Saturday, April 11, 2009

ColleenKellyClinic - Easter Weekend Riding

I missed last week's posting because we lost our internet over the weekend and by the time the SBCglobal tech came out on Monday, I was in Kansas for the Agonizing Audit of Aught-9. So, the short story is that Patty was going to the show on April 4th and the 4-H point show was on April 5th, so the girls rode Pico and Sunny at the 4-H ride night on Thursday night and had a lesson on Pico and Sunny on Friday evening. Then, played around with TC and Diez on Sat. followed by show prep for Sunny, Pico and Splash on Sat. evening. The show on Sunday was a bit rough with cold, damp temperatures and cold north winds. All three horses were not on their best behavior even though the ride night in the same arena had been really good. Pico resurrected his snake impersonation trying everything to keep from going to the awful, horse eating end of the arena and Sunny bucked a bit. But, all survived and I had to leave first thing Monday for a week in McPherson, KS so no prep time for Splash and me in advance of the Colleen Clinic scheduled for the 10th and 11th.

So.... I got home a bit after 5:00pm on Friday evening, ate some pizza and headed over the Rogers' county building for the lecture portion of the Colleen Clinic. Colleen Kelly is an Australian clinician specializing in biomechanics - seat, posture and balance of rider. She is an Official Dressage judge as well as a coach for the Australian vaulting team and disabled national team. Her style is entertaining as well as educational and she is unabashedly proud of Australian Olympic riders and their recent triumphs. Colleen's husband Nick travels with her and videos all lectures and lessons.

The Friday night lecture included lists of the top ten rider mistakes and horse problems:
Rider - looking down, legs to far behind the girth, hands to high/not following movement, slouching, butt not in saddle, heels up, upper body not vertical, uneven stirrups, rein contact/uneven-strong-weak, and equip/other.
Horse - irregular, no impulsion, not on bit, on forehand, not straight, falling in/lost balance, bend/flex, tail swishing, fat/fitness, and equipment or other.

Regularity - most important thing a judge is looking for. Walk/92-95 beats per min., Trot/150-155 bpm, and Canter/95-100 bpm. Canter and walk should be in time with Jingle Bells while trot work should match Elton John's Crocodile Rock. Regularity needs to go with rhythm and tempo.

After regularity - P I S R / Paces (freedom and regularity), Impulsion (music), Submission (hand position), and Regularity

TEN COMMANDMENTS - Appropriate for Easter Weekend, since the movie version is on right now.. 1) Invisible aids, 2) effortless, 3) sit in center of saddle, 4) leg well stretched down, 5) heel lowest part of the body, 6) upper body vertical, 7) Hands - steady at trot / go with motion of canter and walk and stay low, 8) thumbs highest part of hand, 9) elbow follow @ walk/canter, and 10) harmonious.

Colleen challenged us to find out what tracking up was for the canter. I checked the internet and only found discussion for tracking at the walk and trot and found one reference ( the stated that tracking up does not really apply to the canter but suggested looking for 2 triangles and compare front leg and back leg triangle size - they should be about the same size at the working canter. Colleen didn't clarify this point during the lessons today while I was there so hopefully, she addressed it after I had to leave about 3:30.

Saturday started off with 3 demo riders and detailed discussion of several topics including the "sticker" turn, the fallacy of the 1 rein stop, the "nose up" stop and several equipment discussions. Colleen does not use spurs or whip and evaluated all three riders and found that all three had uneven stirrup lengths. Demo riders were Patty Couch, Laurie Hedlund and Anne Kuhnes. All three did a lovely job showing the details Colleen was discussing. Work through the corners was really interesting. When riding the corner looking out resulted in a deeper corner while looking into the arena caused a cut corner - a total of 2 meters difference. Also, looking left or right when coming down the center line caused all three to leave the track one way or the other.

Marsh C on Lilly, Kathy B on Call and me on Splash, shared a lesson and worked on several of the topics above as well as upward transitions and "straightness" of rider position. We started the lesson with a check of our tack and stirrup length. Colleen found that all three of us had uneven stirrups but she did seem to like Kathy's and my bridle charms made by Christina H a couple of years ago. Colleen raised my noseband an inch or so as well as both my stirrups.

All three of our horses were pretty sluggy and we did a follow the leader exercise telling the rider ahead which shoulder, stirrup, elbow, hip, etc. was higher and making efforts to correct the unevenness. I had some trouble getting Splash to move on without using the whip and cues were not invisible or silent and we did not look effortless. Then we worked on the "whistle whip transfer" the "flip-flop" upward transition and the "bee pop" in the corners to get more impulsion. These techniques really worked for Splash today and will hopefully work if I don't over use them.

Larry grilled up delicious burgers for lunch break and then I watched Patty, Heather, and Nicole work on leg yields and travers in the walk and trot using only eyes and weight in the stirrup. Very impressive. They also worked on the Sticker Turns. Nancy E was back in the saddle with Willy and did a really great job with Paula and Nancy's friend Clair. I really wanted to see all the rides but after my long week out of town, Came home and hung out with Ivy, Alaina and Kale. Tomorrow will likely be to wet to work on my new skills but hopefully will retain enough to make more progress at out party lesson next week.

Check out details about our clinician at: Marsha Cullen organized this clinic and did a great job. Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. What am awesome job of note-taking! Thanks Cathy for all your help and enthusiasm for this clinic. Marsha C.