What a weekend in Mesquite!  We took eight horses down to Meadowbrook Farm in Bunkerville, NV (right outside Mesquite) for a weekend of camping, sun, and jumping.  We each took lessons from Wendy Pohl and I think it’s safe to say that horses and riders improved as quickly as was noticeable hour to hour!  Sara and Grace Kelly have returned from California, and they worked with Wendy on enforcing straightness in order to allow GK to use her body effectively over fences.  Sara and GK plan to move up to Training Level this year, so maximizing the horse’s body is very important!
Wendy then worked with Anika and Zeke and Hannah and Nito on tweaking the riders’ body positions in order to improve the balance for each horse.  Balance encourages straightness and power within the horse, and while for Nito this means improving accuracy over increasingly complicated fences, for Zeke this balance helps him jump freely and fluidly as he learns the ‘jumping ropes’.  Both Anika and Hannah have their sights set on Novice and Training Level goals, so their diligent attention to their positions will really help them succeed.  Way to go, ladies!
Beth and Lucia came to Mesquite after only a week jumping and before they knew it, they were jumping complicated courses of fences!  Wendy asked Beth to be clear and concise to Lucia, which forced Beth to be slow and organized with her aides.  The result of her organization and preparation was several fun and easy jump rounds that made them both look like jumping professionals.  I’m so excited for the two of them!
Maddy and Susan also joined us for the weekend with Dime and Hobbs.  While Susan got a few bruises from a minor horse/rider ‘miscommunication,’ Maddy and Dime continued through the weekend working on riding forward and onward!  Wendy discussed with Maddy the importance of impulsion and energy when asking the horse to use his hindquarters over fences, and by the second day, Maddy had turned a lazy pony into a working pony.  While Susan is recovering from her injury and cheering from the side, I know that both Maddy and Dime will be working hard to maintain their new-found umph for show season.  Yippee!
As for Alekhine, her previous show-ring baggage got the best of her and we had a rather anxious weekend.  However, I did receive valuable advice from Wendy, which included the importance of riding from our leg and riding the horse forward, no matter their behavior.  Thanks to a reiteration of this same idea while riding with Stephanie Goodman, Ale and I currently have lots of work to do and we’re practicing hard:)
Oh, and there will be video to follow…posted on FB.  Stay Tuned!