Friday, May 14, 2010

Ricky Quinn Clinic~ Day 1

Ricky Quinn came to Washington April 9-12 for an intense 4 day colt starting and horsemanship clinic. I rode Starlett during his previous clinic in Washington about 5 or 6 years ago, and it was quite the experience then. I was still new to the Vaquero style of natural horsemanship and attending his clinic was a great opportunity to dip in further. This time I learned a lot more because I knew what to look for while watching not only him, but the other participants and their horses. The subtleties in their cues and releases were much easier to notice now that I have had years to study other clinicians and horsemen.

Day 1 started with Ricky warming up his blue roan mare While checking her out, he introduced himself and answered any questions that anyone had for him. Then he got to work with the colts.

A cute little sorrel pony was up first. He was let loose in the arena and Ricky worked with him a bit and finally roping him.
The first task was to check out the little guy's hind quarters; making sure he can crossover behind nice and deep.
After getting both the hind and front quarters on his mare, Ricky dismounted and made sure he could get it from down below too. Once that checked out he saddles the pony up and moved him out a bit; changing gaits, speed, and direction in order to get him to let down.

After finding a good spot to stop, Ricky kicked the pony out of the roundpen and into the arena and in came the next colt, a beautiful grey Arabian. This guy had no interest what-so-ever in Ricky; he just wanted out of the arena. You can see that his mind is everywhere else but with Ricky, even once roped.

While Ricky worked on getting hind and front quarters for the arab, the pony had other ideas...

... *sigh* Ponies...

Anyway, in order to try and get a little more on the handler and not on everything else going on, Ricky worked the arab along the panels by asking him to squeeze through himself and the rails. With respect for space, of course. That took a while because he kept wanting to push his shoulder in toward Ricky. After figuring out that wasn't the answer he straightened out and worked hard to move his hind and front feet WHEN ASKED! He gave a nice try here, look at that stretch on the loose lead!

The arab gave Ricky some decent effort by the end so he was saddled up, moved out, and then kicked out with the pony into the arena. A nice looking sorrel paint was next into the roundpen. Ricky just checked him out, saddled him up, and kicked him out too. The paint was respectful, considerate, and did everything Ricky asked of him.

Once everyone was in the arena, Ricky remounted the roan mare and flagged the group until they sought Ricky out as a group. Then everyone was caught and released back to their owners for a well deserved rest.

For lunch Subway was calling my name. After filling my belly, I headed back to the clinic facility and readied Mercy for the afternoon class. A good groom, some finally saddle adjustments, and we were on our way over to the arena. After everyone introduced themselves and got situated, we were all asked what we would like to work on during the clinic or what we were specifically having issues with that needed help. My issues were getting the lope figured out and getting Mercy hobble trained. Ricky seemed very excited to help everyone and most were looking forward to the hobbling lesson to come the following day.

It was time to get to work. Ricky showed us how to get the horse's hind and front quarters while walking around us in a circle. Mercy and I have done lots of this, so we were really bored. It was good to revisit the basics, but we were ready to move on to new things. Every now and then I would let her take a break and just relax, or I asked her to do some other, more advanced maneuvers to change things up a bit. She let me know what she thought about the whole ordeal- ears pinned, moving as slow as she could, glaring at me, and wrinkling her lips... oh mare.

I don't blame her. That is pretty much what we did the rest of the afternoon. We stayed back in a corner and while 'resting' we watched Ricky help the other participants with their horses. Some of the common issues were having too short of a lead, allowing the horse to crowd you, and/or allowing the horse to get sloppy when changing directions and not really getting to the hind. It was interesting watching and observing the other participants as they 'got it.' Way to go guys!

And that was the first day! No riding and all groundwork. And that was just fine. No point jumping into the saddle until you know the basics on the ground. I was sure excited to start again the next day, and hopefully try some new exercises!

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