I have a GM clinic coming up and would like to have some ideas of exercises to do that will prepare me for the content.
I wont be riding my own horse either, but the horse I will be on is pretty straight and true.
Ive got the book on order, the clinic organiser said I should learn the terminology he uses too- Im English and the clinic is in NZ so its rather removed from anything Im used to!!!
Go to www.usef.org and watch all of the videos from his recent Horsemastership Clinic that was in Wellington, Florida Jan2-6. Not only will it show you what he did with those kids but you can listen to hours of his teaching and get a feel for his style and what he means when he tells them things. Good luck!
Thank you thank you!! I adore learning and lessons and I miss terribly (being in a new country) the input of my trainers at home. I will hang on to his every word and have been youtubing him! We dont have equitation and your US hunter classes at home so it will be quite alien , they do US style hunter classes here though so I will try to ask some Kiwis questions too.
I love to look smart, but I am worrying that my nerves will come across!
Practice tightening your girth and changing stirrup length without removing your foot from the stirrup. Practice flatting with longer stirrups than you jump with. Practice keeping the stirrup angled correctly across the ball of your foot. Practice carrying your whip correctly (not at the very end) and in your dominant hand (unless you can state a particular reason for having it in your other).
These are all little things you should probably already be doing, but if they aren't your habits, he will catch it and correct it...over and over.
His day-to-day clinics are not the same as the Horsemastership sessions but it is still invaluable to watch those. As others noted, he will want you to have a "flat length" stirrup that is 2 holes longer than your "jumping length" and be able to go back and forth between them seamlessly by keeping your foot in the stirrup and making the adjustment in front of your leg. He may ask the group if anyone knows how fast a working trot and working canter are, in miles per hour; I've seen that a number of times. To change direction, know the difference between "half circle" and "half circle in reverse". The former being your basic move where you turn towards the middle using your inside rein and return to the rail going the other way; the latter being where you move diagonally off the rail towards the middle and then using the outside rein, turn back to the rail. He may have you jump without the stirrups and then pick them up as you canter away from the jump. Practice being able to drop and pick them up, on the move. Know what a short release is. Above all, concentrate. I can hear him in my sleep "I like this girl; she's a concentrater". Good luck! Have fun!
The Great White North, where we get taxed out the wazoo
When you are working at the canter flat workwise you will sit your canter, and it's quite a slow pace, when you get to jumping you want to get into your two point position and stay there. Your horse should be moving forward in the canter from your leg, under no circumstances do you want to sit down and drive with your seat. He calls that being a "buttgrabber" and you could end up with thumbtacks on the seat of your saddle as a reminder.
Make sure you and your horse and tack are all spiffy and as clean as humanly possible. Get the bottom of your boots wiped before heading into the ring. Listen, try to do what he says as much as you can, and learn from The Legend.I did a clinic with him back in the fall and it was great, I learned a lot and had fun, altho I was a nervous wreck going into it.
Most of the leading clinicians as well as GM use this basic excercise incorporated into a variety of scenarios course wise-Jumpers or Hunters or Eq, same excercises for all. Easy to practice on your own. And you should.
Start with just poles on the ground, this sounds easy-it's not. Master it with the poles first.
Put 2 poles down about 4 strides apart. Get a normal canter and canter that line-if the horse reaches a little, move them in. If the horse eats the out pole, move it out. That works better then measuring or pacing, you want to find the comfortable canter to start with.
Canter the line a few times in both directions in 4 strides until the horse is relaxed. Then you are going to adjust your canter and do that line in 5 strides, then 4 strides, then 5 strides. Then you are going to get a hand gallop and do it in 3. Then adjust to 4, then 5 and so on. Alternate. Then you can do it over low fences, it might take a few weeks to really get solid.
The idea of this is the controlling the stride to get to the base of the fence, staying straight to the base, thru the line and away from the line and shaping the corners to shorten or lengthen(round sweeping corner to lengthen, square corner to shorten).
This one excercise is going to be somewhere in almost any clinicians plan for your clinic over anything from poles to 4'ers. GM throws it in "OK, Great, now leave that last one out (meaning stride and you need to lengthen). Or, "add one" meaning you need to shorten off your corner and down the line.
Another popular clinic excercise is a single fence crosswise in the center of the arena-you can also start this at home with just a ground pole to save the horse. You are going to jump a sort of figure eight pattern slicing the jump at an angle back and forth. The problem isn't the jump-it's staying on that line after landing with a lead change, holding a proper bend around the turn and getting straight to the center (horse's body needs to be straight on the line you are traveling even tho the jump is at an angle) on an angle back the other way. With a good group, clinicians will remove the standards to incite the "drive by" and see if you can really steer.
GM is tough but he does not bite...however he does not suffer fools gladly. Shut up. Listen. Watch. If you do not understand something, ask. If you do something wrong and don't understand why? Tell him you don't get it-he will scoff but NOTHING like he will if you keep doing wrong..
Once you get in there and relax a little, I think you will get alot out of it. And have fun.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Someone else mentioned it above, but yes, definitely practice shortening your stirrups for jumping WITH your feet in the stirrups (you know, the way we're really supposed to do it).
And also, this is from my times lessoning with him, not clinics: practice trot jumps- high ones- and make sure you trot right to the base without backing off or doing the opposite and breaking to a canter for the last stride. Then do it again without stirrups too. Keep the jump height consistant with the height you're doing in the clinic. He looooves it if you can nail that excersice the first time off the bat
Brilliant, the organiser of the clinic ( she's American ) told me about the half circle but youve clarified it better than a rushed call!
I'm on a green 4 year old and it's a shame no other green horses have been entered as I'm in with the ponies god i hope it works, I don't want the distances to be having to be constantly adjusted. Id rather watch another group than hold up the lesson.
Prittstick, he will work within what he knows you and the horse can and should do and teach you to do more without scaring either of you. Not every rider is going to do exactly the same thing over whatever he has set in a typical mixed ability clinic group. Spread fences can have back rails removed, ground lines can be rolled in and the directions on how to do the excercise changed for each horse/rider as best suits them and his plan to improve them.
And I doubt he will put a low group including Ponies and young/green horses over any water so relax on that one.
Don't worry about that. Just be truthful when he asks about the horse-which he routinely does at the beginning of the session.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Thank you all so much. I think if I had grown up with his teachings and the US methodology it wouldnt be bothering me so much, but now I am aware I am entering into a lesson with a guru and dont want to cock it up!! I will be the only person over the course of the clinic who has never done hunter classes haha!
You'll be fine. Have fun. He doesn't like riders who use their seat to send a horse forward. "Use your leg, not your seat!" You'll hear that a lot. Work on your Shoulder In, it's a favorite of his, and work on your 2 point if you ride like most Europeans, sitting very deep. He likes a modified half seat or true two point to the jumps.
I just got done with his clinic down at the WEF show grounds. Be prepared for a lot of no stirrup work, gymnastics, lead changing, and liver pools. If you want a list of thing he likes and things he doesn't, how to dress, and what to put your horse in, just email me! firstname.lastname@example.org