Monday, June 9, 2008

O'Connor Camp Day 2

We started off the day today with the bull.... which I like to call Big Red. It was very, very interesting! David and Cathy worked the back of Big Red and Amy was up front... It stimulated the horse's movements to the extreme. It was kind of like buck, rear, buck, rear, buck, rear...
Here's Karen on Big Red.
After the bull biz David did a small lecture pretty much on Rider Responsibility. He went through his 5 communication responsibilities: Direction, Speed, Rhythm, Balance, Timing. Then he went to talk about pressure and his idea of the "bucket" horse. (Put 4 horses in a field and 1 bucket with food.- 1 horse will be eating out of the bucket, 2 will be whining because they aren't eating out of the bucket, and the last will be off to the side waiting for everyone else to finish eating then go see whats left.) He explained how we as riders should be the "bucket" person and not our horses. He went through a list of tools and aids to be used to help establish the leadership over the horse followed by a demo on all of the natural horsemanship stuff they do. He made it very clear that rope is not magic!

He taught us all about the four yields- hind end yield, front end yield, back up, and head down. Then we all went into the ring with our horses- and all of our new sick nasty western horse gear- and practiced the yields from the ground. We finished the work with everyone lined up on the center line back to back- we had to back our horses up away from us and keep them out on the rope-- all of us at the same time.
And we did it!
After we did some ground work we ate some lunch... Then got to ride for the first time!

We broke up into 4 random groups of about 5 and worked with all of the yields we did on the ground but from the saddle this time. I rode with Karen and Wes was pretty good with all of the yields. Our group was one lucky enough to make it up to the trot! (Trust me, this was way cool... trotting=awesome). He did all of the yields pretty well... but apparently I'm still wicked crooked when I ride! (Something to work on...) From this riding session the four instructors will break everyone up in to groups based on our levels- which we find out tomorrow morning when we ride "for real".

After we cooled our horses and cleaned up a bit we sat down with Max for another lecture. She taught us about studs. And having been to events all over the world with Karen, I think she knows what she's talking about. Max taught us the basic types of studs and when to use what. Then she went into some specifics just for fun. She showed us this one pair of studs that Amy used at WEG in Germany last year- HOLY CRAP. She had 3 of these things in each back shoe. They seriously were an inch long. Then Max had this pair that a farrier made special for Karen and David before some championship, they looked like arrow heads. Crazy stuff...

So tomorrow morning we all get back on Big Red- this time with a saddle. Then we do some flat work in the morning and finish the afternoon with some stadium jumping.
This place is awesome!

p.s. Wesman loves his stall!

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