I so wish we could be there! Unfortunately other financial and work obligations are keeping me from participating this time....We are hoping Leslie will be kind enough to keep us in mind for the next one, because the first one was fantastic! Our green boy thought he was the coolest thing on four hooves after his xc with Ralph.
We are planning to keep bringing him back, but the next one may be a while out. This one is still not filled. It's a tough time with show season in full swing, finances are tight for us all. We may have to wait until we have more people begging for him to bring him back. It's important to us to keep the rider cost down as much as possible so it's doable for the average rider budget. Most of us can't swing $1000 weekend! So with prices set to just cover cost, every open spot is a hit.
Thanks for all the positive feedback from those who enjoyed it last time! I was infinitely impressed with Ralph and am really looking forward to this weekend!! I've been anticipating it ever since we set a date!
I was in awe of Ruth's strength and kindness when she adamantly told Leslie she absolutely still wanted the clinic at Pine Hill. We are going to pull together to help keep the farm spotless, leave the barn clean and do anything else we can to help while there for the weekend.
I really hope that those empty spots get snagged by someone before this weekend!
I had the best time in January at the first clinic, and I learned a TON as well as meeting some great people. If it weren't for Uncle Sam, the new-to-me saddle timing and unexpected vet, med and housing bills, I'd be there in a flash.
It's a really great opportunity to ride with someone so knowledgeable in our own area.
Two or Three of the teens at the barn are riding and they rode w/him before and LOVED IT! Kiddo is just a lot too young and I'm a lot too breakable to be out there. Holding all fingers and toes crossed for a wonderful and safe weekend for you guys and have fun!!
Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
Originally Posted by alicen:
What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.
This clinic was AWESOME!! I hope a rider will report back here (c'mon Laura!) but I think Ralph was even better the second time. The semi-privates were a GREAT set up I think, and watching the transformation of each and EVERY horse and rider throughout the weekend was so much fun!
Thank you so much to everyone who came to ride for supporting our effort to keep this educational opportunity here in Texas. I think we had a really great group this time and I am really excited to get to work on organizing the rider development program that Ralph has established in some other areas of the country.
Also I have some really cool pictures that I will post when I get rider permission.
The clinic was absolutely AMAZING!!!! He instilled confidence in every horse and rider. I took my young horse not knowing what to expect and came away amazed at my horses ability!
Day 1 was gymnastic work
Ralph's main goal was getting the horses to think about what their job was. The rider was to get them into the exercise and then leave them alone. Astro quickly gained confidence and began to jump incredibly. We used a ton of canter poles, chutes, and accuracy questions. We did stuff I had never done with results better than I could of every imagined. Astro was jumping out of his skin! What a feeling it is to make the bigger jumps feel easy I have been having trouble finding my distances in show jumping as I have a tendency to pick and interrupt his rhythm. As soon as Ralph said to keep the rhythm in my hips.....problem fixed!
Day 2 Cross Country
Astro finally learned to gallop and jump out of stride!! We continued with many of the same ideas and goals as the day before. We warmed up over some show jumps and then put some fences together. Ralph really stressed getting into galloping position and let the horses go where they are comfortable. Astro figured out how to move and I learned how to balance him without getting in his face. It's all in the hips By the end of the day we were jumping around training and looking for more. My horse came back full of confidence and feeling like he was 10 feet tall!
The semi-private lessons were incredible. We got a ton of one-on-one attention. It was by far the best clinic I have been to and can not thank Sarah and Leslie enough for all of their work they put into the clinic. I can not wait till we get Ralph back and we all hear, "you SMOKED it!!"
I've decided that Ralph really does have all the secrets of the universe. I'm plotting and scheming how I can sell "everything" and move to wherever he is to train with him full time.
I couldn't have ridden 3 more different horses.
Horse #1 CRAZY - hot hot hot Irish TB mare who likes to buck, spook and in general object to anything that is my idea. Rode her Prelim (yes, I am crazy.)
Horse #2 Teensy tiny white pony mare who thinks she is a Grand Prix jumper. Here M.O. - if she can't go over the jump, she'll just go through it.
Horse #3 LAZY, GREEN dumb-blood (er excuse me that's WARMBLOOD) doesn't know his leads, and doesn't freaking TURN. (But he is very pretty.) Two days before I "added" him as a ride at the clinic I scheduled to send him to "dressage boot camp" with a serious pro so they could teach him how to GO FORWARD and TURN!
Ralph can read horses better than any trainer I've ever ridden with, and after cough....cough..... over 30 years of lessons & clinics that says a lot.
With Miss-I'm-Irish-Out-Of-My-Way he had me just let her go. Sure Ralph - gallop down to that MAXED OUT Prelim table while she's TOSSING her head, running and bucking and kicking out and just turn loose!!!! Yeah! Uh huh............Seriously???? His favorite thing to say was, "Trust me! I've done this & I'm still alive!!!!" So.......we galloped at giant prelim jumps and I just softened my hands and said "Show me how brave you are!" It was incredible as she tried every way possible to get me to react & I didn't. After a half dozen jumps where I was very glad I stayed on her - she was like a new horse. Believe me, that was the very LAST approach I would have taken.........but Ralph is always right!! We finished up with a small course of Prelim jumps and she was like a PACKER, forward, obediant, straight.....it was the best feeling in the world and it was all at PRELIM!!! Whoo Hoooo!
Then came I'm-14 hands-but-I-can-jump-Prelim-all-day-long!!!! I made the mistake of telling Ralph I thought she MIGHT do Prelim.......so on the first day in one of the gymnastics he kept saying "Just for me, do it again" and each time he raised the jump 5" or 6" until we were jumping OVER HER HEAD. Seriously. I was looking UP at the jump as I came to it. Of course the tiny jumping bean was totally game.......and after leaping over her head a few times....Ralph begrudgingly said "OK, she might do Prelim." Ah hah!!!
On day 2 in cross country, he had me make her wait to the jumps. (Last clinic he had me "turn her loose" like he did this time on the Irish mare.) Making the pony wait was perfect and she hit everything in stride & totally jumped beautifully. I asked him how he knew to change, and he said she is better now, and last clinic if I turned her loose & she made a mistake she blamed herself. Now that she isn't running at the jumps like she was, he said if you let her run at them and she makes a mistake now she'll blame you!!! He was so right!! And she jumped everything beautifully!!!
We'd been having problems with her at banks. She keeps tripping up them. And by tripping I mean - clobbering them and scooping up dirt with her teeth on top. I told him this and he said,"It's your hands." Huh??
The bank out of water, he said she's tripping up it because she's not LOOKING at it because she's holding her head up from the splashing (ok, she is a LOT closer to the water than most horses and she has HUGE feet so she splashes a lot..... I was SOAKED.) He said just lower your hands. And like magic she cantered up the bank out of water beautifully for the first time. (She has tripped up that bank with me AND my students - repeatedly. It was the first time she didn't. Unbelievable how a 2" difference in hand position fixed it.) Then I explained that she trips up banks on dry land too! So off we went to find dry banks! Here he said - this time lift your hands so she is looking at the TOP of the bank. The reason she trips up them is because she's looking at the base of the jump and thinks it's a vertical. We came to the bank I lifted my hands 2" and I could immediately feel her "sight" the top of the bank and jump up it beautifully. It was another miracle!! I have NEVER before had a trainer explain everything from "the horse's point of view", and boy does that make a difference.
So then came Horse #3. This horse has continuously outwitted me, out persisted me, and out muscled me at every turn (pun intended.) Remember, I had just decided to send this one to boot camp. The first day Ralph had us cantering over some poles. This horse doesn't turn, he just doesn't. Anything that is my idea he objects to strongly and especially turning. Ralph said we were making our turn to the poles too big (amazing we got there at all) and I told him I couldn't make the tighter turn.............Well............that was a mistake. So Ralph wants to know how much I'll bet him that I can't make that turn. Doesn't seem like a good bet really, but I agreed to try and make the turn - but NO BET! So he tells me when to start the turn (which was waaaaay before you would think you need to) and yes, we made the turn. Then we made nearly every turn the rest of the weekend. This is a horse that has run off with me in different directions while refusing to turn for months. Ralph fixed it with a little good natured mockery, and I was embarassed into making my horse turn. He's amazing. Really.
What an absolutely incredible weekend! Do NOT miss an opportunity to ride with Ralph Hill!!
Last edited by BadEventer; Mar. 29, 2011 at 08:12 PM.
Matt and I were so disappointed we missed it! We were trying to get there Sunday to at least audit, and say hello to everyone, but it was too late by the time we could get away.
Glad you all had such a great time....I really wish I could have seen "Irish tb mare" go around. I need that exact lesson, only for me, not my horse. <g>