So much to say.
So, for those of you interested in what Brian’s like as a clinician, lets start there. I think he is a great clinician. He has been involved in the sport in so many different ways, that his knowledge base is vast, and he has so much current information that he is happy to share. If I were to summarize his teaching style I would say he is friendly and helpful, but not afraid to call you out on stuff. But he does it in a not unkind, funny way. What I liked best was how he had a reason for everything he asked you to do. I would definitely take another clinic with him. I thought he was helpful and approachable and very fair. I will say be prepared for the following: some off color jokes and lots and lots of stories. I did not mind either, but some people might.
Ok, so how did it go? Some of you may remember I was pretty nervous I would ride like crap, or be the rider that gets called out for everything, since I was in a group with two pros.Well, it went pretty well.
Here are the highlights:
- Brian liked Georgie. He said there wasn’t much difference in the way she cantered compared to the fancy mover in our group. I think what he meant was that I was able to keep her in a similar frame to that horse so we approached the jump in a similar fashion.
- Georgie was great for show jumping. She was totally game, responsive to my leg and nothing was particularly challenging/out of our league.
- Brian called me on the fact that I wasn’t picking up the correct lead. But he approached it in such a kind, helpful, manner that it was actually a highlight. He said something like “I don’t mean to embarass you, but I notice you haven’t gotten the right lead a couple times. I know you know your leads. And I think what is happening is you get so nervous/antsy/distracted by the jumps, that when you land, or when you approach a jump, you don’t think to check your lead.” I totally agreed. And while it was embarrassing, we worked on an exercise to slow my brain down and get the correct lead. So, that was cool.
But Day 2 was really the best day. I forget how amped Georgie gets for xc. We did a couple of warm up jumps. And then he had us put three jumps together. Two were galloping fences and one, the second jump, required some adjusting and a more uphill, balanced canter. Georgie and I were last to go and the approach to the second fence had proven to be a bit more challenging for the other two riders (and I should probably mention here.. my trainer Sarah was on a horse she hadn’t ever ridden xc, and the other pro was on a greener horse who was just coming off an injury. They are both better riders than me, just didn’t have their solid/years together horse..) Anyway, Georgie and I did the course and on the second jump we nailed it. She adjusted when I asked, kept going forward and I heard him say “excellent” when we landed. And then I got an awkward distance to the last jump so it didn’t get an “excellent,” but it was fine.
Here is the video so you can judge for yourself:
Oh man, we’ve been working on adjustability for a while. So the fact that we were praised for it was a huge moment for me. And while I roll my eyes when I hear people say “Jumping is just dressage over fences,” I have to say that our dressage work has really helped in this regard.
We had some other nice lines and fences and I did my best not to lose focus or get complacent. (Until the end. I totally got complacent at one jump at the end and Brian totally called me out on it, which was kinda awesome too.) One thing I did which really helped and made me look more seasoned, was I would watch my instructor’s approach to the jumps and the line she took. And then I would emulate it, because I know she is a perfectionist when it came to things like this. So, basically I made myself look good by having her go before me. Thanks Sarah!
We had a ditch wall and Georgie didn’t look twice and sailed right over it. The day before I had mentioned what a solid horse Georgie was and that she had no issues and was never the problem. After the ditch wall he called me over and said ” When people tell me their horse is solid with no problems I think they are full of shit. But not this horse. You were right. This is a great horse. You’ve got lots of years left with her.”
Here she is at the Ditch Wall:
Um, thank you. That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me about Georgie.
We did a corner to corner line, a two stride on some angled fences and our last jump was a drop into water. Georgie was awesome and as we came around to see what he thought he just said “So, when are you going Prelim?” I think I beamed from ear to ear.
So… Prelim…well that’s a post for another time.