As Boyfriend mentioned, I went to a reining clinic. My first time doing slides and spins, and it was so fun on a well broke horse. I am not a stock seat girl (well, not since equitation in college), but I think it is good to try other disciplines and gain different perspectives, and I've always wanted to try some of those "cool reining tricks". When I saw an add for a beginning reining clinic, it seemed like a great idea to finally give it a try.
I very rarely interrupt Bif's blog to interject my thoughts, but I saw a mare yesterday that epitomized generosity, try, and smarts... a pretty grey paint mare that had been a western pleasure show horse. On the rail and quiet was most likely all she had ever known, and probably everything else had been removed from her mental list of appropriate responses. The owner had gotten her fairly recently and the mare was in a condition where she needed rehabilitation. She had only loped on her a few times before the clinic.
At the beginning of the day, this mare seemed a bit puzzled by circles, didn't understand that she really was supposed to go faster than her very pretty, correct pleasure lope, didn't really have a stop, and of course hadn't done spins (or really even turns on the haunches). Her rider was very thoughtful, kind, and was showing her things but keeping expectations very appropriate for the mare's current level.
Oh, by the afternoon... we kept seeing this mare think, and try. She truly was watching the others. She was able to execute nice turns on the haunches, with good crossover in front and strong plant in back. She showed some very good stops where we joked she'd need sliders soon. Her circles were nice, she showed speed changes. Once when working on lope to rollback, you could see her thinking, ears back and forth, back and forth, "Are we circling into the center? Sometimes we circle into center... she's looking straight, I guess we stay on the rail." It was so neat to see her thinking and enjoying herself, and looking for the possibilities of what the rider might ask.
We did a brief Green 1 pattern at the end of the clinic, and that mare was great. She did one 360 in each direction (the green horses obviously didn't have to do spins, and they were told that one rotation was fine instead of the two called for by the pattern). She had a little slid in her stops. She had credible rollbacks. And the whole time, such a happy and willing attitude. Her owner absolutely beamed.
I said with the right teacher, that mare could be doing calculus by the end of the year!
Maybe I can get her to tutor me...