Let me start off by saying I absolutely love this clinician. She is superb at being critical, but also keeping things very positive. For me having a positive feeling is very important. When I am paying someone for their opinion I appreciate them being honest, but there is a line between tactful critic and straight up rude. It would have been very easy to be rude about Pongo and I. I have only ridden him a handful of times and he is very green. While I am a good enough rider that I can stick with small shenanigans, but I am not a fantastic rider by any means. The point of all of that is we were rough and I appreciated the clinician keeping things positive. I have had asshole coaches that were just straight up rude to me and I shut down. I do what I am told, but the longevity of learning is not there.
Anyway, Pongo and I were very rough. (I don't have pictures and I am in the process of trying to figure out how to pull clips out of the long video to post). We looked a lot like drunk sailors staggering across the short diagonal. The first problem we worked on was getting him to supple and bend. This was something that I was struggling with in the beginning. I had tried this technique before, but I wasn't as aggressive and demanding as I needed to be. In the end I got him to start working over his top line, instead of being braced and barging everywhere.
The second thing we worked on was with the canter. This horse is WEIRD! He canters with his head tucked between his knees. I have ridden enough young horses that I assume when they tuck their head like that I am about to be in for a ride. He just likes to do it. Does it in the pasture and under saddle. So, in an effort to keep him from having time to get tucked and all balled up, I was to canter the short side, bring him back to a trot in the corner, trot across the short diagonal, and then canter going into the corner of the short side. Wash rinse and repeat. Sounds simple right? I thought alright we got this. Transition up. Check. Canter short side. Check. Transition back to trot. Check. Turn and trot across the diagonal. ?????
Somewhere along the line I lost steering and the supple horse. He would try to barge through all my aids and brace up. We started putting in some circles (I use that term very loosely) to help supple him and get him back on my aids and it did help. But it was all a hot mess. We need to work on that. On the bright side while the steering and geometry was about a -10, we did accomplish the goal of keeping his head from tucking.
The plan for Pongo is to do a two week flatwork bootcamp. Then add in some jumping and hopefully do an eventing clinic at the beginning of August. Stinker won't be ready and the girl that half leases Charlie is probably going to be riding him. So Pongo and I need to get our shit together so we aren't an embarrassment to S. She claims we can't be, but I saw the video...we can be.
I am going to try to get some pictures of Pongo and figure out how to get clips out of the long video to add to this post. Overall, we improved and I have new techniques and a game plan, so we can keep improving. Which dressage is all about improving over time.