Boyd Martin Clinic

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So the Boyd Martin clinic was amazing.  Really that's all I can say about it.  He is wonderful to clinic with.  Such enthusiasm (and in drizzling rain!) and he is able to explain and describe things in a way you can really understand.

So we left the barn about 6 am and it took us about 2 hours to get to White North Stables.  It's located in Chagrin Falls, OH which is just beautiful horse country.  The barn itself was a beautiful old barn.  Downside of that was the indoor was pretty tiny.  So that meant we were jumping in the outdoor ring.  And it was raining.  Oh well, a little rain isn't going to get in the way of me enjoying my ride with Boyd.  Tiffany and Bugsy were up first in the training/prelim group.  And unfortunately I didn't get to see much of their lesson at all.  Rachel and I were in the group right after, so we had to head up to the trailer to get ready.  Kaye was ready to go!  She would barely stand still to let me tack her up.  Anyway we finally got tacked up and headed down the driveway to the riding ring.  Kaye and I walked some circles outside the ring to warm up while Tiff's group was finishing up.  Finally it was our turn!

After we had all introduced ourselves, Boyd sent us out onto the rail to warm up at a trot.  After a few big trot circles he asked us to trot as slowly as we could, almost but not quite walking.  And then back to a forward working trot.  Then we were given the cue to canter.  At the canter we worked on both lengthening the stride and then shortening it.  Then we got to start jumping.  We started over two low (like 1'-1'6") verticals, set an easy 3 strides apart.  We trotted through them a couple of times and then we cantered through.  The first time at the canter he asked for 3 forward canter strides.  Then we had to come through again only putting in 4 balanced, shortened strides.  That was hard for Kaye.  First of all, small fences, yeah she's not a fan.  And we all know Kaye would much rather take a long distance than a short one.  She's very hard to shorten up once she starts jumping.  I think we might have gotten the 4 strides once.  Maybe.  Oh well.  Then we moved on to a low 1 stride combination, then go down and make a big roll back turn to a gate and then a right turn back through the 1 stride, stopping before the oxer that was five strides after the combination.  Kaye was not too happy to be stopped before the jump.  But we turned in the air nicely over the gate.  So that was cool.  We did another little mini course with the gate and the oxer to the one stride and then around to the two little mini verticals.  The final thing we worked on was the two corners.  First we jumped the one and then did half a figure eight back to jump the second one.  Where I proceeded to have two stops.  All my fault I know.  Finally I came around and jumped it and then we looped around and jumped the two corners together.  Which Kaye and I did perfectly.  So that was a good note to end on.

After we took care of the ponies, we headed inside the barn to get something to eat.  That was pretty cool, we all got to sit around and talk with Boyd.  And then after warming up a bit we headed back down to the ring to watch the rest of the lessons.  Tiffany was getting a migraine and so Bonnie took her and Billy over to South Farm to stable the horses.  Astrid, Rachel and I stayed back to watch the afternoon sessions.  It was really cool to get to stand in the ring and listen to everything Boyd was saying.  So worth standing in the rain for hours :)  For the last lesson of the day we headed back to the barn to watch some dressage rides in the indoor.  Sarah from South Farm had brought over her chestnut horse, Gorta Glen, to ride in a group with a couple other ladies.  Sarah was really the only dressage rider in the group.  She looked great with Glen.  After the last lesson finished we headed over to South Farm to feed ponies and tuck them in for the night.

Luckily our first ride on Tuesday wasn't until 11:15, so we didn't have to leave quite so early in the morning.  We made it out of the barn by 8:00 and so we were at South Farm about 9:30.  While everyone else was unloading the quad and helping Tiffany hook up the trailer, I headed into the barn to give the ponies their breakfast.  Kaye had managed to eat her grain at some point during the night, and Bugsy sort of picked at his.    They all were enjoying the hay though.  Once everyone was grained, we climbed on the quad and headed out to the cross country course to watch the first lesson.  Tiff was able to watch a little bit, but then she had to head back to the barn to get Bugsy ready to go.  Tiffany and Bugs were the stars of their group.  They both just went out and did everything without any problems.  I especially give Tiff a lot of credit because she was jumping some things that she had never seen before.  Like the coffin complex, and the double banks.  Everyone was very much impressed with how well he had gone.

After Tiffany's group finished, it was lunch time and time for Rachel and I to get ready.  Since Kaye had been blanketed all night, she didn't need much grooming, just a quick brushing.  I got her tacked up and then got myself dressed.  I figured we would have time to walk down to the cross country course and start warming up.  But after we walked around the building, we saw that the car had already left.  So Rachel and I booked it to the start.  There were three of us in the group this time.  And we started by just trotting on a nice big circle. Of course Kaye didn't want to trot, she wanted to gallop.  I had just gotten her back to the trot when Boyd asked for the canter.  And Kaye was off to the races again.  I decided to keep her on a small circle to try and  get her to relax and slow down.  Well Boyd wants us on a large circle and he wants us to go into a light seat (aka two point)  Yeah, not exactly helping my case to get Kaye to stop trying to race.  So I kinda just pretended I didn't hear that part.  Then he had us pop over a little beginner novice coop from the trot.  Of course Kaye has to try racing away afterwards, but as soon as I started to turn her she slowed right down and came back to the trot.  We jumped the baby coop a couple of times and then Boyd had us move up to the novice coop.  Slightly bigger jump, so Kaye was a little bit happier with it.

So we jumped the novice coop a couple of times off of each lead and then Boyd had us loop around and jump the hanging log.

Yup that would be a training fence I'm jumping.  Pretty cool huh?  And then we looped around and jump another training fence.  Luckily with all the turns and loops, Kaye was staying pretty manageable.  After that Boyd had us put a little course together.  We started over the coop, galloped across to the novice house, then a right turn to the training rolltop, another right turn to a novice rolltop, another right turn to a training coop in the tree line and then finally gallop back to the training log. 

Well Kaye was really enjoying those galloping lanes.  After the second rolltop I couldn't even get her to turn or anything, we ended up galloping past the jump and had to loop back around to jump it.  She definitely hasn't forgotten about landing in a flat out gallop!  LOL  After we all did that , we headed over to the bank complex. 

Boyd had us start banks by just stepping up and down a tiny little baby bank.  Then we moved to trotting up the beginner novice bank.

After we trotted up the bank a few times, Boyd asked us to turn around and trot to the down bank, and then walk the last two strides and walk off it.  I won't lie, I was terrified at this point.  See I had fallen off X at a down bank while schooling at Jackie's about 4 years ago.  Completely my own fault, because I want to lean forward and go into my two point.  And so I tumbled off his shoulder and unfortunately I got tangled up in his legs and he stepped on my calf.  Luckily I wasn't seriously hurt, only bruised, although I did have to use crutches and stay off the leg for a week or so.  But ever since then I have been scared of down banks.  And I hadn't jumped one since then.  So yeah I was shaking a bit for this.  But Kaye was awesome and she walked right down the bank for me!

Wohoo!  I love my mare!  After we jumped the beginner novice down bank a couple of times, Boyd had us go around and do the novice banks, which was a bank up, one stride and then a bank down.  ran through that a few times and then on to the training banks.  We only did the training banks up, which was fine with me, not sure I would have been comfortable doing the down banks.  The training banks are a double bank up and then we looped around and did the novice up and down banks.

And so we finished up at the bank complex.  Time for the water!  First we just walked through.  Then Boyd had us step up the one novice bank and then we turned around, stepped down that bank and up the opposite one.  So we did that back and forth a couple of times.  And then we were to jump down into the water and then out over the opposite bank and then jump the coop that was a dozen or so strides away.

Well we did the banks just fine, but complete fail at the coop.  I did exactly what I do at home, I got scared for some reason and pulled Kaye off to the right.  Not just once but three times.  Finally the other girl had to give me a lead over it.  Just pisses me off cause it makes Kaye look bad, which I hate especially cause I know it's me.  Anyway, after that embarrassing moment we looped back to the water and jumped the training bank down into the water.

Then we ended the cross country lesson with another little course.  We started out with a log and then the first coop, gallop over to the house, and then right turn to the rolltop, loop around to the novice banks, left turn to the second rolltop and then left down to the water, training bank into the water, novice bank out and then finish with the coop.  Kaye and I did great until we got to the freaking coop.  Again we kept having run-outs to the right. Which I know is my fault, I've created a habit because I do that all the time when I'm not sure about a fence and so Kaye was taking advantage of me.  Like I said before it just pisses me off, not the way I wanted to end my lesson.

All in all though the clinic was amazing.  It was incredible to get to ride with Boyd, I really did learn a lot from him.  And I'm so excited to go back next year.  Hopefully with a lot more confidence and so I just go out and wow him with my skills.