Cross Country with Boyd Martin

Monday, July 25, 2011

Well, it time to start moving on with things.  As hard as it is, and as much as I still want to just cry everyday, I'm still here and I still have a life to lead.  And the first step will be recapping the amazing clinic in which I rode with Boyd Martin.

Boyd came back to Northern Ohio at the end of June for a 2 day clinic at White North Stables and South Farm.  When he was last here in October of 2010, I took Miss Kaye and we had a blast riding with him.  Well this year, I was going to pass on the clinic.  $300 is just a lot of money.  But as the date got closer and Katie was getting ready with Kaye, I really wanted to ride.  So I talked to Bonnie and we decided to take Bugsy along for the second day and ride cross country at South Farm.

Wednesday morning we were up nice and early to get on the road.  Katie was scheduled to ride at 7:30 and then I would be in the 9:00 group.  Well when we got there, we heard the sad news that Boyd's father had taken a turn for the worst after his accident and so Boyd was leaving early to catch a flight home to Australia.  So Katie and I both ended up riding at 9:00 with about 5 training/prelim riders.  On one hand it was nice to still get to ride with Boyd.  On the other hand it was kinda disappointing to have to be in a group with the prelim riders, I don't feel we got as much attention.  But what can you do.  The poor guy was just trying to work with as many people as he could.  I give him a lot of credit for still continuing with the clinic after getting that kind of news.

We were on our own for the flat warm up, which was good.  I wasn't that big of a fan of the way he warmed us up on the flat last year.  Especially with our horses.  Bugs was a little pumped when we first headed out.  He would not stand still so that I could get on even.  But once we got out to the field and started on the small circles, he settled down into the work nicely.

Then Boyd came to get us and we headed out to start jumping.  We started over a small coop, which Bugsy was not at all impressed.  But then as we moved into the next field, Boyd had us string together a couple fences.  A little coop, around to a log, back to a bigger coop and then finishing up over another bigger coop.  Bugs was awesome!  Now that he was jumping some novice fences he was much happier.  He did get moving a bit between some of the fences, just having fun.  But he came back to a nice controlled canter for me when I asked.

Then it was time for banks.  All I can say is I'm getting pissed at myself with my bank issues!  First Boyd asked us to just walk up onto the bank and then step down off the beginner novice bank.  And of course I had a stop the first time.  Turned Bugs around and we did it again.  Then Boyd had us trot down the bank, land in a canter, and with out gathering our reins jump the novice coop that was about 6 or 7 strides away.  Then we turned around and jumped the coop and up the bank.  We did those both a couple times and then headed down to the water.

Bugs was a trooper at the water.  He trotted right through without needing any encouragement, which was nice as water is not his favorite thing.  We trotted through a couple times and then jumped the beginner novice bank up out of the water.  Turned around and jumped it down into the water.  We jumped that bank and swung around to jump a stadium fence that was set up at the edge of the water.  Finally we finished with a little mini course.  Trot through the water, jump the stadium fence, go around the pond and jump a log, loop back around heading towards the water and jump a flower box and then finish up with the novice down bank into the water and across to the stadium fence.  And this is where Bugs made me love him even more.  We jumped the stadium fence and he just settled into this nice hand gallop over to the log, didn't pull didn't try and speed up, he was just content to run at the speed I told him.  He popped over the log nicely and settled back into that nice gallop to the flower box.  Now after the flower box it was kinda funny.  Part of the field next to the water was roped off because it was VERY wet and Sarah was trying to save the footing for the horse trials that next weekend.  So to get to the down bank you had to ride close to the ropes and it still set you up at an angle to the bank.  But it set you up nicely to jump the prelim down bank.  And so that's what Bugsy thought we were doing.  lol  I did manage to get him over to the novice bank, only because I'm not sure I would have made it down the prelim one still on his back!

All in all it was a great clinic.  I learned a lot from Boyd, and I had a blast riding Bugsy.