Some posts take forever to post, don’t they? Without further ado, the Dr. Christian Schacht clinic recap.
Dr. Christian Schacht is a clinician who lives in Germany, and travels quite frequently all over the world to give clinics both on the flat and jumping. He is a vet, a judge, and has written books and produced videos about breeding, conformation, and of course riding and training.
I’ve had the pleasure to audit his clinics in the past: you can find the January 2013 recap here and the December 2013 recap here. I learned so much from auditing that I decided he was worth the significant fee (higher than I’d ever paid for a lesson before).
The night before the clinic, I was a bit nervous. Hemie’s never been to this barn and I thought it was quite possible that we might have some wigging-out antics. However, what really worried me was getting to the facility. In a trailer. This would be our first time loading up since the incident.
I got Hemie a trailer ride with the fabulous Chemaine Hurtado, who had a GIANT rig and Hemie got the double-wide, box-stall area in the back. Happily, he stepped right on, no problem.
|Symphony Dressage’s nice trailer!|
At the facility, I got Hemie settled in a day stall and I caught the last half of Karen’s lesson (of Not So Speedy Dressage). She and Sydney have come A LONG WAY since I saw them in December. It’s quite inspiring. Check out her blog for fabulous recap posts of the clinic.
|Karen on Sydney|
I watched several other rides too, including one where Christian himself hopped on, to help teach an 18-year old horse how to do a lead change.
Finally it was time for my lesson. Hemie was alert but overall fairly calm. Karen kindly ponied us around for a few minutes after I mounted, which certainly made Hemie feel more at ease. We entered the arena and Hemie went right to work.
- Lean back with shoulders.
- Sit deep in saddle.
- Shorter reins.
- Don’t look inside the turn – keep eyes over outside ear.
- “Soften” means loosen the pinky finger only – just a very small release, do not lose contact.
- On a circle, place outside hand at the wither and inside hand on the knee. Flex to the inside, very dramatic flex.
- Inside bend leg yield around the circle.
- Figure 8s – counterflex then true bend.
- “Deep” means more arch in the neck, not a lower nose.
- Be sure he bends his whole neck, not just at the poll.
- Turn with the outside aids.
- Use inside leg to shorten the canter stride.
- Use a flash, unless you have a strong reason not to.
- Be sure to have tight noseband – this makes the bit more stable and reduces nutcracker action on the tongue and bottom of the mouth.
- “Think show jumping canter.”
- “You are dancing together, not fighting.”
- “Lovely horse.”
- “If I were 20 years younger, I would take this horse eventing.” <>
Overall I took away a feeling that I am too subtle with my aids and with the amount that I’m asking from Hemie – I need to be more dramatic overall, and expect faster, stronger results. I also need to focus more on correct positioning in order to be most effective.
Thank you so much to Karen for taking great photos – happily I thought we looked much better towards then end than at the beginning: the sign of an effective lesson.