This blog is about my life, a 31 yr old filly; working in the city, balancing her career, passion for horses, dogs, and the life they deserve. Following my dreams, and getting there takes a lot of patience and a sense of humour. This is my take on life, and the amazing and stupid things in it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mike Pegg Hunter Clinic Recap



  Last weekend I attended a hunter clinic with Hunter Jumper rider and instructor Mike Pegg.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to get Parker off property and see what I could learn about working him towards the hunters.  I am not a hunter, nor will I ever be one, but I love learning about different styles and opening myself up to new ideas.  I had not heard of the clinician before which can always be a bit worrisome, but Parker is such a good guy I knew we would make out ok.

  To start the clinic off with a bang I forgot my bridle.  I was cleaning it that morning and got distracted and forgot to put it in the trailer.  Oops.  I borrowed one and the best bit they could find was a ported Myler - a bit stronger than his fat full cheek but luckily Parker isn't too bothered by bits or small changes.  I have been riding in a running martingale but at first search there wasn't a single attachment in the barn.  Not to worry.  Later we did manage to find one.  Yay!





  We started out with introductions and worked the horses in warm up at the end of the arena.  Parker was noticeably "up" but even so his "up" is still quite tame in my world.  Mike commented we would need to trot around quite a bit more to kill some energy before we started jumping.  I kind of laughed because I thought he was being rather quiet!  A lady in my group commented that her horse was very lazy and Mike replied "we like lazy horses here", and that's when I knew we certainly were not going to be the class favorites LOL.

  After warm up we worked on a rectangle, squaring our turns.  We worked on shortening the stride on the short side and allowing him to lengthen on the long side.  Parker did this nicely as this is something I work on regularly with my guys - changing length of stride.  He had me work on straightening him and ensuring my leg was on more.  Big barrel and tiny legs = hard work.   I enjoyed being pushed to keep my leg on more more more.  This is something I work on but easily forget once I get going at home.




  With that finished we started over two x's 5 strides apart and were to canter down in 5 strides, return to trot at the end.  We got the 5 strides nicely and the trot didn't come right until the end of the ring.  He reminded me to hold him straighter and plan my transition earlier.  We did this many times and alternated between 5 and 6 strides.  Parker was adjustable and did them both easily.  Still just needing to straighten up and our transitions came quicker.  At one point Mike asked which stride was more comfortable to us for riding.  I said I was fine with either to which he replied "well that isn't possible you HAVE to like one more!".  I thought that was kind of strange because I truly am comfortable riding either stride length.  I mean I ride 3 horses regularly who are all different and very adjustable - this is a must for eventing! Oh well.

  Once we were capable through the waiting line we started onto courses.  Mike had us ride the 6 stride canter feel throughout the course and did not want us pursuing changes.  He said when you come to a fence and don't see a distance it is better to hold and wait wait wait until the distance comes then to arrive and either chip or be long.  He had me sit up to the fences which is the polar opposite of what I normally practice.  I have learned to ride in a more forward seat since my naturally tenancy is to be left behind and the forward seat has fixed this problem.





  I was thrilled with Parker - he jumped around all the scary fillers, got all the distances and waited like I asked.  I am not at all a fan of this idea of riding and holding into a fence as it feels very backwards to me.  I am curious if this is how the hunter riders who are reading are also taught?  For me I much prefer to allow a more forward flowing stride.  The distances find themselves and the changes are always much easily and fluid.  I did as I was told though and Parker listened.  I think Mike saw that Parker wasn't a crazy Thoroughbred but actually a very good boy by the end. 

  I'm not sure I will continue to ride this way at home in my training but it was certainly an interesting learning experience.  This is something Penny could benefit from to slow her down and encourage her to wait for the fences.  Overall I had fun, it was good to have Parker out to a new place and he behaved fairly while waiting in the middle of the ring.  Would I ride with him again?  Maybe if I was showing hunters, but I don't feel I took much away from the clinic other than a different way to ride into the fences and it wasn't a comfortable way to ride for me.  I liked Mike though and would recommend him to others.

  I am almost more excited for the fall winter clinic season than I am for show season...

10 comments:

  1. Hmm, well I'm always told to sit up and wait for the fence. For singles, you want to wait for the spot instead of chase it. It creates the calm, quiet ride... however I haven't been told to hold to the fence. Basically to sit up and make sure my canter is very, very even. If your natural tendency is to move up to the fence, I can see why he would tell you to hold. For hunters, you don't want it to look like you're doing any moving up... but that you stay exactly the same and the fence just comes to you :)

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    1. Thanks for adding your input! Myself I normally develop my canter 7-5 strides out and try to be ready by at least 3, then I just wait. I try not to adjust after 3 strides out. It almost seemed we were to fit in as many strides as possible before the jump. I do not like to move up to the fence unless I see a spot I need to move up for. Making very even makes sense though!

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  2. I'm always told to sit up and wait, mainly because if I leaned towards a fence Carlos would take the bait and charge, ramone not so much but I don't want to teach him my old habits. My trainer says to find your distance and ride it from as far back as possible (like the corner to the long approach fence) but really you should just be maintaining the same pace throughout. Anyways never heard of him, but I didn't really know if Hunters was popular in Canada.

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    1. oh it's huge up here....that's my preference to ride also.

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  3. I am certainly no hunter rider OR eventer rider .. in fact jumping does not come easily for me at all. But I have always found that I do find distances easier, and my jumps are smoother when I ride forward with more pace.

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  4. Riding one that has a tendency to back off a bit at newer jump I've become a much more "sit back and wait" rider, but that's just for safety reasons. I've always been told that hunter is all about the pace, and that is should look like you are just cantering around and the jumps happen to be there. So whether you pick a forward or a quiet pace, it must remain the same. Interesting clinic...glad your boy was so great for it!

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  5. aw Parker looks so cute in his borrowed bridle! i tend to sit up and wait to the fence bc i have a nasty habit of collapsing or making sudden moves with my body that throw off the horse... but now that isabel and i are getting a better rhythm, im' staying more forward with her... maybe? anyways, glad you had fun and that Parker was good!

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  6. I am working on learning to see my distances from farther and farther away, so I start looking 8ish strides out and "wait" until I see the distance.

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  7. Sounds like an interesting clinic! I agree with the above- I've heard sit back and wait- for me sitting back is a 3point and waiting (holding?) would be keeping my shoulders back to help encourage the distance to come up.

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