Everyone warmed up together, moving the hind end and the front end after circling. I had some difficulty moving the haunches at first, but once I relaxed I was able to do it. We next worked on circles, a very important aspect of riding because every pattern in riding consists of either straight lines or circles. The goal was for the mule or horse to have a nice bend and to be in the proper western frame, where the equine's head is low. She also wanted each rider to be looking two cones ahead(there were four evenly spaced cones on the circle). When it was my turn, I made sure to use enough inside leg to keep Anna bent on the circle. Connie thought I did a good job and commented that I made her mule look nice. Because I had done so well, she had me break the circle down into very small circles at each of the four points. I had no problem doing this either and made the circles.
|Spiraling it in. Each layer of cones represents a circle. This is before the circle was made into the smaller version.|
Next, we worked on adjusting our mounts by spiraling circles in. There was a large circle marked by cones, with several smaller ones inside, the smallest being only several meters in length. I spiraled in and out of this, making a fill circle at each layer. Then Connie made the circles even smaller, with the innermost circle being just large enough to put a barrel standing up in the center. I didn't have much trouble with this either.
|Heading around the box|
|Before the box was made smaller|
In yet another exercise, we had to enter a box made of four poles, circle a cone within it, then exit the box. I did it well the first time. Connie made the box even smaller, and I tried again. It was a tight squeeze, but I made the circle. However, I rushed getting of of the box, going out at a steep angle and heading over the pole rather than going in between the corners. The next time around, I focused more, making the turn and heading out nicely.
|The cone exercise in which I circle around several cones. I go to the middle cone on the right after this and circle twice to the left.|
|Going between the tall poles|
|Moving sideways from the poles to between the cones|
|The figure-eight after the poles.|
It's amazing how much better my riding was by the end of the day. I was better and more refined at turning without relying completely on my hands. Laura thought I did a great job holding my own against adult riders who had been riding for much longer than I have. Stay tuned for part II, where I try reining. Also, another highlight of the clinic was meeting Olivia from DIY Horse Ownership. It's always fun to meet a fellow blogger!