Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Start of a VERY busy weekend

OK, so the weekend starts with a trip to Harrisburg for the Horse World Expo. I will be riding my Thoroughbred Dee Dee in Tiffany and Michael Richardson's gymnastics demonstration. I arrive at the Farm Show Complex just in time to sign in and check in with Michael to make sure everything is running smoothly.

As I quickly groom and tack up Dee Dee, I realize that since we have both just arrived she has not been able to see the ring where we will be performing. So we might put on a quite a show! I will ride with one other girl that rides a Warmblood pony stallion, so I do my very best to keep my mare away from him because I don’t want to put on that kind of show!
There is nothing that I love more than walking into the ring with my horse when I know that the stands are filled with people. It is an incredible adrenaline rush to ride in front of such a large crowd...I love it! When we step into the ring Dee Dee behaves exactly the way I expect her to-a tad bit wild. We begin our warm up at the walk, then trot and then she decides that a spook, a buck and a gallop across the ring will be what she needs to get away from all the scary things in the grandstands around her. I have spent years riding Dee Dee so I know to that I must relax and put her to work. It takes a while to settle her down but once I am able to keep her attention, she is excellent - athletic and forward.

The demo starts off with ground rails down the center of the arena. After we trot through them a few times to set the pace and timing, the rails are raised into cross rails and verticals in a gymnastic format. The biggest issue that I am having with my mare is that she will not stretch her neck over the jumps so she is rushing and jumping very flat. Michael recognizes that because I am tense, Dee is tense as well. She can not stretch into my hand because I am just too rigid through my arms and shoulders. Well, Michael has a solution to that problem!

The final exercise that Dee and I attempt is the gymnastic with no reins...yes that's right NO REINS! Given her attitude early in the ride I am apprehensive about letting go and getting run away with in front of a crowd. But to my surprise, she is excellent and we accomplish exactly what Michael wants. Once I trust that she won't bolt through the line, she is able to use her neck and body efficiently getting nicely supple and round. This is the mark of a good trainer - he can see exactly what is needed and he finds a creative approach to the problem.
This is not the first time I have ridden with Tiffany and Michael as I also rode with them in Maryland for other clinics and each time I had a fabulous time. If you ever get a chance to ride with them, I highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity. They are both kind and very talented trainers.
Stay tuned for Saturday's adventure - I have a feeling that it will be an exciting one!


At Sun Apr 08, 01:48:00 PM GMT-5, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came to the expo and was able to watch you ride with the Richardsons. I was impressed with how calm you were when you entered the arena on your bouncing, wide-eyed horse. I was also impressed at how detailed and interesting the clinic was. I am planning on going to the expo in NY, will you be there as well? Will you be riding with Tiffany and Michael again?


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