On October 19/20 our club hosted our annual clinic with Jessica Kerschbaumer, also known as "The Alberta Eventer". She has a large online following due to her Helmet Cam video's and is also a hometown girl, and cousin (through marriage). She lives in Central AB where she trains for a large breeding program, is a member of the Alberta High Performance Eventing Team, and coaches as well. We have been bringing her up each fall for several years now, but this was my first time riding with her. Many loyal readers may recall last fall when I lent Sierra out to a woman for a clinic and Sierra dumped her twice - same clinician ;P
Originally, I wanted to just do a Flat lesson but no one else wanted to Flat, so I put myself in the 'baby' group which was sort of a Flat - Cross Rails group. Excited at the prospect of schooling some baby jumps, I was anxiously awaiting the clinic but in the back of my mind, worried that Sierra would react as she does at shows. Going into the clinic, I had two specific goals I wanted to work on; Canter Poles and Trot Approaches. I would like to incorporate more Canter poles as I feel like it will do wonders for her hind end, so that was something that was at the top of my list. In the two times I have jumped Sierra, it was evident that Trot Approaches weren't her strong suit. I would venture to guess she hadn't done a lot of them in her previous (poor) training, and I struggled with the 'timing' because she was very inconsistent in them. The clinician knows where Sierra came from and is very familiar with the amount of 'retraining' I have had to do, so I was looking forward to her feedback.
In addition, one of my best friends and fellow bloggers Cathryn was in town picking up her new horse that I housed for the week prior, and was able to catch my lesson on Day 1. Thanks to her, I got a lot of video (although admittedly haven't really surfed through it all yet), and unfortunately for me, she got first had knowledge of Psycho Sierra and how she acts at shows - because she was much the same for the clinic. Overall I am really disappointed, but also relieved because I would rather her act like that and have someone coach me through applying the tools to correct it rather than having her behave perfectly and taking less away from the clinic........ I guess.
Throughout the first lesson we worked a lot on trot poles and eventually graduated to poles raised on one side. This in itself was incredibly stimulating and difficult for Sierra, and we worked basically the entire time on maintaining a correct connection and having her lift her back and open her throatlatch over the poles while maintaining rhythm rather than just dropping her back and hollowing. We talked a lot about how she has the knowledge of this concept, but it is evidently not 'fully installed' because it all goes out the window once she gets tense or worried. All that being said, I did like that she had moments where she relaxed quite well, though unfortunately it was always followed by her being upset by something and reverting back to her spooky, tense, swishy mood that appears at shows. Luckily, we did manage to re-establish some semblance of relaxation after each 'moment' and we ended the first lesson on a good note, despite how frustrated I was with the entire situation as a whole.
|Jesus take the wheel|
It seems ridiculous to me that I have to be fighting these battles with a horse that is supposed to be 'broke', but I have made peace with the challenges we've been facing and take solace in the fact that I know we are making improvements. This was confirmed when later that evening, at our clubs Year End Banquet, I went home with a gorgeous Championship Cooler and several Thoroughbred Incentive Program Awards for our hard work earlier in the season.