Thursday, January 26, 2012

Clinic Part 2

Sorry guys but I've been pretty fluey for the past few days so aside from trying to edit the more than 200 minutes of video I took at the clinic the other day (still not done!!!) and work on my mystery project I haven't done much else.  Since I haven't finished the video of the last part of the clinic where everyone but me did ridden exercises, this post is going to be kind of wee.

First I'll include the Yoga for Riding video, the subtitles are in Spanish for the benefit of the folks at my stable but I'll include a translation in English below.  The exercises are designed to improve your coordination, flexibility and balance and "train" your body to allow independent movement of one part without influencing the rest.  The idea is to do the exercises for a few minutes before every ride to loosen yourself up and not let  your stiffness or imbalance get in the way of your horse's movement.

  1. Rotate shoulders foreward and backward.
  2. Rotate the left shoulder forward and the right shoulder backward (then repeat on the other side).
  3. Move head slowly up and down, then left and right.
  4. Lift your leg and rotate it from the hip: first with your eyes open, then with your eyes closed.  Take note of which side is easier to work on the other one.
  5. Balance on one leg: first with your eyes open, then closed.
  6. Step forward in slow-motion with your eyes closed.
  7. Rotate your hips while keeping the rest of your body absolutely still.
  8. Windmills- rotate your torso left and right while swinging your arms.
  9. Write the alphabet in the air with one hand and the numbers from 1-10 in the air with the other.
  10. Now do the same while rotating your leg from the hip!
I've also made a video with some of the best moments of the roundpen session.  I've tried to include a little of both the horse's usual handler and Henry working with each and every horse in the workshop and there were a lot of fascinating moments, so it's almost 30 minutes long.  But if you're even a little interested I highly recommend watching all of it or even just skipping forward every few minutes since the horses, their reactions, their handlers and Henry's work with them are so incredibly unique.  A few examples are Starbuck who's a spoiled baby green 3 year old, former international show horse Gladys who was then used as a brood mare for several years and only recently brought back to the world of riding, and a few 20-something year old lesson geldings finally getting a chance to find their own personality with a private owner / leasor as well as some feisty younger mares with dominance issues (just a hint-- they're the ones wearing pink).
It was really a great experience since we were able to observe each of the horse's reactions and get some real insight into how the horse communicates its feelings, worries and desires.  It was also a great chance to soak up some of Henry's natural animal magnetism and try to assimilate some of the techniques he uses- mostly just being peaceful and not "expecting" anything while very clearly maintaining a leadership position, allowing the horse to decide when and how to respond to him and taking the time the horse needs instead of keeping a "human" schedule.  

I'll try to finish the video of the "ridden" part of the clinic today or tomorrow and upload it before the week is over :-)

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