFTER Phillip Dutton tried Katchi out in them first!). Well, today, Katchi got his first pair of BIG BOY spurs! Holy cats you should have seen these things! Just plain blunt spurs, but apparently they are right at the maximum length of 3.5 inches. Lucinda said she buys them in Hong Kong as you can't find spurs over 3 inches in America or England! Wow did I love the horse I had with those big boy spurs! When I closed my heel at the base of the jump - Katchi pinged just perfectly! NO STICKING TO THE GROUND! It was really fantastic to get that feel from Katchi - he jumped across those oxers like you wouldn't believe! Way cool!

Tomorrow is XC jumping day. Katchi hasn't been on a XC course since last November at the Area II training championships, so we definitely will have some rust to polish off. Really looking forward to getting back in the groove and hitting those big boy jumps with our big boy spurs!

Will have to post videos later in the week...

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