Horse is horrid & I have a blast, in clinic with a Very Big Name - photo link added
Yesterday, we rode in a Linda Zang clinic. I'm no way at the level for this, but the opportunity arose, and I'd audited her clinics and like her style. So we had lots of big, well-behaved WBs, some at FEI levels, and then Training-level-aspiring me and my hot little Morgan mare Feronia.
I'd remarked to my trainer that at the very least, even if Feronia was horrid, we'd provide some comic relief at the end of the long weekend, as we were the last pair to go.
We provided comic relief, in spades.:lol: Feronia was horrid, worse than she has been in months and worse than the very green 4YO TB/Dutch gelding that went right before us! She took great exception to the seating gallery set up at one end of the arena, and its reflection in the mirrors, the audience, the sound system, etc. :uhoh: I led her up to the seating area before I got on her and asked people to come pet her, so maybe she'd calm down about it. It didn't help much. Once I was on her, she was up and looky and focused on the scary places, and ignoring me. Linda had me bring her up, and petted her. And then we went to work.
Our big issue right now is corners. Feronia often blows through my aids and falls in. Linda had me hold the inside rein very short and set my thumb into Feronia's mane to stabilize my inside hand, and use inside leg to an opening outside rein. It worked pretty well, but when we reversed directions, Feronia decided that the tack room viewing window and the adjacent door from the barn to the indoor was OMG full of Scary Horse-Eating Monsters :eek:, especially since the dreaded seating gallery came right after that. I should note that the clinic took place where she is boarded, so she knows this arena very well.
Linda was great! :yes: She coached me through some *very* stubborn Feronia moments, some pretty serious sideways scoots and a couple of times where she just slammed on the brakes and went sideways, backwards, any ways to get away from the scary places.:eek: We did lots and lots of tiny circles in front of the scary stuff and eventually I could feel it coming and either take her into a circle before she acted up, or prevent her from scooting in the first place.
We went on to canter when Feronia had calmed down (sort of). This horse is a "canter Morgan" not a "trot Morgan." Linda loved Feronia's canter and told me that she would have a buyer for Feronia instantly if I ever wanted to sell her, to which I answered, NO WAY! as we flew past. And Linda tricked me into counter-canter, which I'd never done deliberately before, by telling me to canter across the diagonal and when I asked, in a panic, "What do I do when I get to the other side?" she said, "Nothing, just sit back and enjoy the ride." And Feronia's counter-canter is amazing. We did it in both directions. And then we were done...
I was exhausted, but Feronia was barely puffing. Linda cautioned me to lean against Feronia for a few seconds after I dismounted, just to be sure I wouldn't fall over. (She's had that happen to riders in her clinics -- she works people hard.) I did that, and hugged Feronia like mad.
Was it pretty riding? Absolutely not. Real riding? Absolutely so! A year ago I was terrified to ride this horse. I was convinced I'd made a horrible mistake by buying her. Today I was not scared at all. First I was shocked, and then I was angry (and swearing a blue streak!), and then I was just laughing at how absurd the whole situation was. Feronia is a LOT of horse, way more than I ever anticipated. But once she settles down, she's sweeeeeet to ride. :D
Linda loved her :) And she loved the "fight" I have in me... I am far from a beautiful rider, but a big wall fell yesterday. Feronia gets the day off today :)
ETA: photos here. Please excuse poor position etc.... some of it's a function of dealing with the horse being, um, not submissive at all, and chair seat is because I have old injuries and my hips just don't work that way.