And now that we are through week four, I have a recap!
We made it to the very first Friday Night Lights Dressage Freestyle at Global where Adrienne Lyle and Salvino took the win. The venue is quite a bit different then I thought it would be having watched it on the live stream-- the horses are so brave and focused in the scary environment. Then I also got to take some time to see things around the Loxahatchee/Wellington/west palm beach area which was a nice variation from the horse central focus that we know this area so well for. A group of us visited the Lion Country Safari and got to feed giraffes (what an experience!).
Enough about the viewing adventures and more about the horses and education:
Recently I was able to attend the USDF Trainers Conference with Lilo Fore, Linda Zang, David Hunt, and Henk van Bergen. It was a very educational day and lots to be learned from the whole group, but even more learning at the awesome D4K Training4Teaching even which had the group of clinicans answer very important questions that are so helpful when learning to teach others. D4K's puts on fantastic events like this and many others and are also the very gracious group to provide the Christian Kennedy Memorial Fund Scholarship which has given me the opportunity to be in Wellington for the season. It was great to participate in this event and even further to get to have Lendon Gray and Fern Feldman of D4K come by and check in on my horses and I. Scroll to the bottom of this blog for some of the notes from the Trainers Conference!
This past two weeks my sessions with Oded have gotten even more intense and focused. My first session this past week I ended up taking my young horse, Montego Bay (Jaquet x Wouter) 2017 dutch gelding owned by Kelly Brown, as Lumie decided to veto the trailer. "Monty" is very green to new environments and is a very hot and sensitive horse by nature. Oded helped me find a good place with him to help him relax and focus better on his task and less on scary things around him. Thankfully, Thursday after some trailer training Lumie decided that it wasn't all that bad and he was back willing to train. This was a really fun session as Oded rode him for most of the session to get a good feel for him to better help me. Oded is the very first educated rider to ride Illuminator so it was super nice to watch him work with him and also to get feedback. Lumie is still very much adjusting to things here in Florida and I am being cautious about his health/well being so we waited til Saturday for me to have a feel for what Oded worked with him on. Our weak points coming into the small tour have been the pirouettes and overall quality of the trot(trying to eventually "find" a passage). Our sessions with Oded really help us find both the suppleness in the jaw even when we bring his way of going up which previously was a big struggle. Additionally, finding a nice swing in the trot has taken some trying but I feel it more and more in our sessions and I am excited to see what we will have by the end of the season. More to come on the training soon!
Here are some notes from the trainers conference:
- Throughness=on the bit(accepting the bit not just in a "shape")- David Hunt
- Countercanter is used to help straighten the horse- david hunt
- Balance is always the secret; make it simple not difficult - Henk
- Dressage is the systematic development of the natural way of the horse; levels are the degrees of dressage- Henk
- it is always how do it not if we do it - Henk
- the walk is the most difficult to really have influence- Henk
- Shorten the walk and keep the energy(small steps not slow steps) to work on piaffe-- both before and after- David
- dont loose the canter in the pirouette- dont allow the horse to come too far up when in a pirouette David
- collecting money = more money; collecting canter= more canter(more impulsion not less) - David
- when the horse is hot and reactive do not make it trot big and fancy - David
- dont try to get neck out til you have the hindleg and there is stability in the connection - David
- move the neck, dont just leave it in tension in one position -David
Here is the link to the D4K discussion Training4Teaching for any interested: (1) Dressage4Kids Training4Teaching w/ Lilo Fore, David Hunt, Henk van Bergen, Linda Zang January 2023 - YouTube
Thats all for now-- more to come soon!