Monday, 28 December 2015

Jessica Phoenix Clinic Day 1

I was waiting for media before I posted this but I'm beginning to think it will never happen. (Someone video'd me on their phone since mine got cold and died).

The weekend got off to a rocky start.  On Thursday evening I loaded everything into the trailer and then went to hook it up to my truck, since I was planning to leave before 6am on Friday morning. I had the driver's side window rolled down and when I got out to brush the snow out of the box so I could see the hitch, I closed the door normally. Unfortunately, for some reason my window shattered. Thankfully it was mostly contained within the door. (When The Boy replaced the window, he noticed that my after-market speakers were quite deep and a little loose, he figures the back of the speaker hit the window).

This led to some last minute panicking. The Dodge 1500 isn't big enough to pull my trailer and doesn't have a hitch. The Boy's redneck truck has a gooseneck hitch but when we plugged my trailer in the lights weren't working, so that was a no go (Yes, we have 3 trucks, 4, if you count the race truck).

I managed to get a hold of one of the other girls who was going and arranged for her to haul Dee for me. She awesomely agreed to go much earlier than planned since I rode in one of the first groups. I loaded all my crap into the little truck (since she was driving home every night, and I had made arrangements to stay close to the facility)

Day 1:

I rode at 10:30 and had originally planned to be there in time to watch part of the 9:00 group. With the new trailering arrangements I scratched that plan and just hoped to be on time. We made it by 10:00. Thankfully, Dee is a seasoned traveller and requires no time to settle in, and I'm very quick to get ready.

As soon as I started our warm up I knew it was going to be a challenging day. Dee was full of energy and seemed to have left her brakes at home.

The arena was set with 4 sets of poles. Poles are traditionally very hard for us because rhythm is very hard for us. Dee is convinced that zoom is the only acceptable pace.

Jessica had me focus on maintaining the bend and riding the entire exercise, if I defaulted to letting her figure it out, we would just gain speed. With everyone she focused on the length of the neck. Most everyone had to lengthen the neck to lengthen the stride.

Every time we came to a walk Dee tried to jig or take off so Jessica had me mover her hind legs to the inside and outside to upset her balance and then allow her to stretch her neck. This took some doing but as she started to figure it out, our walk got better and better, with less antics.

I left the day feeling like the remedial student since I was in a Pre-Training group and struggled with simple pole exercises and spent most of the 90 minutes working on walking in a steady rhythm. But I did feel that it was helpful and we managed to find success. The best moment was when after our last set of canter poles Dee came right back to a walk without a fuss.

The day ended with a potluck that featured a seemingly endless array of deliciousness and a slideshow of Jessica and Pavarotti's Pan Am experience. She also brought her Pan Am medals and passed them around, which the barn rats found to be squeal worthy.


  1. Pole exercises are always the hardest for me. I always seem to struggle with the adjustability they require. And I'm right there with you on the struggling to walk...

  2. Poles are way harder than anything else.

  3. Poles are the hardest, I know it's going to be a rough lesson when they're out!

  4. um that pole exercise looks incredibly challenging, esp as my mare would agree completely with Dee about the whole 'zoom' thing....