Friday, October 28, 2011

Peter Atkins at BeaHive Ranch

October 22 & 23 was spent at the jaw-dropping gorgeous BeaHive Ranch in Springville IN for a Peter Atkins clinic.
BeaHive Ranch
Uhhuh. I brought my unclipped (he lives out all winter) fat pinto camp pony to this place. I was a bit intimidated...until I was greeted with warm smiles, hugs, steaming hot cocoa and welcome gifts. The furry pony was ushered into a freshly bedded stall complete with topped off water bucket. I was made to feel like family and we quickly settled in to enjoy our weekend.

My first lesson was later on Saturday so I spent the morning with a trusty bottle of Miracle Groom getting the beast the Moose presentable. As Moose is not normally stalled BeaHive had kindly provided a guest seemed a good idea to let him out for a bit to stretch his legs before the lesson. I left him quietly munching grass only to come back to this:
Iz ready for my lesson now

%$#@! We dusted off and got ready to ride. I was looking forward to continuing our education with Peter. Moose and I have worked with Peter since 2010 and under his guidance had been slowly making progress.  Peter took a minute to check on us a few minutes before the lesson started-he of course wanted to see the canter. I think he was pleased (yay!). He gave me some home work (canter-trot transitions every 4 strides as well as walk-canter transitions) and then it was time to start the group lesson.

The clinic began in traditional Peter Atkins style (if Peter had a punch card I could no doubt redeem it for a free lesson or 2!) with riders navigating scattered poles in an exercise I call "pick-up sticks". Moose and I have already done this in previous lessons as well as praticed at home so were able to complete the task now as easily as the "first-timers"...but hey-that's progress!

The pick-up sticks are are systematically removed and jumps added until resulting in a traditional grid.

Through the Grid
I felt Moose and I did well...hell we have had lots of practice at this. However, I did not perform as well as I hoped. Reflecting on this I realized I had not been jumping much at home. Our work has mostly focused on improving that gaits (especially the canter). When I did jump it was through a series of low bounces used to improved the canter (Peter homework from July) so I had not been working on me. Another factor was fitness. I have completely slacked off on the exercise routine as of late. The body control was just not there.

On to Sunday -Cross Country! Moose had recently completed starter at the Come Again Farm Horse Trials and I was ready to work on our improved skills. Apparently so was Peter.
We started out easy enough over some beginner novice and novice type fences. Moose Tracks was jumping great! 
Unfortunately I had the same feeling from the grids lesson -not enough body control and not enough fitness. This became more apparent as the fences got a bit bigger. Poor Moose had never jumped fences like this:
meh, it looked bigger in person
I was now asking him to jump a few training fences for the first time and instead of helping him he had to help me. Good Moosey. Bad Amy.

I came off cross country thrilled with my wonderful, kind, generous horse! And vowed to not do that to him again. I will be fit next time.

Days later I am still replaying how wonderful my horse was for me. Thank you BeaHive for allowing us to use your beautiful property, for stuffing us with goodies and for the very genuine hospitality and kindness. Thank you Peter for sticking with Moose and I as we fumble around the sport of eventing. And thank you MooseMan for taking care of me.


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