Clinic with Gina Smith
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Sunday, April 5, 2009 09:50 PM
Gina Smith is always emphasizing straightness and supple thoroughness in her work with horses and riders. Her exercises and combinations are
very helpful in bringing a horse to more correct balance and engagement and at the same time Gina wants horses to stay mentally relax
and focused. Her favorite phrase today was: "Intensity without tension." The horse is very engaged and responsive and at the same time supple and through.
Change of bend - Gina constantly asks riders to change bend. She uses all kinds of exercises for it, from simple shallow loops
to leg-yields head to the wall, to serpentines, to changes between shoulder-in and renvers, or counter shoulder-in and travers.
Straightness on circle lines - To keep your horse straight on a circle and to prevent collapse on outside shoulder think about your
outside aids like they are inside. Periodically ask your horse for counterflexion for a few steps and then true flexion again to check if he is supple
and through the back. Gina was saying: "Keep accessing his both sides."
Leg-yield on a diagonal - a. Leg-yield with the change of flexion toward the direction of the movement. Preparation for a half-pass.
b. Leg-yield across the diagonal in trot or canter, with lots of sideway movement and a lot of scope.
Shoulder-in in preparation for a half-pass - Gina always spends some time with the rider working on shoulder-ins, travers and renvers
before she asks for a half-pass. Especially, she pays attention to the shoulder-in. She wants it to be correct, engaged and flowing.
Warm-up sequence in canter - For advanced horses Prix St. George to Grand Prix Gina was asking a combination
of movements in canter for warm-up. She said this creates dexterity in canter and allows a horse to work through the back.
Exercise - Canter straight and ask your horse for a shoulder-in on the long side, straight through short side,
travers on the next long side. At the end half circle to change direction without changing the lead. Upon arriving at the wall, counter-shoulder-in
(which is true shoulder-in for the lead), straight through short side, ranvers on the long side, straight, flying change in the middle of the next long side.
Developing pirouettes - Square spiral with quarter pirouettes in the corners, canter out to a bigger circle. Round spiral to pirouette thinking
during spiral - shoulder-in, travers, shoulder-in, travers, until you come to the center and start riding a pirouette.
P.S. If some of my readers are wandering why my blogs became more spaced out in time I'm very busy right now. More work, horses in training
plus I'm shopping for a young horse for myself. It is exciting and very time consuming process. It is hard to clear my head enough to write well.