Saturday, November 20, 2010

One More Thing..........Before Getting to Storm.........

Part 1

I did forget one part about this clinic that I had really wanted to post. Before I get started with Storm I think I'm going to visit that subject as well. As I mentioned in my very first post, Wendy Potts can really sit a horse, pretty much any horse from what I can tell.

Throughout the clinic there were resistive horses, as you can imagine. It's pretty normal for horses to be resistant when getting asked to do something more difficult than usual. As a matter of self preservation, Mother Nature equips horses with a genetic code telling them to seek the easy way so they follow that instinct and test things that are difficult.

While Wendy Potts didn't repeat the horseman's adage, "you need to make the right thing easy for the horse," it was easy to see she lives by that code. All her methods speak to that philosophy as she sets horses up to do the right thing. Knowing that horses are going to be resistive to change, Wendy Potts is prepared for anything even the extremes and we sure did see a couple of those.

The most adamant horse about change seemed to be a gelding ridden on Saturday afternoon. I'm afraid I don't remember the history on the horse but I clearly remember the strings of bucks the horse made as he went down the rail. Wendy Potts insistence the horse move forward was not at all welcomed by this horse and he was really trying to prove his point.

Many times I saw the horse's heels above the top line of the rail but the horse was definitely going forward, just not in a way I could have sat. Wendy Potts didn't miss a beat. There wasn't an untimely bounce or anything that might suggest her b*tt wasn't firmly planted in that saddle.

I must admit I had some envy watching how she rode out this horse. She didn't just sit there taking it, she continued on with her cues to get the horse moving forward. If I could ride like that I'd have no fear about fixing Reflection. God knows I really need to get that horse fixed and into the ring but since I can't yet sit a horse like Wendy Potts, I'll have to spend some time practicing on her tip.

Wendy Potts told up when she's riding young horses and difficult ones sometimes too, she tries to keep her weight off the horse's back. The trainer instructed riders to put their weight deep into their stirrups with their heals down to accomplish this.

For the young horse, keeping weight off the back helps the horse understand the cue is to go forward. It's understandable a young horse would think a bump of weight on the back is a barrier and stop forward impulsion. Depending on the impression that barrier ,makes, the horse could become confused or even resistant to lifting it's back. Keeping the rider's weight off would make it easier for the horse understand what is wanted by the cue to correctly go forward.

Wendy Potts pointed out in the situation of a resistant horse keeping the weight off the horse's back protects the rider from being launched. If the horse's back doesn't meet the rider's bottom during those bucks there is less momentum throwing the rider into the air. It's a great trick, if you ask me, and I'm going to do some practicing to see if I can strengthen my core and my legs enough to accomplish it.

To be continued................

The Morning of our Ride

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  1. Makes sense. I need to strengthen my core and my legs too. They are probably stronger already then most women my age who don't ride or exercise, but they could be better. Then I'll be safer in the saddle and dare I say have 6-pack abs too. Nah, I don't think the 6-pack abs are gonna happen for me. Oh well...tee can dream.

  2. . . . makes so much sense to me!!
    A simple way to increase strength in the legs is to go upstairs two at a time. Or step up and down on a chair and build it up to 50 times each leg. It's quick and efficient!! Think I'll go do it. thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. Keeping weight in your heels and your butt off the horses back is a great idea. I usually try to ride like that but sometimes I'm guilty of not doing it all the time. Oh well, practice makes perfect and it's something to keep aiming for all the time. Sounds like a great clinic.

  4. Like your other commenter wilsonc said, I'm probably in better shape than most women my age, 50, but I am too weak to ride bucks anymore. I can't have any shenanigans. It has caused my fear to come back because I know that if the horse pulled something, I physically couldn't handle it. I'm going to try what dinkleberries said. With a name like dinkleberries, how can you go wrong taking advice from someone like that? lol