Colin Carson Clinic #2

May 2, 2014

Last Friday several of us met up with Colin Carson for a second mounted games clinic.

We worked on Speed Weavers, Ball and Cone, 3 Mug, and 4 Flag.

Speed Weavers is a race I have become somewhat incompetent at. Ridiculous, right? You just weave up through the poles, turn the end, and weave back, what is there to suck at? Most would say end turns, but mine are actually relatively tight and clean. For me it is the actual bending, particularly, on the bend back.  I kept saying that I felt like my hands were all over the place, and Poe and I were just not communicating. Colin suggested I let off Poe’s face some and use my legs a lot more. This seemed to help greatly. Although see the yet-to-be-written-post about MA1 for an update on my lack of bending skills. Clearly this is a race I need to work on at home, and train the communication Poe and I need into it.

 

Colin also had us work on hand offs, and holding the baton differently. I quite like this technique, although after 25 years of holding the baton in the “normal” fashion, it feels unnatural and will take a little work for me to change. Which is also a little hard for someone who rides mainly on their own.

 

At some point while working on Speed Weavers, the rain started. And we rode on.

 

Next race up, 3 Mug. This race is often thought of as being all about 3 small round circles, but it is not so much about circles, it’s about angles. He gave visual turn points and leg pressure instructions, and everyone’s 3 Mug became smoother. Mine specifically, was calling for a lot of more left leg. This is something I need to work on in group practices. At home, Poe is running this race like a champ. But around the other ponies, he is skirting wider on his placement turn. This is something I need to keep in mind for a group practice.

 

At this point we were cold and thoroughly soaked through. But on we rode.

We moved onto Ball and Cone. As with all races, Colin had us run the race, and then he commented and instructed. I was pleased to be told that my Ball and Cone was good *and I sighed with relief*. Of course I still listened in while Colin instructed how balls should be removed with a snatching motion, and not a pushing motion. Its very interesting how something seemingly as simple as picking up a tennis ball that is balanced on top of a traffic cone can be so technical and thought out.

 

The rain continued, getting heavier, and some rumbles could *maybe* be heard in the distance, we pushed onto one more quick race, 4 Flag. Colin instructed me to go first, and to perform a left turn into my flag pick. He laid out markers to turn around, and after the second try, Poe was eager and responsive to work on this new skill. Linda followed us, also turning left for her pick. And we both had several successful picks. Colin then showed us how he wished us to stop, and perform our placement. We tried to run all of this together, although there will be some work put into this race at home before the next big competition. I would really like to be able to make that nice left hand turn, which Poe really seemed to roll right out of nicely. Practice practice practice.

 

Before we were completely through 4 Flag, a large rumble was clearly heard, and not imagined, which had us clearing the field. During our charge back to the barn, a crack of lightning lite up the grey sky, and I remembered Carol Ann’s insistence from a pervious storm to not move too fast in these situations because you will create a static field (or wave, or something???) behind you that will attract lightning. Thanks for inducing a respectful fear of lightning in me, Carol Ann!

 

After the two clinics I came away with a ton of stuff to work on. Luckily I have a very eager pony, who really wants to please. Colin commented on how receptive Poe is, and how willing he is to do well. This is strikingly true. It is also a fantastic time for him to learn these new skills and technics with me. Poe is sponge like with games still, and still very responsive and excepting of all cues. Unlike an old-hat, that can do the sport without a rider, Poe is still learning. I have given him this week off (not so much by choice, it rained all week), but plan to start putting in some practice time on some specifics starting next week. Updates to follow of course!

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