Getting Ronin back on his feet
After an abscess in each foot and time to heal, we put glue on shoes on his front feet so that we didn't have to nail them on and to let his feet rest. He has been very sound and happy in these shoes and after a few failed attempts, they stayed on for a full 6 weeks (the first time, they didn't bond well to his hoof and came off after only 5 days). I just had his second pair put on Wednesday and hopefully after 6 weeks (if they stay on), we can go back to a normal shoe.
Back to School
A new addition to my life is that I started Graduate School. Crazy, I know. I am attending the Illinois Institute of Technology, a University in Chicago, but I am doing the work online. It may sound like a for profit organization, but it is not. It is a regular graduate program that happens to post most of their programs online. The only "in person" thing I have to do are exams, and I can go to a community college to have those proctored. I am about half way through the semester and so far I am really enjoying it. I am working towards a Professional Master's Degree in Food Process Engineering, which will go hand in hand with my current job working for the FDA. Bernie Traurig Clinic Last weekend, my barn, Tag Along Farm, hosted
Bernie Traurig for a 2 day clinic.
Ronin and I participated in the 3' section at 8am both days. The clinic was awesome. We had a completely full clinic and tons of auditors. The clinic was four 2 hr sections with 8 people in each section. He had a great PA system that allowed him to speak into a mic and each rider had a headset and the auditors had a speaker so that everyone could hear without him having to yell for 8 hours. Here is what we did over the two days.
Tack Check - Bernie talked to each rider to get some background on each rider and horse and to check tack. He likes soft bits and made notes of which horses had a stronger bit to watch to see if he wanted to change it. He made sure each horse had its bridle and saddle set correctly, spurs on just above or below the spur rest (he did not want spurs on the ankle of the rider - which is one of my biggest pet peeves), and tight girths. He made some minor adjustments of cavesons and bit settings, but for the most part, everyone was ok.
Flat Work - our flat work consisted of lots of transitions from trot to halt and canter to halt. We worked on having a responsive horse who was listening to the basic aids. He made a point to mention that in order to have a rideable horse, the horse has to do 4 basic things: go forward instantly from the leg, come back quietly from the hand, turn left and turn right. One thing he really insisted on was basic flat work. I come from a barn with more dressage basics, so my downward transitions have more leg involved than what he wanted. Well, what worked better for my horse was to use less leg in the downward transitions. He really had us brace our heel down and slighlty forward and off the horse to make sure our horses were not getting mixed signals. I sometimes have a hard time getting Ronin to slow down, especially while jumping, just because he gets excited to jump. So this worked much better and had Ronin listening very well.
Cavaletti/Small Jumps - After flatting for quite some time, we worked over mostly cavalettis making sure our horses were listening to our 4 basic aids. We would trot over a cavaletti, move left of a point on the ground (flower) then right back to the center of the next cavaletti. We did this both directions. We then moved to a fence where a cavaletti was set 3 strides from a small 2' vertical set on the diagonal. We worked on getting the horse straight and not diving around the corner. The fence was set across the long diagonal and on the landing, there were only about 3 strides before the turn and the audience was in that corner. Most of the horses wanted to dive left and cut the turn. We worked on opening our right rain over the fence to guide our horse straight and set up for a balanced lead change if needed. We then added on to this by changing the line to a 4 stride and adding a cavaletti on the bend before the straight line in three strides. We then continued around the corner to a small oxer on the diagonal and then halted. We finished by doing the same exercise, but instead of halting, we continued to another oxer in a bending line, continuing right and over the first cavaletti and halting.
Overall work - This type of work really got our horses listening to our aids. Most of the horses were pretty fresh (8 horses cantering in our indoor is possible, but some got very excited which made others excited). We have a good size indoor, but 8 is a lot, but we did it.
|Bernie talking about position in the air|
Since we had done a lot of flat work the day before, we started off flatting ourselves and warming up our horses. We did about 15-20 minutes on the flat, practicing what we had learned the day before. Then it was right into jumping. We started off with a 75' line, trot in and canter out in an easy 7 strides. We continued with this but cantering in in an easy 6 strides.
We then moved to a bending line that was set on a center track 6 strides. We were not told what it was measure or walked in, and to ride off our eye. The first girl went and did a wide easy 7. I did a slightly more direct route and did an easy 6. Everyone else did the wide 7. After discussion, Bernie wanted us to do slightly wide of normal in a forward 6. We did this several times as the track was getting a lot of people and we needed to really work on both pace and track. The hard thing with bending lines is that there are so many variables: how you get in (forward, tight, normal), angle (left to right, right to left, center), pace (forward, slow, normal), etc. Bernie wanted us to jump the first fence so that were were angled to just slightly wide of normal so that we could have a nice forward (not fast) pace.
We then moved to an outside normal 4 stride line and a long gallop to a single diagonal oxer. After everyone mastered the pieces (set at about 6" lower than the height for the section), we put the whole course together and did it twice (at height). Every section did the same work, just at their respective heights. Everyone started small, then for the course work, did the height of the section. We had a 3', 2'9", 2'6", and 2' group.
It was a lot of fun, but I am exhausted. I was also ring crew for the other groups and was on my feet for the rest of the day helping to set jumps, change tack as needed, and keep the clinic running smoothly. The first day, we had a wonderful dinner, catered bbq, and Bernie had videos for us to watch and a Q&A session. The next morning, I got up really early (too excited to sleep) and went to the barn to clean up (water bottles in the ring, take trash out, take manure from the ring out, sweep, etc.). Then I got Ronin out to clean and start getting ready, helped set the ring, then got on for my session.
|The crew with Bernie|
|removed the two rider's names...|
|Example of Automatic Release (pic from 2003)|