I finished Day 2 of a 4-day clinic with David Lichman today. It's a L3/4 clinic and the most advanced clinic I've ever done. Z and I are doing our best of course, but I feel that we're struggling a bit in our relationship. She's not happy. Day 2 was better than day 1. She's had 3+ weeks off due to her leg injury and I don't know if that's the problem. She's telling me she doesn't want to do things. David thinks I'm fluctuating between being too soft in my ask and then being effective enough in my phase 4. She was much better under saddle than on the ground, but still - not very happy.
Her sweat pattern on her back looked off with a dry spot on the left by the withers and ruffled hairs. I believe my shimming needs a look and I'll do that before riding on day 3. Otherwise, I'm working on making things more interesting for her - and being more provocative myself. Her draw is amazing, her drive is snotty. David was actually quite perplexed by us.
Anyway, it's a big learning curve and we'll keep figuring it out. More, I'll keep figuring Z out.
What I've learned...
He had us doing question box patterns with counter canters in an effort to get easy flc's. Z and I didn't have a good enough canter depart to get it done. I knew something was wrong with her and at the end of the day, I really think I discovered saddle fit as the problem.
We watched videos in the basement in the morning and one of them had music by Jennifer Warnes that was lovely.
We talked about playing all 7 games with the head down and teaching a horse to be that relaxed always. Z could do a few things that way (circle was pretty good right away).
We develop our horses in this order: Mind, Weight, Flexion, Feet. First get the MIND!
Sandy had the Craig Cameron headstall and I loved it. I want one.
We talked about haunches in at the trot being very similar to a canter depart request. Make sure you are clear with your horse between the two asks.
We worked on developing the spin. Dave taught us how to do it with a line by looping it once over the horse's neck. Tip: Don't hurry into the spin, don't hurry during the spin, hurry OUT of the spin. I got in Z's way at the end of the spin - we've only ever done that at liberty.
Test ourselves by riding with no reins and getting head low, going slow, transitions, move the hind and fore, 8 bends, figure 8 and canter circles.
The horse should do nearly all of it's work with the poll at or below the withers.
Dave showed a video of Katja doing a circus act with 7 horses at liberty called "Arabian Nights". She had the horses all rearing, doing spins, going in opposite directions of each other. It was simply beautiful.
My homework was to practice cantering in the open pasture and build canter departs. I felt that I had a different problem to fix so I didn't do my homework.