Western Dressage Clinic with Jack Lieser

Kiko and I at the WD clinic April 2013

Kiko and I at the WD clinic April 2013

This past weekend was the Western Dressage clinic in Hugo, MN the first in a series of four taught by Jack Lieser.

Because of the snowstorm, the first day Friday, I didn’t have my horse, I borrowed my trainers horse instead. He’s a nice boy so we had fun…after the clinic though the roads had cleared up enough to fly down to Prior Lake and get my horse Kiko and bring him to the Hugo farm for the next day.

I learned so very much at this clinic, amazing little details that make a world of difference. There were so many Ah hah! moments I couldn’t believe it. Even though Kiko wasn’t with me the first day he’s such a fast learner that we were able to get everything down in the morning review.

I’ve known for quite sometime now that we haven’t been using our bodies right when we ride together. He tends to hold his ribs out to the right and you can hear one of his back feet kind of clops down a little harder than the other three, he’s usually not rounded up in his back and we were forehand heavy.

I was really looking forward to fixing these things and we really did, it wasn’t even something we had to focus on, Jack showed us very specific things we could do to get everything in line with simple patterns and exercises. He makes understanding what you are doing really easy too. He also really seems to get that people learn differently and if you don’t understand, you feel like the atmosphere is open enough to say so and he explains it in a different way. It’s so open and honest and every single one of his clinics regardless if we are working with our horses or training colts, Jack’s just got a way to make you feel comfortable with being honest with yourself and him about what you are doing. He’s never inpatient or judgmental and he’s always so present. It makes it a true pleasure and honor to be able to learn from him.

Kiko did so well in the clinic too, being able to bring our body parts into coordination was really nice, It was like I just felt it click and thought “Yes! yes, yes yes, this is what I was waiting for!” Getting him to power off his back feet instead of his front and just being able to lift him up into a walk, trot or canter with energy instead of my crazy ques I had rutted myself into was such a relief. I feel like my horsemanship has taken a turn and I can’t ever go back to the way I was riding.

My biggest highlight of the day was cantering around the arena like crazy, cowboying it up attempting to get a flying lead change. That was a lot of fun, I left with a huge smile on my face…and I could have sworn I saw one on Kiko too.

 

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