Friday, April 25, 2014

Buck Brannaman clinic - Red Bluff - Day 1

Boy howdy am I tired! Being in the last class of the day is hard because afterward I'm so amped up that I'm not quite ready for bed, yet I need to get some shuteye, especially since I didn't sleep well last night away from my darling husband.

Let's see . . . there is so much I could write, but I will focus on just my class. First off, I got a paddock for Mac this morning, so he can be turned out during the day.

I woke up at 5-something this morning and by 5:45 decided I might as well get my butt out of bed and get cleaned up and eat breakfast. I turned on the TV to see the weather and it looked bad. Checked and it still looked bad - rain was predicted for the whole day. Could you believe it didn't rain? It was pretty chilly and somewhat overcast, but as long as there was no rain I was happy!

The first class was Foundation Horsemanship, which was the class I did last year. This year's group was farther along than my group was last year and they got to certain exercises more quickly than we did. I think one reason was that there were fewer horses who needed a lot of attention (although there was one who needed a good lesson on basic leading and not walking over her handler and Buck gave us a good demonstration), and the other reason is that there weren't kids in the class like last year.

The second class was Horsemanship 1 and it was fun to watch the progress of people as there were some in that class who were in my FH class last year and they have come really far with persistent effort and continuing with quality instruction. I really admire people who stick with it and don't quit their horses and make the changes *they* need to make in order to improve the situation. One pair in particular had a really amazing transformation! (if you're reading this, you know who you are!)

Oh, btw, here's the arena.

A couple times throughout the day I got Mac out for some groundwork in the arena so he'd feel comfortable when our class came around. And it was a good plan because when it came time for our ride, he was ready and keen but not spooky or crazy or anything. During Q&A time at the beginning, I asked Buck what I should do about Mac's mean faces toward other horses. Buck said that in addition to keeping him in the box, which is what I control, not what Mac controls, that I should take him someplace else. I should always be riding and be aware of what is going on (which I am - probably sometimes too much because I get worried about what other people are doing) and have a couple different plans of action if A, B, or C happens. He suggested finding an open spot (he said that there's always an open area) and ride to it and continue with my work. He said that I need to always take Mac to a good place and that he'll trust me to look out for him. Horses are snarky either because they are insecure or dominant, but either way it isn't good to let them act out on their nasty faces.

There were a couple horses who were herdbound so Buck put two of his guys on them and they separated them and did ground work and then rode. By the end they had settled down and there was much less whinnying than at the start.

The exercises we did today were shallow serpentines, steering with the legs (scissoring - outside leg forward, inside leg back, switch when you change direction); the 180/180 exercise; getting a soft feel; stopping and backing and then going forward and back with the goal of not having any brace; turns to the inside lifting and placing the inside front leg. Mac did so well! I took Buck's advice and rode him to an open spot whenever I found one and soon enough it seemed like I had a whole little section to myself!

I think all the groups this time are well along in their training and it is a good group of people. Buck seemed to be in good spirits (not that I'd expect him not to be, but I can only imagine how exhausting it is to travel the world doing clinics all the time) and was giving more individual attention than I noticed last time.

I didn't get back to the hotel until 8:30 or so after tucking in Mac and just had some oatmeal for dinner. That's all I can muster the energy for.

I'm sad to report that there were no chinks for sale so I'm going to have to order some when I get home!

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