Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Clinic

We made it to the Ranch horse clinic and back. I was a little worried about the roads, but everything turned out fine. I was a little delayed in the morning because the trailer hitch was full of snow and ice, and the blocks were frozen to the ground. Not to mention, Remington decided that he should not have to load in the trailer at 6:30 a.m. My plans were to leave at 6, but we were the first ones to the clinic anyway. I got Rem settled in a stall and then just waited around for it to start. Rem was thankful for a chance to eat breakfast.

The first portion of the clinic was showmanship and conformation. Not sure what I was expecting, but most of the things covered were things I've already learned in 4H, but it seemed many of the other participants were adults who didn't really have that opportunity. I never did make Remington into much of a showmanship horse, so that part of the clinic wasn't really much fun to me. When we moved on to conformation, the clinician had us set up our horses to make them look their best. Considering Rems legs are as crooked as the governor of Illinois, there's really nothing I could do to make them look good. I tried anyway by "hand setting" them... I went to pick up his left front and was dumb about it, bending over in front of him. He decided to offer me his right front and his knee bonked me in the forehead. Haha, whoops, that was embarrassing. Right about then I decided to become more of a spectator to those around me. Remington won't be entering any halter classes any time soon. He then went on to fall asleep, which was fine with me. I enjoyed watching the other participants set up their nicely conformed horses :-)

Next up was Horsemanship. I was hoping to make use of the large indoor arena to get some loping work done, but with 10 horses, it was a little bit crazy. Rem is still pretty green at the lope so in order to keep us and the other participants safe, I kept the loping to a minimum. The pattern work was fun, but again, it was things I'd learned in 4H. The pattern work was really good for Remington though. We had a chance to do it twice, so our first run was a little sloppy, but the second time we improved, which was nice. The clinician talked more about the riders position than he did about the correctness of the pattern. I have a hard time riding "correctly" when I am on a green horse, and I still consider Rem to be pretty green. So, the clinician did pick on my faults a little, which was fine. It sure will be nice when I can let Rem go on a loose rein and worry about nothing but where my shoulder, hip and heel belong! :-) We then went on to do some rail work. Here I think the class should have been split, 5 on the rail and 5 in the center, because the arena wasn't that big and there were quite a few green horses in the clinic. Remington did nothing but pass horses, and we couldn't find an open spot on the rail to get comfortable. The clinician said something about "using the corners" but what are you supposed to do with a fast horse, and no open holes on the rail? Ride up someone's butt to use that corner! No thank you. I'll just run around in the middle and make it look extra fast since I'll be doing twice as many small laps around the arena! heh heh.

Lunch break followed that part. Rem had a nice break and got to finish his breakfast. I had a chili cheese dog and a rice krispie treat. So much for eating healthy...

Trail was next, and this was probably my favorite part. Of course Remington enjoyed it. The bridge they used was painted white, like the one from the competition in April. Remington looked, but never stopped moving and he went right over. He knew what these trail obstacles were all about! They had a hay bale with a steer head roping dummy attached that you had to throw a rope at. Many of the horses wouldn't stand to have a rope thrown off of them, but Rem knew what he was doing. He stood like a rock for me to rope the dummy. The trail clinician was pretty nice, and very helpful to everyone who was having trouble with the obstacles. The funniest part was when he asked me, "How is that horse bred?" heh heh.... As I was looking over the showbill for the Wisconsin Ranch Horse Association, I noticed you had to have some type of registered stock horse complete with registration papers in order to compete.... I wonder if Rem's BLM title will count? Oh well if it doesn't...

I was getting pretty tired at this point, but I wanted to stay for reining. That is pretty much what I came for. I don't know if it's because I was getting tired, and Rem was getting unresponsive and sleepy, but I found the reining part pretty boring. Again it was very basic, which is probably what I should have expected. After we did some rollback exercises and some squares, they moved on to loping circles. I decided to head out because it was getting late and I didn't want to drive home in total darkness. It was a long day for us both, but we had a lot of fun, and met some very nice people. I know I would have gotten more out of a private lesson, but sometimes it's good to get your horse out with a big group. It was really good for Rem. We haven't done anything like that for a long time, and he was a great ambassador for the mustang! We got lots of compliments.

Now I'm going to enjoy my Sunday by doing absolutely nothing, all day long.... It will be marvelous!

5 comments:

Pony Girl said...

I'm glad you made it to the clinic and were safe, and that Rem was a good boy for you! Sounds like you learned a few things and some new friends, regardless. That's great Rem was so good on the trail course! I totally agree with you about all the loping in an arena with a lot of green horses. I am not comfortable loping in an arena by myself half the time, let alone with a group of horses! :)

Jessie said...

Ha, yes loping is quite an experience when you're surrounded by all those other horses. The worst is when someone decides they need to ride against traffic!! :-(

Tracey said...

Sounds like the clinic could have been stepped up a notch; too bad it was so remedial and that they didn't think to separate the group for safety sake.

Riding a green horse, you really can't have an equ seat, but Curt always gets after me, too, for things like dropping my shoulder and hand placement :)

The Ranch Horse Association is something I'd considered joining until I found they expected registered stock type (AQHA, Paint, Appy) horses. I think they ought to allow BLM mustangs, as the AQHA website gives them credit for being the 'final important ingredient' in creating the breed =D

Rising Rainbow said...

I prefer clinics where they give you one on one time. It's easy to get lost in a group if ability of the riders is staggered.

I had to laugh at the instructions to used the corners. I'm always telling Rachel to do that. But you sure can't use them if you're on the inside. Maybe if others had used them well, there would have been room for you on the rail.

It sounds like there were some good parts for you and Remington though......and that's good. What did they say when you told him the horse's breeding? Curious minds want to know. LOL

Jessie said...

MiKael, when I told him he was a Mustang, he just laughed!

I agree with you, some one on one time would have been really nice. Maybe I'll try another clinic someday, but you sure can't beat private lessons with a good trainer...