Monday, June 1, 2015

What. A. Weekend. But Let's Start With the Clinic

Bacon, no sleeping when taking pics with Jan!
So a lot of you cool cats are already friends with me on the ol' facebook and have taken a gander at the zillion photos posted. But that's ok, because I will just share them again! This weekend helped bring my mood back up. I hate being sad and stressed all of the time and I have a hard time getting out of that funk, but I try really hard to leave that out of my riding. And that is easy to do when you ride a Bacon.
Trying to make a left angle.
The first day of the Jan Byyny clinic was stupid hot and muggy. It was show jumping day, and I came out with three other riders in my novice group. I did not know any of them but I like watching new riders and horses work through their own issues. We were quite the group. The other riders were seasoned and had fun horses (a really cool warmblood, a blue roan quarter horse, and a cute Idon'tevenknow). And then there was Bacon and myself. Jan asked all of us how long we have been eventing. I told her that I had been jumping and doing this for a year. I also told her that I have health problems too. She looked really worried. She asked how long I had been riding for and was relieved when I told her most of my life. She was probably thinking what the hell is this girl doing in the novice group? Sorry Jan!
Bacon photo bombing. Not sure why the saturation is so high in this photo.

Our group.
We started off talking about angles on our horses and how to ride at an angle and using your aids to accomplish that. We started off at a walk down the quarter line, and she would call out for a right angle, straight, left angle, straight, etc. We had to keep our inside leg at the girth, outside leg slightly back, with a guiding rein and a support rein. We did this at the walk, trot and canter both directions. It was very difficult for me and I really wished I had spurs on because my mare was taking a nap against my leg. It was also difficult for me to keep all of the pieces correct for each angle and I almost had to think out loud to get it done. I discussed that with Jan, and she encouraged me to try and incorporate that into our regular rides to automatically establish it.
Weeee jump the caveletti!
Next we cantered over a bending line of caveletti. Bacon and I actually did alright with this and Jan liked my ride over them. I told her the biggest thing I wanted to work on was our balance because we tend to get flat before our jumps. So, to help with that, she had me widen my hands, ride the angle, and treat each jump as an entirely new jump and start my ride from scratch. Just ride each jump separately. And it helped! We strung together a couple of courses. She likes to start out with long courses and it was nice to be last in the group so I could watch everyone go around and memorize it and catch my breath. I don't know if it was the heat or what, but after the first flat ride I had full body tremors. And they stayed for the entire ride.
I think this is a snazzy outfit.
Right before the end of our lesson that day, I had to hurry and hop off for my inhaler before bad things happened and Jan ran over to help me. She grabbed my inhaler out of my camera bag for me and told me to just let her know if I needed it or anything else. She is such a sweet lady. We had a great ride though, and I was pretty proud of my horse.
The jump on the mound!
The next day it was supposed to be hotter, so I was really worried about that. Fortunately, it stayed cloudy and cooler for much of the day. Thanks weather! It was xc day and I was a wee bit nervous but knew I was going to have a lot of fun after auditing several other groups before mine. I tacked up the Bacon and did a brief warm up. Jan discussed watching Michael Jung at Rolex this year, and just watching him ride in general. She said for most of us riders, it is more fitting to watch him ride and to try and emulate him because no one is really going to look like WFP with a neck as long as his. We talked about Jung's approaches, and how he would ride for the balance, and use his turns towards his jumps to help balance his horses. We did a warm up on the terrain practicing this and I kind of got the feel for what that should feel like.
We don't care about logs.

Or this dinky rolltop.

Or this ramp.
Next we practiced going over a little vertical on top of a mound and how to ride for that jump. It was actually quite fun and we did pretty well! Again, we quickly strung some courses together incorporating the balancing strategy. The other thing I had to work on was our pace. She told me to pick up the pace, trust my horse because she would get the jump and just let her take me there. Ride the balance, let her loose, ride the balance, etc. We went up banks, down banks, over intro fences and our novice fences. We rode across the fields (where Bacon took a hard look at a barrel jump, and then I did, and then she did even more and jumped the side of it, so I came back around and re-did that mess) and through our waters and ditches. At one point, Bacon must have caught herself quite badly because she came back missing a bell boot. We found it, and the velcro was really good because it stayed put, the the rest of the boot did not. Brand new boot, gone. But that's ok, because that is better than a hefty vet or farrier bill!
I was worried about this jump. I was wrong.

Weeeee down the bank!

Bacon is clearly enjoying herself.

Up the bank!
I was having too much fun. Jan is an incredible talent and could easily see what could be done to help every rider with their horse. Bacon was a kick ride instead of the usual race pony ride that day, so that was different for me. I am just happy that I got to ride with her and would highly recommend anyone else to if they get the chance.
Our favorite part!

We need to bust this trot out in dressage, horse.


  1. Love your photos! Sounds like it was a great clinic :)

  2. Glad you had such a wonderful time - I hope you are feeling okay!

  3. You two look amazing!! What a wonderful pick-me-up :)

  4. Great clinic from the sounds of it!

  5. You guys look so awesome. I love the smile on your face and Bacon's happy expression!

  6. Great riding! You two look awesome.

  7. You're such a BAMF! Soooo proud of you!!! :)

  8. That looks like so much fun Alyssa! So glad you were able to participate

  9. you both look great! and I LOVE her bridle!

  10. Absolutely love your smile in all of these!


    :-) You guys were so fun to watch this weekend. So glad you got to do it.

  12. What a fun and awesome clinic! You got so much info and good experience, it sounds like! Yaaaay!

  13. You guys look amazing!!!

  14. Sounds like you had a blast. Jan used to come to a barn I boarded at a couple years ago like 3 times a year depending on the demand. I loved watching her. I never ended up riding with her due to one thing or another but she always looked positive and encouraging.

  15. I have asthma too. I take 2 puffs of my rescue inhaler, before I ride. Every time I get on my horse. It has been a life saver.
    Of course the following disclaimer applies, please consult your doctor before taking medical advice from anyone.
    Best wishes, Carol

    1. Thanks for the input Carol! I always use my inhaler before every ride as well. At one show, I used it a little too much and had a sore throat for 3 weeks afterwards. Sometimes I just need an extra hit on especially long and tiring rides. Dang asthma, ruining everything.

  16. what an awesome clinic - you two look phenomenal!

  17. Sounds superb!! You look great!!

  18. Look at you guys! Lookin' pretty bad a$$!