Clinic Recap: Lindsey O’Keefe @ Eagles’ Aerie

Clinic Recap: Lindsey O’Keefe @ Eagles’ Aerie

YES DID YOU SAY ROAD TRIP? OF COURSE I WILL BE YOUR ASSISTANT.

I am always down to tack up the horse, take notes, and snap lots of pics/videos

Say hello to Pretty! Pretty is a registered Irish Draught Sport Horse. TrainerK originally started this mare under saddle as a five year old, but has only had her back in training since February. She’s talented over fences and on the flat, so when TrainerK was given the opportunity to ride with USDF gold medalist Lindsey O’Keefe, Pretty was obviously the horse to take along for the ride.

Everyone was amazed by how white she was—thank god for purple shampoo 🙏

Lindsey quickly picked out that Pretty is a hot horse and that TrainerK’s personal horse, LJ, has taught her to have a hot seat (bless his beautiful lazy soul). She wanted TrainerK to post slower, almost to the point where it felt sloppy, in order to keep the tempo of a much quieter trot.

During their warmup, Lindsey had TrainerK put Pretty into a leg yield. The leg yield naturally slows the horse down. Lindsey wanted TrainerK to slow the mare down almost to a walk during their leg yield. The slower the horse, the more steepness it adds to the leg yield.

Lindsey’s main exercise for Pretty and TrainerK centered around the 10m trot circle. Smaller circles help the horse collect and encourage relaxation. Hot horses need to be decompressed and calmed. Collection comes from relaxation, which means its important to do gymnastics that are designed to put the horse together and naturally create a half halt. Ideally the horse will associate the half halt with the exercise, and from there you can cultivate a sense of relaxation in the horse.

During the 10m circle, the inside of the horse’s body should be shorter than the outside. Lindsey was looking for a combination of “slow and stretch” that signaled Pretty was relaxing into the circle.

Once Pretty was relaxed, she had TrainerK strike off into the canter. They cantered for half of a 20m circle, then came back to their 10m trot circles until Pretty was relaxed enough to canter again. The goal was to use the trot circle to collect and relax her whenever she started to build up too much energy. If she got strung out and tried to run her way into the canter, TrainerK brought her back down into the same 10m circle and tried the transition again from that more organized trot. She was required to carry herself through the transition.

“She’ll try to bait you into fighting her into the canter. She’s not green anymore, she has to do it like a trained horse. Sophisticate the transition!”

Lindsey wanted TrainerK to “do what comes unnaturally” to Pretty by refusing to feed into the anxiety that Pretty had built up around the bit. She could pump the brakes, but when Pretty really got hard against TrainerK’s hand she wanted her to give and bring her into a smaller circle instead of hanging onto her.

“Train the horse you want, don’t ride the horse you have.”

A lot of the things that Lindsey was saying to TrainerK resonated with me. Once Raglan and I are back in the swing of things I want to try the 10m trot circle to canter transition exercise that they were working on!

My First Aid Kit (Seven Months Later)

My First Aid Kit (Seven Months Later)

Bless the gods, for my horse has been mostly healthy and whole since I made my first aid kit in April.

MAYBE A LITTLE BIT TOO HEALTHY FOR HIS OWN GOOD

Of course, the other day he got into a fight with the metal hay cart. He didn’t mess himself up too badly, but he did end up with a cut on the inside of his left hind canon. I cleaned it off, gooped it up with Corona, and then took him over to TrainerK, who put the leg in a standing wrap to help with swelling.

My first aid education isn’t very expansive. I grew up riding in rundown, backyard farmsI’d never even heard of standing wraps, let alone put them on before. TrainerK recommended that I start reading some of the Pony Club handbooks to learn more about first aid and general horsemanship! I’d love to explore the possibility of joining a club through the Horsemasters program at some point.

In the mean time, I set aside some time to sort back through my first aid kit.

The first thing I did was reduce how much clutter is in the kit. I went from twelve rolls of vet tape to four, squashed the human first aid kit into a smaller bag, and generally cut the amount of items in the box in half without eliminating anything entirely. All the extras got tucked away in storage at home. I’ve got less materials, but everything is also much easier to find now!

Human first aid kit (sunscreen, ibuprofen, Tums, chapstick, cough drops, band aids, triple antibiotic ointment, moleskin, etc.) narrowed down into one pouch.

Since I already had everything out of the kit (is it possible to get organized without taking the entire thing apart? I think not), I also moved some items around. I folded all of the clean towns and put them in an easy to reach spot. I moved hand/feet warmers up into the top tray where I could find them. I took the Corona ointment and a pair of scissors out and put them in my grooming tote, since I use them so frequently.

I think it’s really important to organize your kit in a way that makes things more efficient for daily use!

Top tray in the first aid kit has vet wrap, wound pads, antiseptic wipes, hand warmers, clippers, fly spray, a Cliff bar, and scissors.

Last of all, I cleaned out a spot underneath the tray for a set of pillow/standing wraps. I ordered two pairs of Cotton Pillow Leg Wraps Bandages (14″ for the front legs, 16″ for the back) and a set of Vac’s Flannel Stable Bandage Standing Wraps. I think they’ll be a great addition to my kit.

They’ll go right in that big empty spot on the right, underneath the top tray!

Consider this your reminder to go through your first aid kit! Rearrange, reorganize, restock, and consider adding a few additional supplies as needed. Or, if you don’t have one already, maybe it’s time to start one!

The Prestige X-Contact

The Prestige X-Contact

Last Monday I drove down south to pick up the trial saddle that I was promised during the whole Prestige debacle. The shop didn’t have the model of saddle that I ordered in stock, so I ended up taking home a 17″ Prestige X-Contact with a forward flapnothing like my saddle, but the other options weren’t any better.

There’s no doubt that the X-Contact is a handsome saddle. It’s got a lot of small details that I really liked, aesthetically. I loved the inclusion of the Prestige logos and the strip of leather that accents the bottom of the flap. Plus the back of the saddle, in particular, was very cute. What a great spot for a nameplate!

There are definitely some things about the X-Contact that I thought were tacky, though. The billets, for example, are terrible. They’re thick, short, and feel like they’re made out of cardboard. I had trouble tightening up my girth because of how chunky they are. The X-Contact also has removable blocks (the shop owner took the back block off for me before I left the store, my short legs hate back blocks). The velcro under the blocks is a horrible pale tan color that reminds me of those old saddles with tan suede knee pads (blegh). The stirrup leather keepers also look unfinished compared to the rest of the saddle.

So on the outside I thought the saddle was very attractive, but once I looked closer I wasn’t really impressed with itespecially since this model retails for $1,000 more than the model I ordered.

Of course, the real test came when I tacked Raglan up and went to ride in it. The result? I absolutely hated it. I couldn’t use my girth with it because the short billets wouldn’t reach, which also meant that I couldn’t use my breastplate either (since my plate needs the girth to have a ring on it). The saddle didn’t fit Raglan (it slipped sideways when I went to get on and gradually slid back as I rode) and it tipped me so far forward that I felt like I was a few milliseconds away from face planting into Raglan’s neck.

I’d be lying if I said that this experience didn’t make me a little bit nervous about whether or not I’m going to love love LOVE the Prestige saddle that I ordered. I would never consider spending $4,000+ on the Prestige X-Contact. But I remember really loving the Prestige Passion K when I rode in it, so hopefully everything will turn out okay. Until then, I’m definitely not riding in the X-Contact.

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