This past long weekend I attended the Don Halladay clinics on freestyle and finesse riding. I had a blast and learned a lot.
On Saturday I took Balius out for the morning session and he was full of beans. Leaping in the air and very nervous, Balius was quite the entertainment and I got some new techniques for focusing upset horses - the backwards circle is a nice new tactic to my bag of tricks.
After lunch was more relaxing. I took out Rose, my young QH mare and she surprised me with how well we could ride with no reins. We worked on our foundation and made great progress.
Sunday Rose was sore so I took her home and picked up Lumen - I was reminded how unexpected things can happen but we can make choices to make the best of it.
It worked amazing because Lumen got to come to his first off property experience and was amazing. He wore a bit for the first time and by the end of the lesson was accepting contact very softly and willingly.
It was a nice feeling to discover how well the game of contact can work and how all of the ground preparation set up our finesse riding for a very easy transition.
Afterwards I had a one on one lesson with Don and Balius in the round pen....I was a passenger rider and Don sent me through all the gaits. We focused on the importance of teaching the horse they can go with the rider. It was a massive improvement from Saturday's nervous breakdown :-)
Monday was an amazing day. Lumen and I did 2 line driving for the first time which he learnt so quickly...the Parelli games just make sense to horses. We also did some fun team friendly game and a bunch of finesse riding. Lumen was so light and lovely.
I was reminded of the importance of foundation skills and hind quarter control as some of the higher level movements were challenging and Lumen and I had to go back to the basics to remember leg position cues for moving the hips versus shoulders.
The highlight was finishing with another lesson with Don and Balius where we rode in the big sand ring. Balius was amazing and we finished with a few nice canters and he was lovely.
Don helped me bring Balius' focus inside the ring with the help of Casino who he was riding.
I was reminded the importance of starting horses with it being their idea to go forward and being allowed to move rather than pushing and manipulating them to the point they get mad, frustrated or dont want to try. Its an art to know how much to suggest, allow or correct in the right moment.
Balius had easy fluid transitions to canter and I am so happy he is coming along so well!
Maureen and Todd Owens come to PHH for a Parelli clinic July 5-6 and I highly suggest you come!
Mention promo code : 'May Blog' and attend the July clinic with Maureen and Todd to reveive either free use of a PHH horse or free stabling/overnight if bringing your own horse.