Sunday, August 16, 2009

Riding with Dave Ellis

This is my first time riding in a clinic with Dave Ellis. I've heard for years how great he is and how much he helps people. I finished Day 3 of his clinic today with one more day to go. I'm having a blast and I hate to think that there's only 1 day left. I'd like to ride with him for many more days. I'm making big changes in my attitude, my feel, my relationship with my horse, my skills... the whole picture is changing.

Here's some important points from the clinic:
1. When turning the fore, if the inside hind moves it shows the horse is submissing. If the outside hind moves it shows that the horse has not let loose.

2. New technique: if a horse isn't going back, bet really big with your stick. Whip it around high in the air and slam it into the ground. Also, take the string across zone 1 forcefully.

3. Attitude: Don't move your horse away from you. Instead convince your horse that there's a better place to be. Help the horse understand that you won't make your horse move, but cause him the move by helping him understand that there's a better place to be.

4. Technique: Hold the rope in the lead hand with the thumb down and the palm facing the direction of travel for the circle game. The turn the palm up to allow the horse to circle.

5. Swing the fore to and fro in the circle game - new circle game transition. Use body language!!


Day 4 -

A fantastic day for Z and me. We had our private with Dave which was quite challenging. We worked on circles at the trot and making a serpentine through the middle. Then we worked at the canter and that was super hard! I was losing my balance and losing my stirrups a lot! I rode english and it was good for me to realize that I need to ride english more often and develop my skills in the english saddle. After privates, we did formation riding which was a blast!! My horse seemed to really love it. Was it because I had a purpose for us? Or was it because she loved the patterns? The morning was focused on haunches in and developing suppleness in our horses with leg yields and disengaging the hind. We learned to ask our horses to move the hind with the head tipped left, right and straight. We also learned to look in the direction that the hind was moving instead of looking at the end and pushing the hind away from our focus. That was brand new for me. That's a leg yield where a disengagement is when you look toward the hind to move it away.

I learned a ton in 4 days and I would definitely ride with Dave again. I'm considering going to his ranch and learning with him over the winter. We'll see if I can pull that together.

My horsemanship really grew this weekend. My relationship with Z is better than ever, also. She loaded into the trailer with so much respect and obedience - I was shocked. She wasn't afraid or worried.

Now back to work... Yuck.

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