Would it surprise you to know that I take my own advice when I attend clinics? What advice is that? I’m glad you asked!
- look for similarities. When you find similarities you will find a thread of training theory that runs true.
- be open-minded about the new ideas you hear
So often the opposite of these two things happens. People see what is different and then brace against the ideas because they feel threatened. Great training has many, many more similarities across disciplines than it often appears on the surface. With this in mind, it is often amazing how much you will agree with and understand.
If you keep an open mind about new ideas it will often be enough for you to begin to understand. Plus, being open-minded doesn’t mean you have to run home and immediately begin introducing the new idea to your horse. I fully encourage people to NOT try new ideas until they believe they understand the purpose. If you attend a clinic, see a new exercise, and DON’T understand…but still try it with your horse…your odds of it working are pretty low. To be the teacher you need confidence in what you are doing. If you don’t understand the purpose it will be difficult to convey it to your horse.
Now, here are some of my takeaways from Day 1:
- Charlotte buys horses with the intention of having them last. Her goal is the Grand Prix, not the young horse classes.
- Make sure you are even in your own body, exercise to be a stronger rider
- come out with a plan, don’t work on everything every day
- give the reins away for 2-3 strides and see what happens. Is the horse in self-carriage?
- do hundreds of transitions when you ride, this is a gymnastic sport
- The best dressage horses can both extend and collect. Many do one or the other stronger.
- Charlotte, “I don’t ride for fairly good, I ride for excellent.”
- Discipline yourself to ride accurately.
- The tricks are the easy part, the transitions, the basics, are the difficult part.
- All the riders come in wanting to show what they can do. It is difficult to come out here in front of everyone and show your problems.
I have pages of notes, many of which are reminders, some of which are personal stories Charlotte told, others are her quotes- she is so funny! Such a joy to learn from.
And much to my horse’s dismay, my book contains some new ideas…like the patterns that Charlotte was having the riders execute. Poor Willow, on Monday I will be attempting canter down centerline-shoulder fore, 10-meter turn-haunches in, half pass back to x, down center line…repeat!