matt/ May 2, 2014/ Uncategorized

Over the Easter weekend, I had the opportunity to ride in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Clinic with Scott Hassler.  Devonwood Equestrian Centre, in Sherwood, OR, graciously hosted the event.  We had a total of 8 horses/riders in the clinic.

One of the highlights of the weekend was to see how the quality of young horses in the Pacific Northwest has dramatically improved over the years.  There is now more depth in the quality of young horses in the area than ever before.  It will be fun to watch all of these horses, and some of the others that weren’t in the clinic, develop over the coming years.  Talking with some of my colleagues, it looks like we have 4-6 horses aiming to qualify for the Young Horse Dressage Championships this year.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with my training sessions with Scott.  Scott lays out simple, yet extremely effective approach to training a young horse.  Over the two days, we worked with Leo on being more responsive to the leg so that he would then glide out in front of me with the simplest of leg pressure.  In addition, we worked on keeping him up a little higher in the shoulders in the canter to help with his balance, especially in the left lead canter.  All in all, Leo showed improvement over the two days of the clinic.  Scott was impressed with how he is doing and hopes we can do big things in the future.

Here is the video from the second day of the clinic:

Later that week, I took Leo to one day with Conrad Schumacher at Pumpkin Farms for Conrad to give us an eye and insight on how we are doing.  The ride went great.  I have been doing cavelletti with Leo at the trot, but not at the canter.  Conrad had us not only doing 3 poles at the trot but also at the canter.  Doing the poles helped sustain Leo’s rhythm and little bit better in the canter, which then helped out with the balance. 

Here is the video from the Conrad clinic:

All in all, Leo is in a great place right now and we are ready to head down to California to train at W Farms with David Wilson and to show at the Flintridge Dressage Show.  You can follow our progress here or at Leo’s website.

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