Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ricky Quinn Clinic~ Day 3

Ricky got started with the day by working with the grey arab. He was still waiting to see a dramatic change in his expression and concentration when someone works with him. The arab was still looking all over the place, even as he correctly went through the motions Ricky was asking for. He needed to put a little more effort into the relationship.

Just like the previous day, Ricky would release all pressure when the arab stopped away from the gate or looked in his direction. Otherwise Ricky was asking him to move out , applying pressure until he got an appropriate reaction from the arab. While this was going on, Ricky's friend Joel was working his paint colt in the arena. This little gelding is very sensitive and Ricky wanted Joel to rope him everywhere before getting on. Here, Joel had the colt roped by the flank. When he bucked Joel held the rope tight. The instant he just moved out flat and quiet, Joel would release the pressure in the rope and allow the colt to stop.

Over and over again, going both directions Joel continued to work with the paint until the rope meant nothing to him. Meanwhile, Ricky worked with the arab for a good 2 hours. He would offer to let the horse stop and when he did, would try to coax him off of the roundpen track, into the middle of the pen. The little gelding would a least face Ricky now and maybe offer a step or two into the pen, but would never fully commit.

Of course, the pony was paying attention! He was pretty patient waiting for his turn.

After a while you could notice the arab's attention slowly turning more toward Ricky than the outside of the pen. Notice how his ears are more alert toward Ricky than previously:

Ricky walked slowly, but deliberately, toward the arab's hip to try and entice him to turn toward his handler, thus moving toward the center of the pen. Ricky got a good try here:

Time was running out, so Ricky got a good enough try from the arab and called it good. He saddled up and jumped on. After checking him out, Ricky invited the pony and his owner into the pen to join them.
The pony's owner climbed aboard the pony and Ricky, still riding the arab, flagged them around. This allowed the little pony to carry his rider around without having to worry about being pulled on or banged around. She was just there for the ride. Ricky got them moving into many different gaits, focusing on transitions and then eventually the one rein stop. I was video taping for her, so no pics, but they did awesome!

Once they both dismounted and the horses left the arena, Ricky turned his attention to Joel. Ricky had Joel climb up and ride while he directed the horse from the ground. Joel just held on as Ricky asked for the hind quarters and then the front, waiting for the horse to face him.

The colt had quite a difficult time crossing over the hind when traveling to the right. He would start to cross over and then just stop. He got stuck.

Even when Ricky used quite a bit of lead pressure to help the horse move, it didn't really get it. After working at it for a few minutes. Ricky asked Joel a serious question, "Do you trust me?"

Ricky had a brilliant idea that would help Joel's horse understand pressure without using the lead. Use flags! I think Joel was quite nervous because Ricky was going to have him ride the horse loose in the pen while carrying two flags!

Using the flags he could direct the horse without adding any unnecessary pressure. Allowing his horse to move out freely and feel the rider's weight, while being directed by the flags, seems much less threatening to an already sensitive horse. Ricky stayed in the pen for support, but did very little to help.
Joel rode the colt around until he really let down... he was licking and chewing and looking to stop working. That was a great 'breakthrough' ride!

The afternoon horsemanship class started with very little ground work. I actually got into the arena earlier then we needed to because I wanted to hobble Mercy a couple more times before we started. I quickly roped her feet and slapped the hobbles on. It was quite windy that day and the siding on the arena slapped the framing pretty hard every now and then. Only once did it startle Mercy enough that she felt the need to move. Of course the hobbles grabbed hold and Mercy needed to figure it out. Her answer to the hobbles was to rear straight up, come straight down, and then stand. That's ok with me! At least she didn't try running off; I really didn't want her to fall down. I pet her once she calmed back down and stood there for 5 minutes or so. I took them off, did a little flag work with her and then put them back on. This time she stood stock still for a good 5 minutes, so I took them off and let her chill while we waited for the rest of the class to make it into the arena.

Ricky had us review our front/hind quarters and drifting to get started. Then he added something new: pushing the front quarters away after getting the hind, instead of facing up. This maneuver used to be so hard for me to even conceptualize. Now I get it and am not afraid to make a mistake trying to figure it out. Anyway, we didn't spend much time on that; Ricky just wanted to get going on the riding! :)

We bent our horses heads around at a stand still, then added circles and asked for the hind quarters. After we were all going well enough, he had us go to the rail of the arena and walk to the left. As we past in front of him we were to call out "now" as the left hind hoof left the ground. It took me one lap to get coordinated enough to even see it by looking down and feeling her hip move under my hand, but after another lap I could just sit there in the saddle and feel the movement of her hooves through my seat. Then he asked us to feel for the left front foot leaving the ground. I got that one right away because I can feel her shoulder move much easier than her hip through the saddle. My "now, now, nows" were met with "yes, yes, yes" by Ricky. Then we switched directions and did the same thing to the right for both hooves.

Not everyone 'got it' right away, but everyone did give it their all to learn. We were instructed to go back into our individual circles and now apply what we just learned (calling out each hoof) to our drifting exercises from the ground. In order to properly disengage the hindquarters, we were to press our leg on the inside of the circle to our horse's hip as there hind hoof was leaving the ground... all while reaching down the rein and bring the head around. We practiced this for probably close to an hour when we were told to take a break while he explained the next exercises we were going to do to finish off the day. Drill! :)

LMAO! I never saw that coming, even though I should have. When I rode Starlett at Ricky's last clinic here years ago, we did some drill type exercises to put our newly learned maneuvers to the test. The 'drill' we did this time was a little different from then. First we practiced maneuvering our horses in a figure eight using one hand and our seat and leg pressures by holding hands with a partner. I was paired up with a gal and her cute bay mare. Her mare was quite uncomfortable being so close to Mercy, so it was difficult holding hands. We also had issues going the same speed. When I would speed up to match her's, her horse would slow way down. Eventually all of his shifting in speed and direction was too much for Mercy and she kicked out at the bay mare. The bay mare was now afraid of Mercy, so we both just rode side by side with both hands on our reins. I thought that was a good compromise; everyone stayed in control and we were still participating in the drill and learning. Ricky did mention that I need to REALLY get after her if and when she misbehaves towards another horse again. I agree. It just took me by surprise this time. *sigh* Mares... sometimes... :/
Once everyone had had enough of the figure eights, Ricky had half of us start walking around the arena, a little off the rail, to the left. The other group was to weave between the 'circlers' while walking to the right. And both groups needed to keep their spacing, obviously! At first the 'weavers' didn't quite have the spacing down very well. I had to stop or speed up to coordinate with the other riders. We did this for a few laps and then Ricky had us all trot. This made the 'weavers' concentrate on getting to the hind, drifting around the 'circlers' and still maintaining a decent distant between the rider in front and behind themselves. I would be lying if I said it went perfectly. It was chaotic to say the least!
We began to run out of time, so he had the 'weavers' switch to 'circlers' and the 'circlers' switch to 'weavers.' Because the 'weavers' had witnessed the other group, we had a better idea of how to get things done quickly. We walked and trotted the weave for a few minutes and Ricky called us in for questions. What a way to end the day!

1 comment:

Cowgirl Sprat said...

Sorry guys, I cannot for the life of me get the last few paragraphs to seperate. So weird since the rest of the post did...