Wednesday, May 14, 2014

April 2014 Amanda Johnson Clinic

It is always interesting to taking lessons from others and begin to understand their ideas and add them to what you already know. Amanda Johnson was no exception. With lower level horses, it was common to place them on a 20 meter circle and then do a turn on the forhand (a complete 360 degrees) and then back to the 20 meter circle. This really helped the young horses move better and had them bringing their inside hind leg up under and more engaged right away. This movement was very effective and easy for the young horses to understand right away. If you were riding a more advanced horse your warm-up was more likely to have a mix of shoulder for on the 20 meter circle to medium trot to shoulder for and repeat. This was a very powerful way to engage and loosen your horse. The horse used collection muscles briefly and then extension muscles breifly and the end result was a better moving horse fairly quickly. We all like this warm-up a lot! Another concept that was new for me was with horses that brace or get heavy in the bridle. Amanda said to juggle or basically systematically raise one hand and lower it as you raise the other and continue in that fashion. I rode a Lipizzan mare with this and it worked really well. She became softer in the bridle than ever before. I am thinking that there is just nothing for them to brace and lock into. This is very different than a lateral see saw, it is a slow longitudinal random rein that is hard for the horse to brace against. Then specifically I worked on canter improvement on my advanced mare. We have been doing changes for a while now and my biggest quality hole is that she get too crooked during the changes. We worked on a 15 meter circle doing shoulder for, shoulder for in counter bend, haunches in, haunches in with a counter bend. As a rider I am thinking it would be easier to do a canter pirouette. But I think the object of the game was to improve my ability to laterally adjust my horse without having an accidental flying change. I have been working on haunches in with a counter bend to a flying change. The changes from left to right are getting really good. The changes from right to left are still a little crooked but I can feel the position essentially blocking the crookedness. So I am finding this really effective in showing my mare how to be straighter during her changes. I look forward to the next Amanda Johnson clinic for more clarification and refinement. These clinics sure do make a difference us as we plan our training.