Sunday, March 21, 2010

By popular demand: My clinic review!

I had a great time at Partridge Hill teaching the Cedar Hills Pony Club clinic. Rebecca's barn is gorgeous, great setting and a wonderful ARENA! The kids were very willing to learn, listen, discuss, ask questions and try new things. The parents were so welcoming and supportive, and the ponies were AMAZING.

This is not me, and it was not yesterday, but you can see a piece of Rebecca's lovely arena!

I was so tickled to get home last night and have the familiar gritty coating of sand stuck to dried sweat. I. Was. Exhausted. I fell into bed at 10:30 last night and didn't move until 8:00 this morning!

 Me with my best "teacher-face" on!

My first student was a D-1 getting ready to uprank to D-2. She was on a cutie-patootie chestnut pony mare named Ginger. Ginger was a lovely, honest large pony that I would love to have in my barn for one of my riders. Kay, her rider, was a pistol, needed to get some confidence but really worked hard to do everything I asked. She needed to be comfortable jumping 18" for her upranking and we ended doing a little course at about 2', so she should be more than ready!

My next group was two adorable kids on, again, two adorable ponies- Moon Pie and Sweet Potato. Moon Pie was an... aged... foxhunting mount who knew her job and knew it well! Her darling rider was gutsy and all about going fast and jumping high! Sweet Potato (Puh-tay-tuh) is a tricky little pony who had given her rider a hard time recently, so we really worked on confidence.
Moon Pie, Hanna, Me, Grace and Sweet Potato
 These ponies were turnout buddies, so their girls had a hard time spacing themselves around the arena and keeping that spacing. We did a little drill time exercise in which MP (a very forward pony) and SP (a very. pokey. pony.) started at B and E and had to stay at the exact opposite ends of the arena all the way around. That worked gloriously and I was able to see both girls work their horses in control and balance for several laps! Then, onto jumping. MP's rider was game and so was MP- no problems there besides remembering to grab mane and keep heels down and a little bit of half-halt in the lines. Easy! SP's rider had a hard time making SP go OVER the jump- but had a LOVELY ride down the two outside lines by POSTING over the cross rails to make sure SP didn't have a chance to duck out. She found a nice balance between "too slow" and "too fast" to get SP's mind engaged and not ticking too hard.

 Moon Pie

 Sweet Potato

My next lesson was definitely one of my favorites, it featured two older girls on two very, very nice thoroughbreds- one of them being Lyra!
 Olivia and Lyra, stolen from her Facebook, since there appears to be no pics of her from the clinic!

 Hannah and Baxter

Lyra is still new to Olivia and they haven't had much time to work together this winter, and Baxter was a Christmas present to Hannah, so they were both a bit out of shape but we got some very nice flat work AND jumping out of both of them. I really enjoyed how much these girls were willing to TRY and put their best effort into something. These girls could have big things in their future with these horses, if they choose to go that way!

We had a nice lunch at that point and I got to chat with several of the kids, their parents and the folks in charge of Cedar Hills PC. 

My afternoon lessons were a lot of fun as well- my first lesson was a t-tiny little girl on Tony the Pony! A wonderful, steady, perfect first pony. She learned to be very effective with her legs and her crop because her pony didn't have a very consistant "go" button, but golly was he wonderful- every little girl needs a pony like him. I saw a great rider with a great foundation! Its nice to know there are still teachers out there setting a nice foundation for their riders. Her parents have asked me to help her out at the Learn to Event since their regular trainer has a time conflict. I look forward to that!

The next one was a VERY cool horse with a rider who has a lot of potential and the will to learn. I saw a lot of myself in her- riding a trail horse that she trained to jump herself. This horse was COOL. I would event him in a heart beat. He has some learning to do, as does she, but they're well on their way- I think she can be a trainer in the future if she stays on this track. He was very "up" and wanted to be very fast and go around inverted. His rider did a great job riding him out and getting him in a quiet, relaxed trot and we jumped from that. She had a lot of work to do to get him "back" after every fence, but we were able to slow him down and do a little course while we still had his brain in focus. Really, another fun lesson!
Another really neat pair! Amanda and Eli

The next group was my first gal, Kay, again and Patrick, a hot-rod little boy- maybe six? Kay was riding her adorable pony, Ginger, again we had another great lesson, ending up jumping a 2' course. Patrick was a hoot and will be one of those riders you always wish you could be- grew up bombing around on the GreatestPonyEver and just enough fear to make you smart, but not enough to say no to anything. 
 Kay, Ginger, TeacherLauren, Patrick and Bunny
His pony, the GreatestPonyEver, also has a great name. He named her Bunny because he got her around Easter, but his mom elaborated on the story- She is a 28 year old POA (app) pony. She absolutely does her job because she loves it, with just a little 28 year old pony mare sass thrown in. She was probably never a beauty queen judging by her markings, but was probably a classy little gal- she definitely shows her age now. So, when they got the pony, they thought of The Velveteen Rabbit, as mom described "Maybe a little rough around the edges, but very well loved."
The Velveteen Rabbit
After a heart-melting "awwwwwww" I thought about how lucky that ol' gal was. What a wonderful home for a 28 year old mare who has probably packed kids around her whole life... and she knew how special she was too- she demanded attention any time she wasn't working and I was more than happy to love her up a little bit.

Well-worn and well-loved

Good ponies
 Pony Royalty

My last group was another more advanced group of D-3's. They were both on out-of-shape horses so we didn't get to do as much with them. One girl was riding an arab/TWH that I adored and the other a QH-trail-horse-turned-jumper who was also really lovely. His rider had done all the work with him herself and had the lightest seat and hands you've ever seen in a youngster. The girl on the arab/TWH had lots of natural timing and feel and I wish I could see her on her regular horse- this one had been out of work for two years while she focused on another. We did some mini-gymnastics with this group to encourage a steady rhythm and good timing.

Overall a GREAT day. I think we all learned something- kids, parents, teachers and myself included!

I also learned a whole new appreciation for my landscape timber poles that we use at SPF- Rebecca has full sized- heavy poles and my back was killing me by the end of the day!!


  1. The whole group looks fun and cute and what great weather you had! Bunny is one LUCKY old girl, but it looks like she earned her luck.

  2. You might want to warn the parents ... I will be taking quite a few of those cute children for forced adoption. Patrick, Hanna, Grace ... unnamed TinyPonyRider .... Too Cute !

  3. I love the pony names! Especially the first three-- all named after foods.

  4. @ Lauren--

    Seriously, these are some of our favorite treats. They're way simple, but take some time. I definitely recommend them!

  5. awesome I put-off buying this for months,