Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Ian Roberts Clinic Day Two

Day two started off with a bit of excitement. Not five minutes after I arrived, a horse broke away from the trailer and headed off to the paddocks full of fancy warmbloods. I went to help but soon it looked as though the owner had it under control so I returned to get Shiraz out of the trailer to tack up.

Love it when a clinician takes time to pet your pony. Also, ahem... forgot to put on my halfchaps in the loose horse kerfuffle. Just look away.
Unfortunately the paddock horses thought this was all very exciting and were tearing around. Just as I had started saddling up, the entire herd came thundering back right to where I had parked my trailer. Shiraz was surprisingly good. I held her while she danced on the spot but that was all she did and then returned to eating grass.

Helping Shiraz through the scary ditch because OMG the GROUND IS NOT FLAT. ugh.
I planned to lunge, lead her over some jumps at the walk to loosen tight back muscles and then hop on to warm up. After getting on, Shiraz was nervous but tons better than the day before. Soon we were able to trot in choppy, tight-backed circles but at least it was forward and she was trying.

Connected next to the outdoor sand arena was a second grass arena with cross-country style elements such as a large ditch, bank and small rectangle ditch and that is where the clinician was waiting for us. We started with an exercise in transitions. On day one he had us using our legs in a squeeze, imagining we were lifting our horse up off the ground and minimal hands to come to a stop from a walk, or transition down from a trot to a walk. Today we worked more on this as we finished warming up. I got called out for bending at the wrist over and over which has been a life-long problem I cannot seem to rid myself of. I swear I might duct tape my wrists and be done with it.

Canter-stepping over cross rails for life.
We then got to go through the large ditch from multiple directions and eventually Ian added a small cross rail at the top of the long side. We started with coming through the ditch and jumping out, following by jumping into the ditch.

Ya, I have watched too many videos of horses leaping over little ditches to ride this particular introduction.
Next was the small rectangle ditch and Ian told us to go on the buckle to let our horses really look and assess. He asked if I wanted to go first and he took Shiraz's rein. I asked if I could get off and he kindly said sure. So Shiraz got to investigate the pit of death without me and eventually stepped in once she realised grass was in there for the eating. So I hopped up and we all went through many times before heading over to the bank.

Not gonna lie, I could have done up-banks all day :)
Going up banks may be my new favourite thing. All the thrill of jumping without the backside downward arc to ride correctly. Going down a bank: worst thing ever. First we walked down which was okay, but then trotting down I grabbed the neck strap and every *%&#ing time I flew forward on the landing and almost fell off. What was I doing wrong? Anyone catch my fatal error? Ya, grabbing the neck strap. Apparently the force of impact from a bank while holding the neck strap yanks you forward and best wishes to you to stay on the horse. You can see just how little I am able to think during the process of a jump as it took me FOUR attempts plus some post-jump contemplating to figure it out.

You're welcome. No shame.
At the end we strung it all together in a very small course and by then Shiraz was so relaxed. It was nice to feel THAT horse again. It has been a long while since she has been completely relaxed to the point where she could stop and just stand still while I am riding.

So our first derby is May 5th and 6th. Do I feel ready? Not really but you all know that's just not my style. :)


  1. Oh man I also hate going down banks! I actually did fall (or get bucked off...) on Mystic two years ago so they are even more not my friends haha. It sounds like you guys are ready to rock on derby day :) That clinician sounds fabulous!

  2. What wonderful progress you made. I love how she just moseyed over the pit of doom (aka ditch) like it was no big deal. Nice riding!

  3. awwwww Shiraz's face is so freakin cute in some of those pictures! sounds like an awesome clinic experience with so many fun cool new introductions! good call on letting her meet the ditch on her own terms to keep it easy and mistake free. also my friend brita has been having the same issue with wanting to use the neck strap for down banks but.... then having the issue with it pulling her way too far forward. so she's switched to also having one of those little pommel straps that dressage riders like to use that connects to the d rings. she's still getting used to it so idk if it's the perfect solution or not, but might be worth considering at some point or another! anyway glad it was so fun!

  4. down banks are pretty much my least favorite xc thing. Congrats on a great clinic, tho, and you're going to have so much fun at the derby!

  5. Up banks are so fun! And yeah, the down banks, while easy for the horse I've been told, are definitely intimidating. Grif either takes them nicely or gets REAL EXUBERANT and the latter is quite a, erm, thrill? to ride lol

  6. I love banks! Ramone hated going up them but loved coming down them, Carlos was gung ho for the whole thing. I lament my lack of a bank at the new barn but I think Dante would feel trepidation at first but eventually warm up to it.

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