2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Eric Smiley Clinic

Our barn flies Eric Smiley in for a clinic twice a year and the past two days have been spent listening to his amazing accent. Since Bentley has just over 20 rides on him and the first jump group was a BN group we unfortunately had to stick with the flat only option. Bentley came out pretty hot on the first day but after a little trot warm up settled in and had a great ride. Eric's main two points were that we need to ride the pace and the line. He wanted the horses taking us, not us constantly pushing our horses, and to maintain a steady consistent pace. To do this we did some synchronized riding with the other two riders and it was actually pretty fun! He had us single file about two horse length apart and would call out something such as "prepare 20m circle towards the left.... ride now". If we maintained our pace and line then we should all be able to complete that and land back on the wall at the same time in the same spacing we have before. By the end of this exercise, as it went on he called out slightly harder things, Bentley was actually very consistent and attentive. We finished with some canter work with the same focus. Forward and consistent. Once we finished and came back to the middle he looked at me and said "He's going to be a gem" and gave me his signature thumbs up 👍🏼 

Day 2 came and it was much more hectic. I had to go straight from my other job to the barna nd pretty much get right on. Someone else even had to tack up for me. So I got on a hot and tense horse that ideally needed more warm up before starting. We went right back into our 20 m circle with the other two horses and he wasn't a fan of them coming up close behind him or them being in front as he just wanted to blow through me and go for a little run. That resulted in him being a little bit of a fruit loop. He isn't bothered by that stuff normally but I have found he comes to work much better if he is given a solid 10-15 min walk when I first get on especially if he is feeling fresh. That wasn't a luxury he had that day. Although we had some good work in was mixed in with quite a bit more not great work and he was much less consistent. Looking back on it I think we would have benefited more from a private lesson on the second day. The three horses in the flat group were all at very different points in their training and when it's a group lesson you can't cater to just one person. The exercises we were doing were great but I just didn't have his mind engaged enough to feel like we were at a point where he was ready to handle them at that time. If I had 10 min on my own to get him into a better place I think it would have gone much better but that's the price you pay for group flat lessons! I got a tiny bit of video from day 2 (of course it's from our not so great work!) I'm working on uploading.

Between the tips/exercises from both JW and ES I am excited to put them to use. He is feeling more and more broke everyday! Next up? Our first jump lesson with a clinician coming to our barn next weekend! One of my goals this year is to ride in more clinics both with new  people and with people I already enjoy. We are off to a great start!

1 comment:

  1. Although it's a bummer that Bentley wasn't a little better on the second day he sure seems to be coming along really well. Good job for getting out there and doing it! I think you've got a good one too. :)