Praised Be!

After 35 years of striving for fair and balanced in what I write, I’m not one who drinks the Kool-Aid. In a way, I’ve envied those who could, because religion of any kind offers comfort, a balm in times of hurt, and most important, a clear path. 

But I have been saved! Hallelujah and praised be! I am drinking the Kool-Aid of Olympic rider and trainer Greg Best because his teaching has provided me the comfort of knowing I can fix my horse’s problems without relying on a trainer and his path is crystalline clear.

I will scour my notes today and present an organized accounting of the 3 day clinic, not just to gloat that I got to ride with Greg, but to share with anyone interested  the wisdom he has to offer. And believe me, brothers and sisters, it is fountain of horsey knowledge.

Until then, a few tidbits of what I remember most:

Ride the horse, not the distance.

Look at your horse’s outside ear to stay straight.

A turn has three parts: 1. collect into it. 2.Enjoy the ride. 3. Lengthen going out.

Follow the script: Six strides before the fence, lengthen 3 inches a stride till you get to a 12 foot stride.

If your horse jumps with a left drift, approach the fence to the left, then correct him to the right at take off.

………and don’t let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of good. For me that meant letting go of finding the perfect spot and focusing only on the canter. That eliminated the pick, pick, pick ride to the fence and guess what? More often than not, we nailed the distances. Amen.

 

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Greg Best Lives Up To His Name

I’ve been attempting to manage my anticipation for three weeks now, talking myself off the ledge of unrealistic expectations every time I thought of riding in the upcoming Greg Best clinic. Once you aggrandize an upcoming event, be it a movie, a date or a riding clinic, it can never live up to expectations.

So to the world I was cool and collected about riding with the guy who won two silver Olympic medals atop a horse so magnificent they cloned him. I even fooled my husband. Ha! Inside I was as jittery as as an 8th grader anticipating the school dance. The school dances were always a let down.

But….. I am very happy to report that for once, the reality is living up to the expectation.

Simply put, Greg Best is the best clinician I have every ridden with. And I’m so excited I’m ending the previous sentence with a with!

He is thoughtful, articulate, kind, honest and knows just as much about teaching as he does riding. These are qualities that are not usually listed in the same sentence. For starters, he limits each session to three riders. The last BNT clinic (a Buck Brananman type) I attended had 20 riders in a small indoor and it was mayhem. He opened his clinic with two words — “Any questions?” — and that was the end of any structure.

Greg starts by asking each rider about her (all female attendees) horse, then watches us trot and canter. Then he offers his assessment of us.

Day One started with Greg telling my my horse was a brat and I was riding all backwards, which probably makes you wonder why I put kind in that list of qualities. Notice it’s right next to honest.

We spent the next two hours addressing those observations and by the end, she was neither bratty and I was riding frontwards.

It was exhilirating and empowering. The hows will be revealed in the next post.

Happy trails

Jody

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Big Girl Panties

Big Girl Panties

I hope these fit under my breeches for the Greg Best clinic

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Greg Best!

Here I go again, clinic-ing with an equestrian superstar. Greg Best!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Best. Two silver medals and he got to ride the magnificent Gem Twist.

My husband, the ever-patient John Muncie, doesn’t get why we amateur riders keep taking lessons. “You’ve been riding for 40 years,” he keeps saying. “Shouldn’t you be teaching by now?”

Then I say something like, “Did you see what I did at the last show?” (trotted to the first fence in the most most forward line in my first hunter derby — and it wasn’t the trot fence). That usually quiets him and he’s far too polite to tell me to take up bowling.

Stay tuned. If I’m not wiped out, I will blog about the clinic, then if all goes according to plan, write about it for a column in the Chronicle of the Horse. My next column is about the glories of adult riding camp. Until then, here is a link to the last one, about overthinking riding or trying to tame the bully brain.

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/avoiding-overthink

Happy trails

JJ

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Clinic today with Jan Simpson

I’d like to thank the weather gods for turning down the heat. For the last few weeks it’s been too hot to ride after 9 am with heat indexes of 110. I guess Mother Nature got tired of screaming, Don’t make me come down there.

Politics aside, today it’s only getting to the upper 80s, which from my new brain fried perspective seems cools. I ride at 10 am with Jam Simpson, a trainer from Richmond. A riding buddy of mine says Jan is terrific and that she would train with her if she lived there.

So I’ll let you know how it goes with tonight’s post.

Happy Trails

Jody

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Line Between Challenge and Over Face

If you have a moment, check out my new column that was inspired by an interview with Gold Medal Olympian Melanie Smith Taylor. She talked about the difference between challenge and over face.

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/finding-line-between-challenge-and-overface

Something we didn’t discuss was coddling. There’s no coddling in a Melanie Smith Taylor Clinic, from which I just returned. And it turns out that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. That’s the next column….

Check out a few of my Chronicle columns here:

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/horses-help-us-through-roughest-times

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/road-recovery

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/facing-down-fear

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/three-step-process-beginning-brain-injury-rehabilitation

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/passion-horses-supersedes-sanity

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