I had the amazing opportunity, yet again, to be a demo rider in the USEA ICP Symposium. The focus this year was teaching how to teach riders and young event horses. I rode with Leslie Law in the symposium today, riding alongside Maya Black, Caroline Martin, and Amy Moreshead. It is one of the best experiences and I would highly recommend it.
Bruce was the youngest and greenest horse in the group I was riding in but that didn't stop us from learning a ton. We started over a small course, because Leslie wanted all the horses minds thinking forward. He said "One of the worst things about cross country schooling in groups is it is just stand still and then go and stand still then go." So he fixed that issue. I had a little problem with getting Bruce, whom is notoriously lazy, in front of my leg which resulted in a stop. So we really worked on getting him to gallop and move forward. We moved onto jumping a roll top, looping back around and jumping a narrow wedge fence. The wedge had rails on it to help guide young horses in. Bruce didn't completely understand it so it took him a few tries to figure it out. Something to definitely work on at home. One of my biggest faults there was that I would collapse my defensive position in anticipation of the jump, instead of waiting for him to come to me.
Next we switched to the down banks, where we had to collect, but then push forward again. We started small, made the bank bigger, and then incorporated a jump before the bank, but slowly built up, and didn't immediately send the horse at a jump to a bank. My biggest problem was landing and staying straight, so Leslie had me do it again, aiming straight at him over the fence and down the bank. That helped a lot, but I know what needs to be done there as well. I have a bad habit of not having an independent upper body and lower leg, separated from each other, so that is another key thing for me to work on to help Bruce be the best he can be. We switched to a ditch, which Bruce skipped right over and Leslie had us gallop away from the ditch so that even though we collected before he was moving forward and not falling behind my leg.
The final exercise we did was dropping into water. First we trotted up a small bank out of the water, after we introduced the horses to the water. We trotted up and then turned around and cantered down the same bank. We then made a bending line over a small roll top out of the water. Bruce fell behind my leg so got a little sticky the first time to the bank and we used an opening between two small logs to encourage him down it. The second time, he jumped over the log into the water, which I ended up falling forward again so we will definitely be working on upper body control!
A great experience for Bruce today and tomorrow Leslie will ride him the YEH Demo so I am super excited for that. Then onto Three Lakes HT this weekend.