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Ritter Clinic Report

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  • Ritter Clinic Report

    Donning my flame-proof suit, I offer my perspective on the Ritter clinic I rode in this weekend. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

    This was one of the best lessons I have ever had, and I hope to be able to clinic with Thomas again this summer/fall. I planned and schooled for this clinic for weeks because I was afraid my NSH mare, Ivy, would blow up and we would provide the entertainment section of the clinic. As it was, she was very relaxed for her, about a 4 where 10 is tornado wind behavior. I think the barn setup helped with this. The stalls are adjacent to and viewing into the indoor arena, with each stall separated by small wire mesh. She could watch everything that was going on, and since I switched my ride time from 11:30 to 2:15 she had plenty of time to relax.

    I rode without flash and on a longer rein than I have used lately. This seemed to have the effect of encouraging Ivy to round and think about coming
    on the bit more readily than she normally would. The only time I was instructed to pick up more rein was before cantering, and even then the rein
    was longer than our usual for walk/trot.

    The first thing corrected was a loosening of the girth by one hole, followed by shortening my stirrups one hole. Thomas tried to adjust my leg position, knee more in and leg back. This was quite difficult to do while maintaining my seat position. I just love finding these previously undiscovered muscles, but it gives me something else to work on. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] This was followed up by
    reminders to sit back (one of my weaknesses), which somehow put me in a slightly different sitting position than I have experienced before. At the end of our lesson I thanked Thomas for helping me get the best sitting trot I have ever achieved on this horse!

    Dr. Ritter asked questions of Ivy's capabilities and problems, and something of my riding level. I told him Ivy knew more than I did and what she was
    working on when I got her. Our initial lap was quite quick with Ivy racing around ignoring me. He started us on small transitions of walk-halt,
    trot-halt, with the halt requested through alternating reins rather than both reins at the same time. We progressed to 20m. circles, and voltes at walk and trot with Ivy showing some of her counterflexion. His fix for this was to lighten the outside rein, which was more quickly effective than previous fixes.

    On to more intensive transitions: full pass, from centerline to wall, turn on forehand, halt, reinback to trot, in varying sequence, and then done every two strides, and into tight corners I thought even small and flexible Ivy couldn't negotiate. It got both of us very focused and she was quite soft. Back to trot circles and shoulder in, spiraling in and out. Ivy would volunteer a canter when she did not care to exert herself as much as asked, and I managed to stay out of two point when she did this, another hard-to-break habit, after the first time. We finished with a bit of canter work, getting soft and non-racing departs. I think we could have gone on for
    another 15 mins. even though the work was pretty intensive, especially those tight transitions. One of the auditors told me later that to her my ride looked like a lot of work, very difficult, but it didn't seem that way to me nor feel like it was for Ivy.

    I have nothing negative to say about Mr. Ritter, the venue, the horses, their treatment, or anything else. It was a wonderful experience and I took away lessons upon which, judging from my ride at home last night, my horse and I can build (instead of fight) our way up the scale. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
    Proud adopter of Win
    http://www.defhr.org
    Days End Farm Horse Rescue
    Protection for Horses - Education for People
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Donning my flame-proof suit, I offer my perspective on the Ritter clinic I rode in this weekend. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

    This was one of the best lessons I have ever had, and I hope to be able to clinic with Thomas again this summer/fall. I planned and schooled for this clinic for weeks because I was afraid my NSH mare, Ivy, would blow up and we would provide the entertainment section of the clinic. As it was, she was very relaxed for her, about a 4 where 10 is tornado wind behavior. I think the barn setup helped with this. The stalls are adjacent to and viewing into the indoor arena, with each stall separated by small wire mesh. She could watch everything that was going on, and since I switched my ride time from 11:30 to 2:15 she had plenty of time to relax.

    I rode without flash and on a longer rein than I have used lately. This seemed to have the effect of encouraging Ivy to round and think about coming
    on the bit more readily than she normally would. The only time I was instructed to pick up more rein was before cantering, and even then the rein
    was longer than our usual for walk/trot.

    The first thing corrected was a loosening of the girth by one hole, followed by shortening my stirrups one hole. Thomas tried to adjust my leg position, knee more in and leg back. This was quite difficult to do while maintaining my seat position. I just love finding these previously undiscovered muscles, but it gives me something else to work on. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] This was followed up by
    reminders to sit back (one of my weaknesses), which somehow put me in a slightly different sitting position than I have experienced before. At the end of our lesson I thanked Thomas for helping me get the best sitting trot I have ever achieved on this horse!

    Dr. Ritter asked questions of Ivy's capabilities and problems, and something of my riding level. I told him Ivy knew more than I did and what she was
    working on when I got her. Our initial lap was quite quick with Ivy racing around ignoring me. He started us on small transitions of walk-halt,
    trot-halt, with the halt requested through alternating reins rather than both reins at the same time. We progressed to 20m. circles, and voltes at walk and trot with Ivy showing some of her counterflexion. His fix for this was to lighten the outside rein, which was more quickly effective than previous fixes.

    On to more intensive transitions: full pass, from centerline to wall, turn on forehand, halt, reinback to trot, in varying sequence, and then done every two strides, and into tight corners I thought even small and flexible Ivy couldn't negotiate. It got both of us very focused and she was quite soft. Back to trot circles and shoulder in, spiraling in and out. Ivy would volunteer a canter when she did not care to exert herself as much as asked, and I managed to stay out of two point when she did this, another hard-to-break habit, after the first time. We finished with a bit of canter work, getting soft and non-racing departs. I think we could have gone on for
    another 15 mins. even though the work was pretty intensive, especially those tight transitions. One of the auditors told me later that to her my ride looked like a lot of work, very difficult, but it didn't seem that way to me nor feel like it was for Ivy.

    I have nothing negative to say about Mr. Ritter, the venue, the horses, their treatment, or anything else. It was a wonderful experience and I took away lessons upon which, judging from my ride at home last night, my horse and I can build (instead of fight) our way up the scale. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
    Proud adopter of Win
    http://www.defhr.org
    Days End Farm Horse Rescue
    Protection for Horses - Education for People

    Comment


    • #3
      EXCELLENT review Rescuemom! (And how bold of you to post considering the previous "Ritter debacle"! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]) Thanks for the first hand review. If anybody comes flaming,... I'll bring my fire hose.

      Comment


      • #4
        (rileyt, you should know better than to make promises you cannot keep. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] )

        It sounds like you had a great time and learned a lot and are communicating more effectively with your horse. Isn't this what riding and clinicing is all about? Keep going. Keep enjoying yourself!

        Thanks for sharing.
        "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

        Comment


        • #5
          "Building (instead of fighting) our way up the scale"

          Isn't that the main point? No matter what trainer, methods, or tack you are using - if you and your horse are happily working together and making progress - that's what's important!

          I'm glad your clinic went so well! Thanks for posting a great report. I too have a mare that I am focusing on working with instead of fighting with. She is quite independent minded and the approach to training her is a bit unconventional but works. As long as riding stays fun for both of us and we are moving forward, I'm happy! Good luck with your riding.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for sharing that. What's an NSH mare? I can't figure it out.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'll answer for rescuemom, because I know the answer, ta da!! Ivy is a National Show Horse -- half Arab and half Saddlebred.
              If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
              Desmond Tutu

              Comment


              • #8
                what's a full pass?

                great clinic report. THAT;s what a clinic should be like for folks. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

                bONeatincookies
                \"It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that whatever you say to them they always purr.\" - Lewis Carroll
                \"When a cat shuts its eyes, you disappear.\" - Leonard Michaels

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  bon, I'd never heard of a full pass either. I just guessed it was (supposed to be) a straight sideways movement, and sure enough, that's what he wanted. This was done between the quarterline and the wall, or a couple between centerline and wall, at the walk.
                  Proud adopter of Win
                  http://www.defhr.org
                  Days End Farm Horse Rescue
                  Protection for Horses - Education for People

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In a thread on the Classical Dressage Forum, Dr. Ritter explains that a full-pass is a diagnostic tool to see whether the horse is accepting the calf aids. He says it improves obedience and can help bring the horse in front of the leg.

                    I have never tried a full-pass nor has any trainer ever requested I do one. If I tried this exercise on my current mount, it would screw up my lateral work, I think. I have enough trouble keeping forward at half-pass. I don't see how this exercise can help *get* the horse in front of the leg, although I think it could certainly show that it wasn't.

                    I currently have a problem using too much calf aid, so I'm not going to attempt full pass any time soon.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      but why'd he have you loosen the girth?
                      Otherwise. thanks so much for the report!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        He had me loosen the girth because he thought it was too tight. He was probably correct, even though I use a eurogirth. My horse has been going through weight fluctuations lately and I quite likely did overtighten one hole.

                        He did say a too-tight girth is something he often sees, and cringed when I told him my trainer often tightens more than I do. He prefers string girths, FWIW.
                        Proud adopter of Win
                        http://www.defhr.org
                        Days End Farm Horse Rescue
                        Protection for Horses - Education for People

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          what determines if the girth is too tight?

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Would you stop asking the difficult questions! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] I'll have to guess here and say that TRitter has developed an eye for seeing a too-tight girth. I'd also guess that too-tight means tigher than what is needed to keep the saddle in place. Most of the "theory" of girth tightening I've been taught boils down to "keep tightening until you can't tighten no more." Maybe that isn't correct; it certainly wouldn't be if we were discussing how tight to make the belts around our waists. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]
                            Proud adopter of Win
                            http://www.defhr.org
                            Days End Farm Horse Rescue
                            Protection for Horses - Education for People

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When you tighten the belt around your waist you don't have any ribs stopping it from digging into your organs and you also are not trying to carry around a heavy, animated object attached to your belt.

                              I've always been a firm believer in keeping the girth as tight as possible so that the saddle does not shift. Having it rub or slide creates a potential for sores/rubs and since most riders are crooked, your are shifting the saddle with them and throwing the horse even further out of balance. Not to mention how unsafe a loose girth can be in a dangerous situation. They were never invented just for looks, but are rather an important part of the safety and comfort for both horse and rider.

                              JMHO
                              "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                On one of the occasions when I was having my saddle restuffed, the saddler commented to me that my girth was too tight. I asked him about shifting, and he commented that, if the saddle was fitted properly, it would not shift or rub and that, ideally, (I'm not trying this [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] ) you should be able to ride without a girth.
                                If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                                Desmond Tutu

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  In an ideal world. Too bad I can't seem to have a saddle that fits that perfectly. *sigh* What ever happened to the day when everything was custom made???
                                  "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    (I think!. I've also been taught that the girth is tightened as much as possible to avoid rubbing. And, have landed first on my mare's neck, and then on a little oxer as a result of a saddle slipping years ago, I've become a wee bit paranoid about having the girth tight enough.
                                    However, I just read an article in the Smithsonian about the training of novice riders for the park police. These riders are trained, in part, WITHOUT any girth at all on the premise that, if you sit properly, the saddle won't move.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Congratulations rescuemom, glad to hear you had donned the flame suit and made an honest through report.
                                      Velvet you can order custom anytime [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
                                      I know my horse is very naughty when his girth is too tight.
                                      I was taught if you have a double ended elastic girth, perhaps that is h/j not dressage, to never tighten the girth too tight. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]
                                      http://community.webshots.com/user/cotswoldjr
                                      http://temp.hillcresttrainingnet.off...m/default.aspx
                                      [url]
                                      Starman Babies

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        But they don't always get it right and the cost is prohibitive. Too bad the saddler isn't right on the corner, like they once were. (Well, at least they aren't in my neck of the woods.)
                                        "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                                        Comment

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