Friday, April 22, 2011

Fall Training, and Wimbley's First Clinic with Henk van Bergen

I started back in earnest training Wimbley in mid-September. I had been concerned that the time off would set his training back to the very beginning, but I worried needlessly. From the moment I got back on, he was better than in the spring. I was so impressed with him! When I found out that he was a year younger than I thought, I was glad that I had to give him the time off. We started out reviewing the things I had taught him in the spring, and he proved to me that he hadn’t forgotten anything, so we just developed what he knew for a few weeks. He was still a bit weak in the canter, with the departs kind of running and unbalanced, and he didn’t get the lead that was asked for all the time. But I knew that would come with practice.
At the end of October, we had an opportunity to clinic with Henk van Bergen, and I was excited to ride Wimbley for him, so I could have an independent (and masterful) assessment of the work I had done so far on Wimbley. My favorite picture of the clinic is on the last post, here.  I am happy to report that Henk was impressed with Wimbley. This was the first time Wimbley had been ridden off Edie's property, and the first time he had been in an arena (up until this point I had trained him exclusively on an open polo field), and the first time he had ever been ridden in a covered arena (with mirrors!). He went around like he had been ridden in there his whole life.

As you can see in the clip, he complains about the contact, and he still didn’t get the canter leads 100% of the time, and he is still very gangly and unbalanced, but he was beginning to strengthen a bit, could trot in a steady and relaxed tempo, and could hold the canter for a few circles without breaking. The second day of the clinic he was a bit more tired, but steadier in the bridle then the first day, and he was still taking everything in stride with a very good attitude.  I was very proud of him!

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