I know everyone else was on fairly quiet, well behaved horses so it was easy to hold your arm here and look to the left, and so on. Susanne's work focuses on helping the rider balance and get in touch with her body by performing numerous exercises. Susanne couldn't do any of the exercises with me because I was on Mr. Hyde. There was no way I could hold my hand anywhere but on the reins as I fought my freight train.
The problem is, I went to the clinic hoping that the clinician could help me work Sydey through his away from home anxiety. I knew that he was going to behave exactly as he did. That's been his M.O. for the past year; Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde.
I am not sure we learned a whole lot. When I got home, I spent an hour and a half debriefing with JL. Based on what I was able to tell her about the experience, we were able to put together a good over-view of what had happened and why. Between the two of us, we plotted out a solid course of action for the next two months that I am really excited about. JL's opinion of clinics is that if a rider takes away even two things from the clinic, then it was a success. Our discussion and resulting plan was thing number one.
On top of that, here are two additional things that I found useful:
- when Sydney is over the top anxious and completely running away from me, put him in a figure of eight that has two 10-meter circles. At the point where the two circles touch, think almost walk, and then change direction.
- The other exercise that really helped was posting in this rhythm; up, up, down, up, up, down, up, up, down. This really helped secure my lower leg and slowed Sydney down into a slightly more relaxed rhythm.
Susanne von Dietze said many other things that were helpful: always think of helping your horse; move as much as you want to, but do it in the rhythm; and keep your shoulders over your pelvis so you don't get left behind the action.
I guess the clinic was useful. I wish that I had walked away feeling empowered and more knowledgeable. Instead, I left feeling defeated. It was only after discussing the whole thing with JL that I felt energized and ready for more.
Here is an interesting series of photos that my pal, CT, shot on Day 1.
I just have to be able to stick all the bucks and whirls until that actually starts to happen!
I wrote this the other day. Since coming back from the clinic, I have had more time to think and practice what I saw. Holy cow! I learned a lot more than I thought. Before you tell me to sell Sydney, give me a few days to tell you more!