Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Conrad Schumacher clinic notes, April 2012

Here are some notes I took from last weekend's Conrad Schumacher clinic in Longbranch, WA:

We do not work dressage, we play dressage.
Don't pull the arm back--turn the wrists back and give.
Swing with the hips to the hands to the ears.
Collection means power, power on the place
Exercise for refining canter collection: canter-walk-canter transitions on 20 meter circle.  Start with 5 strides walk and 10 strides canter, then 4 strides walk and 8 strides canter, then 3 strides walk and 6 strides canter, then 2 walk and 4 canter
A good dressage rider must have "feel" memory or "body awareness" memory
"Take him back and give" or "Turn the wrists back and give"
Ride serpentines with an "s" curve rather than straight across the centerline, helps to get a hold of the horse by working him from inside to outside
Outside hand must give in the turn if the inside rein takes, outside hand must allow
The horse must be open in the body
Outside leg must be back and on--this is particularly important for getting the horse round
In canter pirouettes, inside leg doesn't do much, just stays down, outside leg rides like in half pass.  Inside rein leads along the path of travel, outside rein is soft. Give the inside rein to get out of the pirouette
When you allow, the horses can move. When you "try to ride", you block the horse.  "Stop riding and start allowing"
We control the young horses with transitions not with the reins
Everything to form the horse comes from: 1) transitions 2) turn on the forehand (basis for lateral work) 3) reinback (basis for collection)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Overview of CDI Rancho Murieta

I'm back home, after a relatively easy drive from the Sacramento area on Easter Sunday. The weather agreed with us, it was probably 60+ degrees the entire way (including over Donner Pass, at 7200+ elevation!). I was relieved to be home, particularly since the weather was actually quite nice when we got home (7o degrees or so).
Overall, the show at Rancho Murieta went quite well. Majek was absolutely consistent, 63-64 percent each time out. He was probably the most solid of the 3 horses over the two weeks, coming out consistently every time. Monkey was a little disappointing in Murieta; although he scored the highest of the three he wasn't really on his game like he was in San Juan. At home we've been able to get him much more uphill and engaged, and I just was unable to get that feeling in Rancho. He scored very well, and placed 3rd in both the PSG and I-1, but I wasn't really thrilled with how his tests went.
Victor went very well in the PSG at Rancho (even though I bungled the first canter pirouette), and ended up with a 64+ % to tie for 5th. I unfortunately overrode him a little for the Intermediare I. He was super powered up in the trot work, but was a little too difficult in the reins and that caused problems in the canter work. So we had some mistakes and ended up with a 60%. It was kind of too bad, although I didn't get one comment on his hind legs from any of the judges, which was great!
The next shows are local, we have a schooling show here the first week in May, which I'll probably ride young horses at. The next big recognized show is the third week in May. That's going to be a busy one!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Last day at Festival of the Horse

Today was the last show day at the CDI San Juan Capistrano. Many of the dressage riders have already left; in particular the CDI riders mostly only show Friday and Saturday (those are the days of the qualifying classes). The CDI freestyles were quite small today, with only three horses in the Intermediare I freestyle.

Monk warmed up much more energetic and active today than yesterday. It had rained quite a bit last night, the stalls were quite wet right in front of the doors and there was water and mud everywhere. As a result, the warm-up was also a bit muddy. But Monk was undeterred. The test itself went quite well: very active, no mistakes, and pretty well coordinated with the music. I scored 68.58 percent, with one judge scoring me over 70. We placed 2nd out of the 3 horses entered in the class, so I got a ribbon for the first time this weekend!

The other two had the day off, they just got hand-walked or lightly lunged. It was super busy around the stabling area with a bunch of people leaving, so it wasn't very conducive to handwalking.

The weather was much better today than yesterday, the sun was out most of the day. I hate coming to Southern California and having cloudy skies and rain. Ick! Tomorrow Mom and I drive to the next show in Rancho Murieta, outside of Sacramento. Evidently it has been raining quite a bit up in that area, so hopefully the weather will start to clear up for our show next weekend. We got most everything packed up and are pretty much ready to leave tomorrow. We'll probably be leaving around 8:30 in an attempt to avoid LA traffic.

Internet access can be more difficult for me in Rancho Murieta, I will do what I can to continue updating my blog.