Friday, December 3, 2010

The Wendy Potts Clinic.......Onto Riding Storm

Part 1- Wendy Potts Clinic

Part 1 - Sizing Things Up - Status on Storm

There was that one relatively simple skirmish about the challenging stallion and then my Arabian horse was moving forward and listening to me. With that altercation now behind us we went right back to working on the rail to show Wendy Potts what I was getting from the horse since his return to me.

I worked Storm at a trot while moving him laterally off my leg from the inside to the outside. As I was doing this I told Wendy Potts that mostly my concerns were about working the horse at the canter. While the trot wasn't what I wanted, I knew I was going in the right direction.

The canter was another matter especially working to the right. While I'd gotten improvement with each ride the horse's canter was a long way off from where it had been when I'd first started him under saddle. His balance was screwed up and he had lots of problems getting tangled in his own legs whenever I tried to flex or bend him at this gait.

His lack of balance was the reason the horse wasn't wearing any shoes. I didn't want Storm banging up his legs as he tried to figure out where to put his feet. The last thing we needed was some kind of injury and we sure weren't going to be building any big hunter movement when the horse didn't even know how to carry my weight correctly in any kind of collected frame.

Once she had this information Wendy Potts didn't waste any time. She sent us right off and into the canter. As she studied what she saw, I saw her shaking her head and I heard her say something about there being no excuse for poor training. Then she told people on the rail that I was doing a good job with the horse.

Wendy Potts asked me if my plans for this horse were for hunter or for western or did I even know. I made it clear I needed to get the horse going forward correctly before I could even make that kind of decision. Then, since I really needed to get this horse sold, if the only way I could get him into the ring next year was to show hunter, I would do that but only if he was going to be competitive in that division.

Wendy Potts stated she didn't really know what was winning in our local area and I quickly let her know that really didn't matter to me. My goals for this horse are for the national arena, anything less will not accomplish what I need to get done for my breeding farm.

I asked Wendy what she thought and her reply was pretty much as I was thinking. She said it was really hard to know at this point with the horse's forward so broken and no shoes if the horse would be competitive in hunter pleasure or not but, she added, "he's definitely pretty enough!"

As I worked with Storm cantering to the right, Wendy Potts suggested I bend him around my inside leg while moving him off to the outside. Storm did manage to accomplished that so she told me to bend the horse to the outside and move him to the inside.

Storm immediately stiffened up and got resistant to this request. As I applied more pressure to convince the horse to give, I got some attitude in the form of bucking and head shaking and I had to work on getting any kind of forward just to get his mind back on me.

It was clear Storm didn't like being pushed when he thought he was giving his best. The problem was he just wasn't doing what he needed to be to get anything accomplished. The consequences of those two years of riding without asking much from the horse was rearing its ugly head again. I felt so bad for Storm being in trouble for something that really wasn't his fault.

Wendy Potts watched the horse's inability to do what I asked and his response to me applying more pressure. She knew the added pressure should have been sufficient in a normal training process but clearly wasn't working with this horse so she asked if I minded if she rode my horse.

I knew Potts wanted to know what was really going on with the horse and there was no better way to do that than to "feel" for herself what was going on with Storm by riding him. Of course, I jumped at the chance to have that kind of input. I had the horse stopped and was working on adjusting stirrups in the blink of an eye. I couldn't wait to see what Wendy Potts had to say about Storm and what has happened to him.

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

Wendy Rides Storm

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  1. This is sounding like an excellent clinic, and I am impressed that she is wanting/willing to get on your horse esp knowing the struggles you are facing with him.That seems to me the mark of a good clinician and trainer

  2. This is so interesting to me. As a rank beginner. the ability to sense if a horse is not moving correctly is pretty much beyond me but I hope to get there someday.

  3. fern, she really way an excellent clinician. I hope they will bring her back again.

    Ms Martyr, sometimes that feeling is very subtle and takes time to acquire but sometimes it is more dramatic and easy for most anyone to tell. Storm's canter started out so rough once his feet were fixed that most anyone would have "felt" the problem. I think you'll get there because you are interested in it.

  4. Poor Storm to have had those bad training sessions when he was away from you. You're both doing what you can and readjusting to the situation. She sounds like a good clinician, I'll be interested to see what she has to say about her experience riding him.