Steve Halfpenny, Ozzie (15yo) and Matilda (4yo) At Aug 2017 Clinic

By , August 31, 2017 4:02 pm

This was a great 3 day clinic in Tipperary. There was about 6 weeks since Steve’s last clinic, I was working away during this time on my homework. It was going to be really interesting to see if we had improved since the clinic earlier this summer!

Anything below that doesn’t make sense is 100% my fault.

I had my 2 horses here. 4yo Matilda had just starting riding 6 weeks ago at Steve’s first clinic. Since then Dad & I had ridden her quite often, so she was feeling a lot more confident to have a rider on board. She was also a lot less brace in her body, there was now some softness and bend in her neck, and with some serpentines she was stepping under nicely with her inside hind.

15yo Ozzie turned into a legend at the last clinic. Finally we really had relaxation! This was a breakthrough of gigantic proportions. I do credit a lot of this to his updated diet which now includes calmer herbs, and Nutri-Calm, a liquid Vitamin B & magnesium supplement. They seem to have made a huge different to how he feels and how he can cope with stress and nerves. Wonderful! I had been riding since the last clinic with a bamboo. This has also been huge. It’s been the most effective thing I’ve ever tried to really get the feet in my hands, reduce the falling out, falling in, and really ride a beautiful soft, light, horse.

MATILDA DAY 1:

Steve rode Matilda. He said she was stepping under much better with her hind end. Also riding to the left (left rein) was much improved. Matilda does need a bit more energy, so practise while walking, asking the HQ to move out, but keep the energy and keep walking, don’t stop.

On the afternoon of day 1, Matilda did her first trots with Steve. Not a bother, all very relaxed.

MATILDA DAY 2:

Steve started off with some groundwork. First was the scary flag stuff. And high energy spooky stuff. Matilda definitely thought about it but figured it out well. At clinic 1, Matilda panicked when asked to canter in groundwork. This we suspect was the previous owners ‘over-enthusiastic’ lunging over fences style. We had been working on this over the last few weeks…

Steve worked on this, was while it was much improved it was still a worry for her. So he figured out if you can get her to the edge of her comfort zone in trot, and then change your mind, let her pass you and walk to where he HQ were, and walk off in a straight line with her following you, that will really help. So when she panics, instead of trying to pull away form you, she will look for you for comfort.

MATILDA DAY 3:

Today Steve played with circles in trot and then walking out past where her hind used to be. Huge improvement today after yesterdays new approach.

Steve rode Matilda as well. He rode with the bamboo. he tapped the hind to get more forwards, and then used the bamboo to help get a softer turn. Matilda has to keep moving and not end up at a halt. This was just gorgeous to watch. Steve trotted her around again too. He said ‘she’s going to be really soft isn’t she?’.

Wow.

AFTERNOON DAY 3:

It was really really wet & windy. Really noisy and a spooky environment. I just didn’t believe how great Matilda as. It was like it was a summers day! I had done a little work to get her used to being somewhere noisy, but this far exceeded my expectations. Steve rode her. In the circles, use the bamboo is she doesn’t turn from a very light touch on the inside rein. Don’t use more rein, use the bamboo to move the inside hind out, or to tap the outside shoulder. Amazing. What a horse.

OZZIE DAY 1:

This was a great 3 day clinic in Tipperary. There was about 6 weeks since Steve’s last clinic, I was working away during this time on my homework. It was going to be really interesting to see if we had improved since the clinic earlier this summer!

Anything below that doesn’t make sense is 100% my fault.

I had my 2 horses here. 4yo Matilda had just starting riding 6 weeks ago at Steve’s first clinic. Since then Dad & I had ridden her quite often, so she was feeling a lot more confident to have a rider on board. She was also a lot less brace in her body, there was now some softness and bend in her neck, and with some serpentines she was stepping under nicely with her inside hind.

15yo Ozzie turned into a legend at the last clinic. Finally we really had relaxation! This was a breakthrough of gigantic proportions. I do credit a lot of this to his updated diet which now includes calmer herbs, and Nutri-Calm, a liquid Vitamin B & magnesium supplement. They seem to have made a huge different to how he feels and how he can cope with stress and nerves. Wonderful! I had been riding since the last clinic with a bamboo. This has also been huge. It’s been the most effective thing I’ve ever tried to really get the feet in my hands, reduce the falling out, falling in, and really ride a beautiful soft, light, horse.

MATILDA DAY 1:

Steve rode Matilda. He said she was stepping under much better with her hind end. Also riding to the left (left rein) was much improved. Matilda does need a bit more energy, so practise while walking, asking the HQ to move out, but keep the energy and keep walking, don’t stop.

On the afternoon of day 1, Matilda did her first trots with Steve. Not a bother, all very relaxed.

MATILDA DAY 2:

Steve started off with some groundwork. First was the scary flag stuff. And high energy spooky stuff. Matilda definitely thought about it but figured it out well. At clinic 1, Matilda panicked when asked to canter in groundwork. This we suspect was the previous owners ‘over-enthusiastic’ lunging over fences style. We had been working on this over the last few weeks…

Steve worked on this, was while it was much improved it was still a worry for her. So he figured out if you can get her to the edge of her comfort zone in trot, and then change your mind, let her pass you and walk to where he HQ were, and walk off in a straight line with her following you, that will really help. So when she panics, instead of trying to pull away form you, she will look for you for comfort.

MATILDA DAY 3:

Today Steve played with circles in trot and then walking out past where her hind used to be. Huge improvement today after yesterdays new approach.

Steve rode Matilda as well. He rode with the bamboo. he tapped the hind to get more forwards, and then used the bamboo to help get a softer turn. Matilda has to keep moving and not end up at a halt. This was just gorgeous to watch. Steve trotted her around again too. He said ‘she’s going to be really soft isn’t she?’.

Wow.

AFTERNOON DAY 3:

It was really really wet & windy. Really noisy and a spooky environment. I just didn’t believe how great Matilda as. It was like it was a summers day! I had done a little work to get her used to being somewhere noisy, but this far exceeded my expectations. Steve rode her. In the circles, use the bamboo is she doesn’t turn from a very light touch on the inside rein. Don’t use more rein, use the bamboo to move the inside hind out, or to tap the outside shoulder. Amazing. What a horse.

OZZIE DAY 1:

Ozzie was great this morning. The bamboo work had worked! Steve looked at him and said he’s great, but now you need more energy. What you’re doing now is very much in Oz’s comfort zone. This was great. So do everything with more energy!

This afternoon we came out a changed horse + rider combo. We did gorgeous trot circles around 8 traffic cones. With softness, the correct bend, a happy forwards horse. At the UK clinic I spectated, when doing rising trot, Steve had the riders use the correct diagonal, and then each time you rise in the trot, you turn your pelvis a fraction to the middle of the circle. This influences the horse inside hind to step under more and as a result you get that lovely balanced circle bend. Absolutely magic! I was over the moon with Oz. Forwards, soft & happy! This was such a milestone for us. What a great horse. I really find spectating at Steve’s UK clinics so educational, as I have to hear and see something a few times before it sticks in my head, and I can try it out with a degree of success with Ozzie.

OZZIE DAY 2:

Started off with trot circles in the (not so) scary corner. Steve was reaching walk exercises so I can busy trying them all in trot in the most difficult place 😀 What comfort zone?!

In the short serpentines, when Oz turned right (my left) I need to keep asking him to turn until there is a good bend in his neck, and only then allow him to go straight again.

Then back in the saddle. I needed more energy in all our lateral movements. So I’d ask for a lateral movement, and then we’d trot out of it! This was so much fun. And it got our lateral work softer and with more energy. And we had so much fun with our energetic soft trots! I know an amazing rider in the UK called Camilla. She does gorgeous lateral work and then goes off on big loose rein trots and canters around the arena, and then back to lateral work again. This is what I was trying to replicate! I couldn’t believe how well Oz was doing. And how much fun it all was!

Then Ozzie got even better! It was time for our dressage tests. First all all the riders walked 3 tests on foot, with Steve at the top of the line talking us through what we needed to do. I called out a few tests, and then it was my turn to ride.

Holy cow.

Oz was a superstar. We got 70%! Our highest mark ever! And it included a great result for the holy grail – soft feel!

I was so proud.

Later on we played with having a lariat in a straight line up the middle of the arena. The goal was to walk up it, with 2 of your horses feet on either side of it. This is tricky as Oz tends just to step on it.

I did it not very well twice, and then I had an idea.

On our third attempt, I focused on the front feet. We were on the line. So as we walked I asked his front left leg to step forwards and sidewards to the left. Then his front right leg to step forwards sideways to the right. I did this by using the inside rein and my outside toe at his shoulder.

It worked! We did a crazy straight line walk with the lariat between his front feet for 4 steps. That was something I never even thought was possible to do. Talk about a breakthrough clinic!

OZZIE DAY 3:

We worked on walk pirouettes. The easiest way for Oz to figure these out is counter bend on a circle to HQ in / pirouette. We have to leave then on a fast walk or a trot to keep the energy up. Steve rode Oz to do these. Oz tried sooo hard.. there was so much Connemara concentration going on it was amazing. Steve at this stage had renamed Ozzie the ‘born again’ Connemara.

A great quote form Steve:

“The difference between a dream and your goals, is that you take action on your goals.”

In the afternoon, we played with some more walk pirouettes. Then we had a fun ‘mirroring’ game with Eidin and Patrick. My head was now 100% officially full. This was a superb clinic.

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