Lainey Ashker Clinic 4.1.17 – Day 2

As I mentioned in the opening of Day 1’s recap, Day 2 started in the completely opposite way: not good.

No, I didn’t fall off (yet), but I had a flat out refusal over a tiny baby oxer. An oxer so small Gus could have stepped over it. No one else had had an issue, Gus should not have had an issue but I had not gotten him in front of my leg and, being just a little tired, Gus wasn’t having any of it.

I could feel the tears welling up. I wanted a hole to open up and swallow us. I wanted Lainey to tell me we were hopeless and to send me home. I wanted to be anywhere but at that clinic. Instead I sniffled, put my shoulders back and tried again, this time with some actual forward momentum.

Obviously, Lainey did not tell me to get off. Instead we talked about Gus and what I was going to need to do to really bring out his full potential (because, as we all know, Lainey loves Gus). Besides the fact that I need to sit up and not get ahead of the jump, I need to support Gus every step of the way. He’s a wonderful jumper but a careful horse. If he doesn’t feel like it’s safe, and I don’t tell him that it is, he’s going to stop. And I need to tell him it’s safe by keeping him in front of my leg and sitting tall.

Crazy how I needed a reminder on something I had written about just days ago but I did.

You would think after that things would run relatively smoothly. But no, you would be wrong. I forgot everything that Lainey told me and had another stop at the first jump in a triple line. Another oxer, this time slightly bigger. We got over it the second time and then after he had already gone over the dang thing, Gus dumped me.

My first fall with Gus. And right in front of Lainey. Ugh.

But you know what we didn’t have a refusal or fall at?

The triple bar.

Or the big Swedish oxer.

Or the Liverpool.

That’s right, sometimes Gus and I know how to get a job done. I think I was so over confident that Gus would just go over that little oxer that I didn’t ride to it like I rode to the fences I knew would bother him. So that’s my fault. But Lainey didn’t give Gus a pass on this one either. Her philosophy is pretty much exactly like mine. The horse has to go over and while we can give some leeway with new things when they’re green, Gus had no excuse on that little oxer. It was small and he had already jumped it. He should have gone even if I was hanging halfway off him.

Somewhat to my surprise, we actually were able to get through the whole course once without a major issue. Hillary even got it on video for me. 

This clinic ended up being exactly what I needed. It’s a reminder that I still need a lot of work and that Gus hasn’t become some magically seasoned horse. We’ll get there though.

In the end, after watching the video from Hillary and having a few good nights to sleep on it, I’m glad I went. Lainey is such a wonderful mentor and I would love to ride with her more regularly. Thankfully I have the next best thing in LT and I know she will sooth my bruised ego and get Gus and I in sync in time for our first HT.

10 thoughts on “Lainey Ashker Clinic 4.1.17 – Day 2

  1. Awww, that’s super hard, but I totally get it. Gus sounds a lot like P in that he’s super careful and takes his confidence from his rider. Sometimes I’m just plain ol’ not confident! But the course video looked great, you guys look awesome together!

    1. Yes, that is exactly how Gus us. Sometimes that’s hard because I’m not all that ballsy but it’s teaching me to be a better rider.

  2. So I had to learn from one of my really tough coaches that his lessons were designed to be challenging. They were designed to expose my weaknesses and the holes in our training. In essence, they were designed to show where we struggled so that he could set about helping us fix whatever the issues were. It was a hard lesson to learn bc I often felt like a failure. But it isn’t failure. It’s just learning. And he would always tell me that if we didn’t struggle and if we didn’t make mistakes, then we weren’t learning anything. Obvi this style of learning needs to be counterbalanced by opportunities to build confidence and feel empowered as a rider or horse…. But it’s effective. And once I could stop feeling like a failure and instead just try to think clinically or scientifically about the gaps we identified, it became a lot easier to use the lessons to my advantage. Nice job sticking with it and I’m glad you feel overall positive about the experience!

  3. Oh man, that’s a bad way to start off a clinic. I’m glad you stuck with it though and got through everything else. Gus looks lovely and interested in all the pictures.

  4. That video is lovely- a few bobbles but you guys totally recovered. I loved his peek at the liverpool: ‘holy crap there’s something down there!’ and then he carried on. 😀

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