Anna returned last weekend for another very successful clinic. She arrived on Friday at lunchtime and we went straight back to my yard and I had a short lesson on my horse Dylan (we didn't have long before the first lesson was booked in!).
The first lesson Anna gave was to Dyann Clark on her horse Paddy at Mill End Equestrian where we had hired the Indoor arena. It was Dyann's first lesson with Anna and they started with some basic exercises to help Dyann put her horse a little straighter and more onto her aids. They finished with some really nice and relaxed steps of trot and some well ridden transitions. From there we went - like on Anna's first visit- to Caroline Mascaux’s yard to see Patty Clarkson and Sophie Buchner. Several people Anna had met on her previous visit came to watch as well as some new faces. It was lovely to see everyone and it was really interesting to watch Anna give a lesson to Nicky Lynn. We also got to see Sophie and her Pony Bonnie and Anna had the big honour of Patty showing her Stormy in a lunging session.
On Saturday we started early to get to see the twins Silvia and Francesca Doria down in Surrey. Francesca’s Friesian Pacheco had made a great improvement since Anna's last visit and she had got him reacting much better to her forward aids. He went really well in the session and when Francesca managed to keep her core stable and her hands soft and calm he went into a really nice forward trot with a lovely long neck! Anna helped Silvia to work her horse Pacco a bit more effectively on the lunge before riding- and he really woke up and showed us that he can still move like a youngster! It was really nice to see that he had gained so much energy since the last time Anna was here. Next on the list and much closer to home was the lovely George. An absolute sweetheart of a horse that I usually work with. His owner Caroline (whom I usually teach) kindly let us borrow George so I was able to have another lesson. With Anna's help we started to introduce him to the basic lateral work which will help him a lot to improve his balance. Then it was back to my yard where Anna gave a lesson to Alex (The lovely lady who owns the yard) and her beautiful 4 year old warmblood Gabbana. As soon as Alex had him more in front of her and really allowed him to let his big movement out he stretched beautifully and began to swing really nicely in the back. After having another session on Dylan- in which Anna really put me through my paces - we had a lovely dinner in the local pub with hours of "horsey" talk.
On Sunday we also started early and went to Barrow Farm where Kate Prowse had organised a great indoor arena. The first rider of the day was Sally with her lovely Spanish mare Zara. Anna worked on transitions and straightening with this pair and as the young mare liked to twist in the poll they worked on getting Sally’s outside rein better and getting her horse more with her seat. Second horse of the day was a quite insecure young warmblood mare who Anna first lunged herself. This calmed the mare well down so Anna could then show her owner Nicola how to give her a little more security. Nicola has to now work on all the basics which were still missing and had led to all these misunderstandings and therefore insecurities in her horse. Next was Marian with her Pony gelding Archie. This pony is almost 26 years old but I know a lot of horses that would be happy to look this good at the age of 15! Anna used some lateral work to get him better away from the forehand and also with the help of some laterals it was much easier for him to keep his balance when Marian tried to take him back with her seat. The last rider before the lunch break was Jacqui and her horse Malbec. With these two Anna had her main focus on the straightness of the rider. Which helped the forwardness of the horse in the lateral movements and to give them an idea of the right rhythm for this horse to make it possible for him to use his back and start "carrying" his rider properly. And at the end they got some really nice steps of trot. The first rider after lunch was Yvonne and her mare Tess. They had made big improvements since their first lesson with Anna last year. Last time it still took a great effort to get the mare to move forward at all, this time it was possible for Anna to work with Yvonne on her mares rhythm, transitions and "playing" on the seat a little to send her forward and take her back. Well done! After these two Barbara and spot came in. At the beginning the gelding was really tense and even gritted his teeth every now and again. So Anna worked on the use of the rider’s leg to get the horse to bend and relax and in the end Barbara managed to drop her shoulders, arms and hands, give more and more reins and accept the forward movements of her horse. I think she even enjoyed how freely he moved and was still with her. The last couple of the day were Kate Prowse and her gelding Harry. I must say I was really impressed, as was Anna, by the change of these two since the last clinic! Not only was Harry way more forward, a lot more flexible and better "on" the reins but Kate had improved her seat so much and since she now has a whole new stability in her back and core it has improved her hands so much! It seems she doesn't feel the need of "holding" him up so much anymore as she can now lift him up with her seat! Well done!!
As last time- Anna really enjoyed the positive atmosphere and great horse people she got to teach and she is looking forward to May!