This reminded me of Alex because of one of the "problems" many people have with clicker training- that when you click you stop the motion. What Alex says is that gives you opportunities to start over and reinforce good transitions. Thus how I've been training Coriander to pick up the left lead, we get three steps, C/T, and start over. This way we get a lot more bang for our buck. Interesting how good trainers think alike.
The western dressage clinician. He was very knowledgeable and rode a nicely trained little morgan stallion, the problem was he was boring. He spent way too much time sitting still and lecturing and not enough time demoing. I felt like he would have done better to briefly explain a movement, like haunches-in, and then ride it so that people could see what he was talking about. I think he was pretty new to this environment though, so he'll probably get better with time.
I promised I would go see her with an open mind and I did. I went to two of her clinics, one on humanality and one on the "Game of Contact." For you Parelli fans, I agree with she is a very engaging speaker, plus she has that accent that Americans cannot resist. I will also commend her for her "Game of Contact" concept, it's the Parelli method to help horses accept the bit without the use of gadgets or rollkur. So yes, I liked that- BUT- it was really just French classical dressage repackaged. The first step in her game is Philippe Karl's first jaw flexion exercise, followed by lengthening the neck and stretching long and low. Unlike Karl, she did not mention anything about the movement of the jaw and mouth and how that helps a horse to relax. For that, I give her "Game of Contact" a 2 out of 3.
Unfortunately her demo riders were distracting. One of the riders kept hanging on the front of her saddle with one hand while she rode. Why? I don't know. The other would post for a few strides, look like she fell behind the movement, bounce in the saddle for a few strides, post again- never on the correct diagonal. I couldn't take my eyes of her because I couldn't figure out what she was doing! Of course neither of them had a helmet either, but I guess I shouldn't pick on that since I only saw ONE person ride in a clinic with a helmet all weekend.
Bleh! He was the only "dressage" clinician there and I couldn't sit through one whole clinic with him. I watched his clinic on riding accurate movements for first through third level and all of the riders were seesawing on their horses' mouths, all the horses were overbent, on the forehand, and the riders never ever let them stretch down! And he was advocating this! Only one rider made it look like she was letting her horse stretch and really all she was doing was lowering her hands around her knees while still keeping a death grip on the reins. Heaven forbid she should let go and her horse's nose should pop up in the air (which it did when he managed to tug the reins out of her hands). NOT impressed.
Mmmm, eye candy. What can I say? This guy was attractive, and his boots were awesome. I caught his clinic on riding horses through spooks, what really liked was how he emphasized that you can't take the spook out of your horse, you can only change how you respond to the spook as a rider. He had his riders establish their horses on a circle of cones, with a cone in the center as a pivot point. He had the rider and the horse put all their attention on the pivot point and then he'd induce a spook (with an umbrella). The rider was then supposed to let the horse spook for a few strides and then direct them back on the circle. This way the horse could move their feet and feel better but the rider was still able to give direction. It seemed to work out really well and I'm keeping it in mind for my spooky little girl.
He was also very open to questions from the crowd (sometimes to the detriment of his riders). One woman sitting behind me asked how this exercise can help her since when her horse spooks he flies sideways, she flies off, and then he flies away. Ralston basically told her (paraphrasing) that her horse didn't see her as being trustworthy and dependable and was taking matters into his own hooves. To help her horse, she would have to become a better rider and stop being a passenger. He said this as nicely as he could, but I liked how he didn't mince words with her.
Next post: Mark Rashid!