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July 7, 2019: Clinic Mission Accomplished

I can look at the past two days as a bust or I can see them as a resounding success. Tyra and I were the laughing stock of the endurance crowd. But while we didn’t wow them, we both learned a great deal. And this is why we came to this clinic – to learn some things.

In the minds of some, I appeared with a cute spoiled pony who on the trail would be too slow to keep up with the competition. But then I didn’t come to this clinic with an experienced older horse that could do it all, with the sole goal of impressing the endurance crowd. No matter, I came with a younger, very intelligent, very curious Icelandic mare who was up for just about anything.

The clinic arena
The clinic arena

Yesterday, Tyra was overwhelmed by the mirrors, the arena setting, and strange horses. Today she was less overwhelmed and relaxed and ready for work. This is what I told Becky Hart, the clinician, prior to the morning’s activities.

During our group lesson we first worked on centering, at the walk and the same at the trot, relying on what we learned in the morning body awareness portion of the clinic. The focus was on bringing our awareness to our hips, so that we could better move with the horses’ hips. This is called following seat.

I noted that Tyra stops when she’s unsure about what’s being asked of her. It is then up to me to get her moving, mentally and physically. I can do this (I learned) by exhaling, jiggling my calves, pushing my pelvis forward, and turning the ball in my core upward. The latter then sends my energy upwards.

I said later (when asked for feedback) that I sometimes feel as though I have the pieces of the puzzle in hand but still need to put the entire puzzle together.

Just writing the above description further enabled me to internalize it.

The class ride (the one with all the clinic attendees participating) was far better than yesterday, mainly because it did not take place directly after our group lesson. Today, Tyra instead got a much needed break.

We divided into two groups and did a drill exercise. Each group formed a circle. One group went one way, around the other, and the other went the other. This was first at the walk then at the trot. Tyra seemed to enjoy this exercise. Towards the end she did begin to lose her focus, and stopped a few times.

When done, we all lined up. I immediately hopped off her – this was my way of saying that the work day was over. She was very antsy and would not stand still. I suspect that she was wondering where the grass might be – out on the trail she gets to eat when she stops.

We left the arena behind the other horses. I put her back in her enclosure and untacked her. Then I took her for a long walk, one in which she got to do some selective grazing.

Next: 186. 7/8/19: Goodbye, Hello, Goodbye

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