Debbie Bowman Clinic Easter Weekend

The toughest thing about having three horses is getting enough lessons on all of them to advance. It’s not really a matter of money, but of time and access to lessons. My trainer has a full barn and she goes to almost all of the local shows. I don’t, so on those weekends, no lessons.  January and February I had almost no lessons for a variety of reasons.

I ride monthly with Debbie Bowman, who comes from Virginia and goes to my trainer’s barn in Houston, and a friend of mine’s barn here in Alvin. I ride with her whenever I can, but I really can’t ride two horses in one day. If I could haul the said two horses together to either facility, have a few rides in between to rest up I could ride all three of my horses with Debbie when she comes each month. However, I tried it once and it was a huge waste of money. My normally sane horses were both crazed idiots.

this weekend I had a ride on  Saturday at Marie’s and Sunday at Kim’s. I had planned to take Faeryn on Sunday, but we are working through some resistance on Fling’s part – she is pulling on my left rein no matter which direction we go. Diagnosing the true root of the problem took most of Saturday, but we made progress. I knew for it to ‘stick’ with both Fling and me, we really needed to revisit it again today. So glad I did.

Although she is pulling on the left rein, of course it has nothing to do with her head or neck — it has everything to do with me, and her continued evasions about weighting the right hind. On Saturday  Debbie had me do a lot of shoulder in to renvers and travers to get her straighter and carrying more on the right hind. When she finally submitted, I could feel how she was soft in both reins and straight.

Today we ramped it up a bit and worked on me keeping my reins short enough, and in front of me enough so I would quit crossing my right rein to the left over her neck. Bad habit of mine. Debbie actually ride her more into the right rein – while pushing her more onto her right hind but without letting her ‘drift’ to the right. When all the pieces fell into place she felt like a million bucks. Super connected, huge trot and going toward the bridle with no resistance whatsoever. Her half pass – even to the right which has been her weaker direction – was super. What I really need is about four more lessons to break this habit we’ve fallen in. And mirrors. I’m still working on the mirrors. I have my dozer guy on alert to start working on finishing my arena. Once I get that done, mirrors are next. I really hope to have arena and mirrors up  == at least 40 feet of them on the short side – by fall.

I came home and used some of the principles from my lesson on Faeryn. I have a bad habit of letting my reins get too long and then I end up leaning back and bracing. Yes, even after all these years. I ridee way too much on my own with no ‘eyes on the ground.’ (Hence the real need for mirrors.) Just by making those small changes Faeryn was more up, had more impulsion and really felt super. Faeryn and Fling are full sisters but very different. Fling is like a 500 hp muscle car that can go from 0-60 and sometimes has wonky power steering. 😉 Faeryn is elegant and lofty but does not have the sheer strength and power that Fling does. They are both super to ride and have incredible work ethics tho. But Fling is so smart, she always thinks she knows what we are getting ready to do, or what we SHOULD do, and it is sometimes difficult to convince her to actually listen to me. 😉 But I would not trade her for anything.

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