Bethlehem (poochycakes) wrote,

Gary Rockwell clinic

Saturday, after a little scrambling, I went to the Gary Rockwell clinic, which was VERY cool! Shannondale Farms, where it was located, is absolutely UH-mazing! Gary was really fabulous, I liked him much better than Ron Smeets. Plus, if you closed your eyes, it was literally like Tim Gunn was teaching the clinic.

Make it work, people.
Make it work, people.

I really dug his methodology, too. I took some notes, but not nearly enough. Unfortunately it was a three day clinic and I only caught a few rides... but at lunch I caught up with Tamara, and we were talking about the clinic and she said it really reinforced the idea that the work we're doing is quality work. I agree. It makes me feel good to know that what Tamara constantly busts my chops for is the same stuff that Gary was busting these others riders' chops for... and with far more frequency too. :D I am so fortunate to work with a top notch trainer. No, I don't have a big fancy show horse, no, I don't have a horse at all, no, I don't get to jump, No, I don't get to compete, No, I don't get to ride in clinics, but I have people who let me ride their ponies, I have a solid trainer, and I have a headstart on solid basics. I am very thankful to God for the blessings he continues to bestow on me in my horsey life! It's so encouraging.

In the loft after lunch, Tamara scooted off to talk to Gary about something he'd said in the clinic. I had been taking notes in my book, "Mastery" (which Tam gave me), and I was reviewing them. A man sidled up to me and suddenly asked, "So how are you liking the book?" I was so confused and startled that I turned red ( I was thinking WTF is this guy, the author?!) and said  "Yeah, it's great- have you read it?" It turns out this guy is former dressafe advisor to USEF, and a clincian himself, named Gil Merrick ( I am such a moron- I recognized him and blurted out, "Gil Anderson!!" but he politely corrected me)

The truth is out there; you just can't remember it correctly.
The truth it out there, and it's reeeeally embarassing.

So, Tamara came back and fortunately rescued me by maintainng an intelligent discussion with him. Then we returned to the clinic.

Without further ado, here are the brief notes I took from the clinic:

  • Rider/Seat
  • Always be thinking of "letting him up", and lifting the withers
  • When the rider goes behind the vertical, the horse's shoulder gets the brunt of the weight.
  • Pushing with the seat at canter pushes the shoulder down and confuses other aids because it overwhelms the horse.
  • Don't "come on, come on, come on" with the seat. Punch occassionally with the leg when neccessary.
  • Watch for third beat of canter- no downward pushing!
  • Look up, use corners, and see the horse out of focus.
Lateral Work
  • Too much lateral at halfpass kills the lift.
  • If the horse runs sideways, leg yield him back over to rebalance.
  • If you do your corner correctly, the horse is all ready in a shoulder in- don't pull him off balance with the inside rein. Draw the shoulder with the outside rein- knuckles aimed at where your shoulder-in is aimed.
  • Look down the track in the shoulder in to avoid too much bending to the inside.
  • In transitions, think of the gait you are in, not the gaite you are about to be in! Ride each stride, don't anticipate or you will mud-up the gait you're already in. Don't overthink it! Just do it!
  • Transitions help with developing suspension in the gait.
  • Straight Straight Straight!
  • Ride two different horses - the "left side" of the horse and the "right side" of the horse. Work on getting both horses equally supple and strong.
  • "What is it with you people and bending your horse to the inside! Ride him straight!"

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