Claire McCormick Boot-Camp @ CMC Equines – Day 1

The first of our three day ‘boot-camp’ with Claire to get ourselves prepared for Trailbalzers next week. Having had six weeks or so off I feel somewhat behind with our training.

Finn was in tha same stable as last time, she was happy to be back I think.

First off Finn was reshod by Anthony Charley – Claire’s remedial farrier.  When Finn was in for swimming two weeks ago, she lost a shoe (strangely in her stable) and Anthony put a new shoe back on.  He said that she was completely out of balance behind and that he would be surprised if she stayed sound!!  I had been unhappy with the way that she had been shod the last couple of times and I had even phoned the farrier after shoeing to ask him some questions and asked if he had seen her trotted up – he hadn’t.  She looked rather pigeon toed.  Anyway, Anthony re-shod her, he had to give her plenty of heel support, so recommended I turned her out and rode her in over reach boots.  He showed me how unbalanced the hind foot was by laying his rasp across her heels – the inside was about an inch higher! He had to take a lot off the toe and rebalance her.  Happy that she’s now properly shod and in balance – however, it will be difficult to manage as Claire is an hour away – will need to plan this very well……

I watched Claire teach two lessons while Finn was being shod, the first was her nephew Finn riding Mr C (very strange as I’m Mrs C riding Finn)!! and then Grace riding Nooks.  It was really interesting seeing what she sees.

I started working in whilst Alex was working one of Fuego’s sons (he’s still entire and likes coloured mares), so that was interesting!  Finn was trying to evade the work today by setting herself against me and spooking at everything as an excuse (showing off for the stallion maybe)? She did settle and produced some really nice work.  I must make sure that I really commit to making sure that “the bit and jaw is mine”,  asking her to submit and being sure to give when I feel she is relaxing; also making sure that she is ‘hot behind’.  We worked on leg yield, 10m loops and changes.  Today she was lazy with her left hind leg (it’s usually the right hind).

It was encouraging that Claire commented that she looked very sound – I thought she felt good, but positive confirmation is always great.

There were lots of distractions today, the stallion; another horse ridden by Mitch; horses swimming next door etc. this was great as I had to get her settled and accepting with everything else going on, just like in a competition environment.  I took on board what I had learnt with my session with the coach (Danni – From the Neck Up) and just minded my own business and rode.  It worked!

Claire rode me thorugh all three Championship tests: 4, 12 and 13 – all very good, of course, some bits to work on but ‘very do-able’.  I must set up for the corners and maintain contact throughout the transitions, riding positively.  I do allow her to drop behind the contact in the meduim walk, so need to work on keeping her with me in the medium walk, but the free walk was better so that’s excellent.

Both Finn and I were pretty hot after the lesson.  Finn went straight into the swimming pool for 4 lengths; I didn’t fancy it… so stayed hot and sweaty for the drive home!

A good day – looking forward to tomorrow……….