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BlueBobRadar
Jul. 1, 2009, 05:12 PM
I was lucky enough to be chosen for the 3' section of the EAP in Buffalo, New York. I got home last night (it was still light out!:)) and would like to share my experience and some videos of my riding.

I got to Buffalo at about 3pm Sunday evening, and my horse arrived about an hour later. The course was already set and all the riders were able to handwalk their horses around in the indoor. The BTRC has amazing footing!

Monday morning at 8am all of the riders met in the lounge to receive our polos, saddle pads, nametags, backpacks and all sorts of cool free stuff! Thank you USHJA! We also had the riders meeting with Melanie. At 9am the first session, the 3', started. I had read about these sessions, and watched videos of them, but it was still very different to experience it in real life. She emphasized contact, and the horses being responsive.

I was the first of the session to do this exercise-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhoXQTW4TXY
(sorry if you can't hear over the birds!)

I also was first to go over the first course of the day-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KgYwx268as

My second course of the first day-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnlbJHAldFE

By the end of the first day I had a lot to work on and improve on, and I felt I had learned a lot. For all of the sessions she had the riders who were not in that session be jump crew; which was really fun. I liked being in the ring for the other sessions and I had never really had to set jumps before, nor had I gotten to stand by a jump while someone else jumped it and I really liked being able to do that.

Over night I was able to watch my riding on these videos and I really could see what she ment and what I needed ot work on.

The second day we worked on resisting with your shoulders and opening your hip angle to shorten the horses stride and eventually halt. We also worked on keeping good contact but just allowing your horse to canter to the jump.

The first course from day 2- we worked on getting a good canter heading towards the first jump then resisting for a shortened distance then allowing the canter towards the second jump and resisting to the one-stride. After that we were supposed to stop on a straight line; but she wanted me to try the second jump again to see me allow the canter more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg3MR0iONo8


The second course from day 2-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VaI9tzoWUs

Redo of the last line of the second course- she wanted me to challenge myself to see if I could do the line even better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo4d2ScV09s

Last course of the day-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VtgBitlMlE

All in all, I thought the session was a great experience. I had expected to learn a lot, but I didn't expect it to change the way I ride(which it did, and I mean this as a very good thing!) I learned a ton, Melanie explained things very well and always got her point across.

A few general statements-

~ DO NOT PAT YOUR HORSE! She HATES it when you "slap" your horse on the neck when they've done well. She said it's one of her biggest pet peeves and why should you punish your horse for a job well done? She much prefers rubbing and petting a horse on their neck.

~ It would be a very good idea to carry a crop. The first day I would say maybe a third of the riders carried sticks. In the 4' section I think it was 3 people had refusals and none of them had sticks. The next day out of every session I only saw one rider without a stick.

~ She also dislikes ear puffies. She says they're protecting the horse, and you should get him used to the noises instead of protecting him from them.

~ She really liked to see improvement the next day.

~She made it clear that you should always end an exercise with a halt, because it is punctuation and the horse always remembers first what it last did in that spot.

Over all I felt it was an amazing experience, and anyone who has the opportunity should apply and/or audit these sessions. I felt it helped my riding greatly and I am really excited to practice what I've learned!


(These were only some of the many things we worked on!)

hellerkm
Jul. 1, 2009, 08:38 PM
GREAT post!! my 12 yr old just spent about an hour watching and rewatching your videos and listening to what was said!! thanks so much for sharing your experience!!! it was really nice of you!

Caroline33
Jul. 1, 2009, 10:24 PM
I was selected as well for the zone 2, 3ft section. It was an amazing experience. Steph pretty much covered most of what we did and what we went over. All of the riders came back much stronger day two after knowing what to expect the second day. I think everyone who can should go audit these clinics if not already attending. It was such a great learning experience. I will upload the videos i have when i figure out how to and post them as well.

Steph- how did you get home when it was still light out! im jealous. i didnt get home till 1:30am hahaha.