Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Be a Benevolent Dictator

Another whirlwind couple of weeks!  The Greg Best clinic was once again an incredible learning experience for all. Greg always gives 110% to all the participants and this time was no different!
After the clinic we had the opportunity to have Greg coach us at the Sonoma Horse Park Jumper show. The picture above is of Jedi in the 1.20 class.  Those are 6 ft standards!  What a great way to put all we learned in the clinic into practice. It went so well I am moving Jedi up to Advanced this weekend at the Woodside Horse Trials.

Here are some of the Gregisms we tried to make use of!........

Warm up- Even pressure in contact for stretch
Make the highest point as close to the withers as possible when stretching.
Still hands (carry whip under thumbs to see if it moves back and forth...seesaw)
lengthen and shorten in your warm up 
Push around turns with outside aids and leading open inside rein. Practice counter bend with tight turn and still forward so it will be easier when jumping

Watch outside ear in turn to keep from leaning and maintain straightness.

Straight, Collected, Lead change (if necessary)....after every jump

When horse is hot, use LESS bit because the horse is more reactionary when hot and too much bit makes the horse more reactionary. With a sensitive horse, more bit increases anxiety. Less bit equals less anxiety.

The mistake people make is trying to bit for ENERGY rather than SENSITIVITY.

Greg told the story of a lethargic horse that had no respect for its rider. So Greg suggested bitting to get respect, which is counter-intuitive for bitting a lazy horse. The rider also stiffed the horse over the jump, instilling respect for the rider. It woke the horse up and got the desired result.

Riders must give an APPROPRIATELY positive ride to the jump. Give horses what they need and never drop below that level (which might be a stiff arm over a jump).

Greg does not like having riders halt during a course because it's too easy on the rider.

Ride the canter, not the jump

Use proportional resistance (vs. give and take), offering resistance proportional to what horse offers.

Rider should either want to land after the jump with the same control as before the jump OR start with more and finish with less.
15-20 lbs of contact, if you find yourself without the exact amount big deal. If you start with 1/2 lb and suddenly have 2 it changes a lot.

If horse worries about landing don't realease (overrelease) over fence so there is less change after.

Practice walking distances.

Ride into contact to avoid weak hind end when riding lines.

Riding with low hands makes smooth and positive ride....also takes away from riders ability to invert the horse by being left or not following in the air.

Think about what level of impulsion is needed for height of fence

What is a sustainable ride? Ex: Don't let horse drift into turn after fence by the 10th fence, dive and turn!

Riding is an exercise in mistake management.

If fussy about lead change pat immediately when he gets it right
Avoid confrontation
don't ask too much too quickly

Exercise: Pole- 60 feet -jump – 60 feet- pole
four and four
five and five
strides after jump should not be less than strides before...challenge yourself to put 4 and then 5

How far a horse takes off from jump does not correlate with the size of the fence....but with the size of the stride. They take off a half of stride before.

Release does not mean let go off.

Don't let horse get comfortable with disuniting (cross cantering/ trot canter gait)

Be consistently out of control through the whole process relative to what you feel comfortable with.

Every horse wants to get crooked in the process of collection.

Don't circle in the middle of a course (expect more from yourself).

90% of learning is self discovery.

Be a benevolent dictator!!!!!!

The next opportunity to clinic with Greg is September 1-3.
Limited spaces available. Auditors welcome! So sign up early!!!