Thursday, May 15, 2014 – Spring Lessons with Conrad Schumacher.
We’re headed back to The Tempel Lipizzans for another round of Mimi’s lessons with Conrad Schumacher this weekend! Here are some nice photos (credit Chuck Swan – Swan Studio) from our lessons two weeks ago, along with the homework Conrad had for Mimi. We’re excited for Session 2!
Conrad Schumacher’s homework for Zorro and I was: 1. Acceptance of the leg to make aids come through predictably, 2. Produce better relaxation in the collection by stretching and retaking. This is especially important in the canter. 3. Maintaining straightness in the bending lines, especially in the transitions.
Conrad told me that it was time to take the training wheels off in the changes with Hook! Even if there are some mistakes they must be done straight & not manufactured. For this to be successful, I must keep Hook in front of the leg to allow for the preparation of movements. We also need more equal bending in the half pass and more activity in the half steps. OK – we will do it!
Overall Conrad was pleased with my Hanoverian mare, Holeandra. She is much steadier with more consistent uphill balance. Her lateral work is coming along nicely, although not quite symmetrical. She is producing clean single changes. My homework was to help Holeandra sort out the difference between a collecting aid & an aid asking for a change of gait. I must make my transitions more smoothly. Holeandra would much rather go from canter to school canter to walk than from canter to trot. Likewise she prefers trot to half steps to halt rather than trot to walk. Conrad said “It Must be So!” in his roof-raising voice. Yikes! Oh – I also should mention that my rein back can get somewhat stuck. It all is better heading in to this next set of lessons.
Monday, March 24, 2014 – Scenes from San Diego
A friend, Gail Wild, came to visit the ocean with me. I realize this isn’t much for a tan and that I probably should be wearing a swimsuit instead of breeches to the beach! You can take the girl out of ND…
We got a chance to see some seals at the beach.
Holeandra and I schooling at Sea Breeze:
Zorro and I schooling at Sea Breeze:
More photos of Holeandra and I schooling (click on a photo to view full-size photo gallery):
Zorro and I schooling in the beautiful California evenings.
Zorro and I on an urban trail ride.
Holeandra, with a fresh clip. Is she a country gal, a city gal or Cali chic? Probably just happy to be out of the cold.
Here is a lovely Contucci mare we saw at the Del Mar show. I really like her. We have two Contucci girls at home, PR Conkystadora and PR Conradina.
I’ll be heading back to North Dakota the first week of April, just in time for spring!
Friday, February 28, 2014 – California or Bust!
Here I am almost a month into my California adventure and I am just now getting to my blog! Can I use the excuse that I have been busy? The only time I sit down is driving between Arroyo del Mar and Sea Breeze, the two stables I am working at in San Diego. How about that I have not seen a TV or computer since I left North Dakota? I will tell you from the start that the temps are averaging 75 degrees during the day. Take that ND!
So let me bring you up to speed. I decided to bring two horses with me to California so we can continue training: Holeandra, my Hanoverian mare, and Zorro, Sally Henry’s American Warmblood stallion.
My mom and I left a day late to avoid the blizzard in Colorado. Despite our best efforts, it sure stopped us in our tracks in Cheyenne. We had a late start the next morning, not wanting to be the first tracks on I-25. It was a great travel day. The horses were drinking well and we finally left the snow behind. Gallup, NM was our next overnight. That left a bunch of miles to cover on day three. It was smooth sailing until we got to the mountains. There are some impressive mountain passes leading into San Diego on I8, but I don’t suggest navigating them in the dark with a big trailer. It was scary! The total miles for the trip were 2,040.
This girl from the northern plains thought that horses were kept outside of town and that the land had to be relatively flat. Wrong! We wound our way through multi-million dollar homes on the side of cliffs to find Sea Breeze stable. Everything, including the stables, is terraced into the side of these hills like beads strung on a necklace.
At Sea Breeze, Holeandra’s stall looks out on the outdoor cross ties so there is always activity to provide entertainment. Zorro got a huge stallion stall front and center in the main barn. He has proven to be very popular with the girls and I don’t mean mares. More on that later… Everything’s good!
Thursday, January 23, 2014
The FEI Trainers Conference was inspiration. Here are a last few great bits of insight from Steffen and a video to watch of the magic of his riding. We are coming home with great information and a feeling of rejuvenation.
We have to teach our horses to offer the movement.
Respectfully deeper and rounder – not long and low – not just giving the horse the reins.
The whip is to support collected work, not forward work.
When you use the spur make a difference.
I have never seen a horse that does a terrible walk pirouette and a good piaffe.
Cooperation is a better word. Submission is too much one way.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The second and final day of the FEI Trainers Conference is complete. Today was even better with more in-depth training and the horses and riders really stepping up. Watching Steffen Peters ride is so interesting and Scott Hassler shared some great input. Here are a few quotes from Scott. Stay tuned for more from Steffen. What a great day.
“Don’t take the weakness in a horse and try to make it a 10. It isn’t fair. It can cause them to shut down and take the spirit out of them. Instead think of exercises to make that weakness a little better each day and leave it there.”
“Don’t just visit a gait and then leave it. That is scary. Instead ask questions and wait for answers in the gait. Let the horse experience the gait.”
“Transitions that skip a gait enhance balance and loading. Gait-to-gait transitions promote swing and elasticity.”
Monday, January 20, 2014
“Luck is a beautiful thing but being in charge is better.” – Steffen Peters.
My notes from our session with Steffen Peters and a picture of him riding today, at the first day of the FEI Trainers Conference. The Chronicle of the Horse has a great story about the day.
Other Steffen Peters quotes from today:
“We teach the horse to not use their power against us.”
“When we have a happy mouth we have a happy horse.”
“Give the horse a job in the warm-up.”
“When a horse does a movement properly they will get stronger.”
“In training find the most productive frame for that horse.”
Sunday, January 19, 2014
The Young Rider Graduate Program is finished and there was a huge amount of great information presented. I have reams of notes and will give everyone more specifics very soon after I organize the material. This USDF blog is a great overview. Speakers ranged from an equine lawyer to business people to public relations managers to trainers. All had important points that affect dressage businesses. I met fabulous people; some of my own age and some mentors. Almost all had a message of seeing and dealing with all situations, especially the tough ones, positively. What a great couple days and I can’t wait for the trainer’s conference and to get outside in the warm weather. Thank you to all of the speakers, USDF, and TDF (The Dressage Foundation).
Friday, January 17, 2014
How can packing take this long! I never went to bed for the few hours I did have. I was too wound up to sleep & afraid if I did I would miss my 3:00 AM alarm. I love our Bismarck airport – so simple. The rest of the airports – not so much. I barely made the flight from Minneapolis to Kansas City and when Kansas City to Atlanta was late and I really almost missed my flight to West Palm Beach. It is silly how much the green grass pleases me. I was so glad to see it when I arrived.
I met up with Brianna Zwilling in Atlanta on our way to West Palm Beach and we rode over to the hotel together. That was a treat! We have not seen each other since the USDF Young Rider Clinics. I unpacked and tried to look human again. I even ironed. What a novelty! It was great to have a dinner this first night and started getting to know people. Tomorrow we are to meet at 7:00 for breakfast. Now it’s off to the shower and then to bed.
Thursday, February 16, 2015
I think North Dakota is trying to help me leave with wind gusts over 70 mph from the NW. I could just use a sail and end up in Florida! The temperature isn’t too bad at 15 degrees, but the wind is brutal. I always worry about leaving the horses, however I know they are in good hands. Chores are significantly easier without Cygnus. I don’t like that at all. It’s hard to even write it. The only other time I was this far south was to pick him up 10 years ago. I still can’t believe it he is gone. It feels so wrong. I think this trip is what I need to refresh and refocus. I have been keeping up with the events of Wellington from up here in the frozen north for years. Now I am thrilled to have the opportunity to attend this USDF Advanced Young Rider Graduate Program.
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