Coaching Camp and Exams. Part III
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Monday, August 11, 2008 11:12 AM
Friday was the exams day. We had to teach a student on the longe line, ride flat test, jump a course, put bandages and answer questions about barn management (feeding, conformation, hooves and shoeing, equestrian facilities, unsoundness sites and causes, tack and it's use).
For longing lesson candidates were paired up with each other and one horse. We were given 10 minutes to show that we can longe a horse to prepare it for the rider and to teach a subject. I have chosen rising trot. I explained what to do on a standing horse and asked the rider to do rising trot in walk and then in trot. I had to give ongoing feedback on the subject I was teaching and on the general position and aids of the rider.
After that I had an hour to prepare B2 for my flat test. Luckily, he was in his stall and had a flysheet on so he was decently clean. Braiding his mane took me about 30 minutes. I said to myself if I do not braid half of the mane in 15 minutes I will not braid at all. B2 was very nice and stood still. I have trimmed his ears and made his tail full of body and flow, he has such beautiful tail. When I was ready to go and stepped out of the barn and saw how gorgeous B2 looks I have realized I did not have my camera :( I was so busy with preparation and studying I forgot about pictures. My plan to prepare B2 for the test was to get his attention, get him nice and round, sharpen him to the leg a little but not drill too much and not let him stand and wait before test. We were running late and I was worried that B2 gets tired, annoyed and inattentive. I walked him on free rein then did couple minutes of trot and canter than walked again. When I did that routine for the third time B2 started to get stubborn. I was thinking:"Oh, no!" I decided to walk and pray that my time will be very soon. My strategy paid off. B2 was great! The test went according to my expectations and even a little better. The test was simple. I memorized it after seeing for the first time: working trot and canter, lengthenings, free walk, figures eight in trot and canter. On 20 m circle I had to let B2 chew reins out of my hands, he put his head right to the ground, we lost a little bit of balance at the end because of lack of engagement. But that is something I didn't insist on. Not knowing B2's limits I didn't want to blow my test. Besides, it wasn't a competition. I analyzed my performance for examinators to show that I understand what has happened during my ride and what needs more work.
Now I have an hour to cool down and groom B2, get Kopper, groom, tack and warm him up before jumping test starts. I decided not to braid his mane and just work on his tail. My plan for warm up was to make him very sharp to my legs. By the time we were allowed to jump gymnastics Kopper was flying from the slightest request. I kept him in his natural frame not asking for any collection, that was Trish's advice from Thursday. It was working beautifully. The whole gymnastics exercise went very smooth. We got all the distances right and it felt easier than on Thursday. Our course was 3 feet high with 9 jumps, one double combination, one trot jump, roll back, two changes of direction, two jumps on bending line with related distances and two jumps on straight line with related distances, two oxers. We jumped clean, however, not smooth :) I lost energy and had to scramble to get two strides in combination, overrode last turn and came too close to a jump, luckily Kopper knew what to do and I was quick enough to get out of his way. I was worried about jumping bending line because of my inexperience in jumping. So I focused on riding a line and not thinking about jumps. I got a little close to the first one, but we got a good distance to the second one. After the ride I had to explain what went right and wrong during my ride, how many strides I got here and there and what I need to do to ride the course better. I was very pleased with Kopper, we did better than many who claimed to be jumper riders. I know I was given a school jumping horse. But I also know that horse does only as well as a rider rides it. In general I was very pleased with the horses I rode and the performances we did. I was pleased with myself and the way I have handled everything.
Bandages and barn management was easier than I thought. Because I studied and practiced at home I felt prepared. My bandages were tidy and correct and I was confident with my answers to barn management questions.
The day went well and only teaching test was left for Saturday. I spent 2 hours at night writing my lesson plan and drawing a layout of the facility. Emergency Action Plan I did on Thursday night. I even managed to sleep at night :)
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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