In honor of the week of half days leading up to Spring Break, Trainer A/M decided to offer a clinic yesterday! They polled their students on what topic the clinic should cover… and somehow, despite having a clientele that skews heavily towards performance riding, Trainer M’s small handful of jumping students won out~!
I arrived early yesterday morning so that I could help Trainer M set up the grid we would be riding over during the clinic. Trainer M said to drop ALL of the ground poles over the side of the arena wall (holy dang, man), so I ended up throwing around two dozen of them (if not more), plus carrying a couple of standards.
I wasn’t even on the horse and I was already breathing hard/sweating from the setup. LOL
On top of that, I also managed to say hello to Big Horse, give Chicken a much needed lunge (you can tell he’s feeling ridiculous when you do something as simple as open your water bottle and he leans all the way back in the cross ties out of terror), and talk another student into joining the clinic (mua ha ha) by the time that I was done tacking up and ready to get on.
Here’s a look at my badass t-shirt, plus a quick screencap preview of my ride, then we’ll get right into it:
The First Hour (FLATWORK)
Like all good jumping clinics, we started out with awesome flatwork—and B-Dawg hated it. It was a bunch of lateral work (including an exercise where we picked up the sitting trot and then performed a haunches in on the short side of the arena and a shoulder out on the quarter line of the long side of the arena). Boston needed a lot of mental breaks, but things got easier in the canter. Trainer M had us make shallow serpentines off of the wall and then back using leg yields.
From there Trainer M had us start trotting over the horde of ground poles we’d set up earlier. At first we just had to go over them at the seated trot, but then Trainer M had us drop our irons and put our toes straight down while we went over them (oh god, my thighs). We went through that torture a few times each before flatwork hell was over and we got to have a quick water break while Trainer M adjusted the grid for the jumping portion of the clinic.
The Second Hour (JUMPING)
The grid for the clinic was four jumps set up on the quarter line of the arena. There was a bounce right off the bat (oh hell yeah, my jam), then one stride to an oxer (not my jam), then two more strides to the last jump in the line. On top of that, the strides were set for 10 feet (to make it fair for the ponies and the horses in the group), so pace and making decisions was crucial.
We started off with all of the jumps set up as cross rails, then quickly progressed to 18″ verticals. 18″ feels super duper easy at this point, but it was exciting to watch one of the younger students jump—I love seeing other people learn and progress!
Students were encouraged to tap out of the jumping portion and go back to flatwork whenever the jumps went up too high for them. I had the option to stop when the trainer started raising the jumps up to 2’3″, but HELL NO. I was feeling good and Boston was doing really well, so I made it my goal to make it over the grid at 2’3″ at least twice (once to get it over with and the second time on film).
I cracked a couple jokes about the jumps only being scared when I looked down at them (“DON’T DO THAT” all my clinic buddies said LOL), made the Show Buddy jump first (if her tiny Arab could do it, there was no way B-Dawg couldn’t), and then bit the bullet and headed into the line. I didn’t quite have enough leg on, so Boston kind of baubled a bit at the first jump, but I put my leg back on by reflex and off we went! It felt terrible… but we made it through and I didn’t eat dirt, so.
Things went better with more leg (still not great but so much better). Here’s a short video to wrap this post up, complete with awesome music—it’s there to cover up the shouts of “SHOULDERS. LEG. LEG. LEG. EYES UUUUUUP.” 😛