Our first ever clinic was last Saturday!
I was nervous, but decided not to have any expectations for the day. Just to stay safe and have fun. Charm was very unconfident for most of the day. This was her first time in a clinic setting and she was very aware of her surroundings. We did a little reining work with Wendy Woldt. Nothing fancy, but just trying to control the front end VS the the hind end.. the basics. Stuff we know and and do. Then Wendy wanted us to canter circles each way.. well Charm was a little heard bound that day (Addie was riding Schatzi for the day) and she was not listening or even wanting try. Wendy noticed this and asked me to put her on the circle again and to not steer her and let her go over by the other horses.. when she did, I was to make it very uncomfortable for her to be by them.. when she left the area to the middle of the arena I was to ride quietly and leave her alone. Well.. it worked for the most part.. I was a little freaked because at some points we were galloping around and out of control. At one point she was heading for the fence line and kept on cantering all the other times, but this time she stopped quickly and I didn’t.. I ended up eating dirt, but luckily fell in to about 8″ of sand for a soft landing. Yikes!
Then to the adventure for the day. The cows. Charm was completely freaked. We started by walking/trotting around them to get them accustom to the horses. Then we all faced the cows and started slowly going thru the middle one by one. Charm woudn’t budge forward.. so the guy in charge helped me by grabbing one of my reins and leading charm from his horse, very slow and easy. The first few times she bolted through (Ahh!!) We took breaks in between, and by about the 10th time, she went through without him leading (he was still next to us) and she was very quiet. I am sure I was adding to the drama because I was gripping and pulling on her out of my own fear! I didn’t even realize it.. but after I made a really good effort to relax.. she relaxed too. The end result was that I completely LOVED the cow stuff. I want to do it again and work on Charm’s confidence, but have no idea when I will have another opportunity. 😦 I wish Dave Ellis had a cow working clinic this summer. The guy in charge commented that a lot horses that act like Charm are the horses that once are confident become completely awesome with cows because they are so interested. I hope that’s true!
Anyway, I’ve got to get out more.. she needs her confidence built in these situations (and I need some confidence builders too!). I only went on Saturday and it left me completely exhausted, but I learned a ton!