Auditing a clinic benefits your riding

I audited my first dressage clinic this weekend and I couldn’t have been be more excited. I know, to some, it might seem odd to be looking forward to watching countless other riders be “schooled” in what they’re doing right or wrong, but I’ve heard it is a great learning experience and I’m all about learning when it comes to dressage.

Carter and I are progressing through the fundamentals now…he’s still young and developing a top line and I’m still learning to get consistency on the basics, so we are certainly in learning mode. Here’s to another of my horsey firsts!

I couldn’t wait to ride after the clinic! What an awesome experience! I took seven pages of notes and sat, completely enthralled, for three hours watching and learning! The clinician, Brad Cutshall, was a treat! He made things easy to understand and I’m hoping that my notes will help me recall his tips. It was even better because my trainer was one of the riders so I will be able to apply a lot of what he was telling her. Of course, some of it was beyond our abilities right now, a lot of it was fundamental pointers I can use now (my trainer just started riding the horse she rode today so they’re still finding their groove) another cool thing was that Brad has worked with Weber, my trainer’s horse, so she learned a lot of his triggers and tricks, too!

Here are some of the pointers he shared:

– Always warm up with intention. Don’t let your horse warm up like a lumbering camel.

– Ask, frequently, for bend…if its not happening let him move forward until he’s on the bit and supple.

– The neck never lies…if it is high, your horse is not round in his back, get him to bend, half halt, get his back up and him collected.

– There is no such thing as “a” half halt. Treat each situation as unique.

– A light horse is great unless he tries to say no all the time. Be firm and ask for the collection, bend, forward.

There were many others that were very specific to my trainer and her horse, making her clinic time that much more valuable. I am certainly going to add auditing clinics to my off-season training list and someday ride in one!