Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dennis Clinic, Saturday August 23rd

I hosted Dennis Paschal for a 1-day clinic. He's been a great new mentor for me the past few months and I want to share new knowledge with my people every chance I get. I think I'm a share-aholic. I digress...

So, we started out on the ground (duh!). We took turns trying different games on the ground in the playground area. Everyone got a turn on the hot seat with the others watching. Dennis had the watchers helping the lucky bastard in the middle by giving hints or saying where the human could better help the horse. I've done a similar format with the mini-clinics I've given. He had an audience of varying skills so I think it helped keep things interesting. He had us sit in a chair and play circle game with our horses. If that wasn't too challenging, he had us doing change of direction. At one of my turns, he took Gemini from me and kept him for a while. That's not my favorite thing at all. I want to work with my own horse. It doesn't help me if the instructor takes my horse. He kept him for quite a while, too. Grrr...

We started to gear up for riding around 11:30am. Since I'd chosen Gemini, I had to go through our bucking routine. I put the saddle on, cinch it up with the rear cinch a little tight, then send him on the circle. Invariably thus far, Gemini will offer some good bucks. When he does, I immediately let him rest when he's done bucking. It's an interesting game and Gemini hasn't tired of it yet. After 10 mins or so, he's ready to be ridden! Seems crazy, but... well, it's a little crazy. That horse has somehow wiggled his way into my heart and I'm determined to get to a great place with him over time. By "time", I mean probably 3 more years. HA!

Dennis left Nancy out a few times and I don't know why. Maybe it was because he didn't know her (or Amy). At least twice, we had to remind him that Nancy was still waiting for her turn when he was moving on to something else. I think that made her feel bad and rightfully so.

So, the riding was ok. We worked on Dennis' way of backing the horse, doing things around each other, circling the arena and eventually canter departs. I blew it with the canter departs. Gemini had been great the whole day but with the canter departs, something we've never done together, I asked with too much force and he went to buckin'. A couple humps later and I was on the ground. Darn it all! I got back on and got a little extra attention from Dennis. He had us do some canter transitions and lead changes. I know I just asked Gemini too hard and I learned a great lesson. I really got up asking myself what I could have done better. I patted myself on the back for that.

Pat and Marcy audited most of the day and afterwards, several of us drank wine in my barn. That was the highlight of the day, for sure! We gabbed about the clinic and about my experiences at the ISC. Girls talking about horses - the perfect way to end it.

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