Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ED-ucation-The End Of Day One

While Moon was resting, I went down and watched other people work their horses. More than once, Ed would point at me and tell me to get my butt over to wherever he was, while he was working with someone else. I don't have a 'rare' problem...the whole not moving my hand and arm thing...there were several others with the same problem. But Ed seemed to take a special interest in making sure I was realizing and recognizing a few other little things that were going on...

One of them being the fact that when I fail to move my hand and arm in rhythm with Moon throughout the turn...it also causes me to miss getting any snap at the action point of the turn.

Now...One thing I have to tell you...on Day 1...Ed was in a good mood. He was joking, laughing and working with everyone. Ed is pretty notorious for being moody, so I was taking full advantage of working with 'nice' Ed.

As it started to cool down, I asked him if it would be okay to bring Moon back and keep working. He said if I thought Moon was up to it, but we weren't going to be doing any fast work because we had already worked him on quite a bit of fast stuff in the a.m. and then I had put a run on him. So it was strictly slow work. I was to find out that Ed and I's definition of slow work was a bit different. MY definition of slow work is walking and trotting and a bit of loping. Ed's definition of slow work is working at about 1/2 speed, with a little bit of 3/4 speed. I was in no way concerned about Moon...he was holding up fine and getting steadier at we worked...

What it did teach me is that I am practicing at home at wayyyyy too slow of speeds. There is no way I am effectively learning how to feel and get in time with Moon at the super slow speeds that I work on at home...or even when I go to another arena to practice.

Yes! A person does need to practice at a walk and a trot...but Ed's idea is not to simply walk or trot the entire pattern....he alternates speeds a lot. Walk 5 steps, trot 5 steps, walk 5 steps, lope 5 steps. The hotter the horse, the more walking steps he may have to have it take, the lazier the horse, the less walking steps he may have to take, but just plopping along without transitions doesn't do much to really teach the horse or rider anything.

When we went back to the pattern, Ed got a lot tougher on me. The one thing you had better be prepared for if you ever do an EW clinic is hearing him holler at you to 'get your hand up!'. Sometimes it's really difficult to find exactly what he is screaming at you about in that regard...Even when it felt like I HAD my hand up, he would still be hollering at me. So I would start moving it around...up, forward, up more, forward more. A few times I had to stop and confront Ed...'What e.x.a.c.t.l.y. do you want me to do?' We would argue a little bit and then proceed on.

On one practice run, I had that 'getting slung over Moon's shoulder' thing happen at both 2nd and 3rd barrels. Of course my hand came down...way down...and Ed went berserk on me. But...we DID figure out what was causing that problem...

Once again, it was because my arm and hand were not moving in rhythm with Moon. Instead of moving my arm and hand forward...I was pushing my body forward...too much...the second Moon set to turn, my feet were popping out behind me and I was basically falling onto his neck.


Okay...so Ed slowed me down...made me get my feet under me, made me drop my heels and told me to open my shoulders and push forward with my chest.

It totally solved the problem.

The next problem to present itself was a particular 'broken in the middle' feeling Moon can get in his turns. To ME...it feels like Moon's back hollows out and his hind-end is strung out behind. As I was loping around the barrel, Ed starts yelling at me to stop kicking, so I explained to him about the broken feeling and that I was kicking to try to get Moon to get his hind-end energized again...boy...was I way off base on what was happening with that...

Ed said Moon was NOT strung out behind...he was way deep under himself while loping around the barrel...What was actually happening is that I was not giving him 'energy' through my legs and Moon's ribcage is what has lost energy and his feet were really slowing down.


So we had to talk about that a little bit. Ed explained to me that while rolling my hips down was a proper maneuver to get a reining horse to get up underneath himself and prepare for a slide...it was totally inappropriate for a barrel horse...I needed to keep my hip bones rolled forward and create 'energy' through my thighs...doing so would actually liven up Moon's ribcage and energize his feet so he would be quicker through the turns.

I, like a lot of people have the tendency to think that if a horse gets a bit bound up through the turn and loses their 'snap' that the way to fix it is to 'open up the pocket' a little bit. Ed says all that does is put your horse out in no-man's land. The correct way to speed up the turn is to create energy and speed up the feet.

It was pretty amazing the different just that miniscule little move made. Moon suddenly felt free and man...can he get in and out of a barrel when he is freed up and allowed to quicken his feet up. It felt awesome!!

That was the end of day 1. Man, I was exhausted...but in a good way. I took care of horses and a bunch of us loaded up and headed into town for some supper. Before he left for the evening, Ed made sure to tell me to inbibe freely at the bar, maybe that would help free me up for the next day. He remembered well, the fact that after the first day of his clinic in New Mexico...that I had hit the bar. I told him that I sure wasn't as big a mess mentally as I had been the first time he met me, but I dang sure needed a couple of drinks to help absorb all of the info he had imparted on this day.


cdncowgirl said...

I had so much going through my head I had to open the comment box so I could read along and not forget what I wanted to say lol

That is one thing I LOVE about Ed's clinics... that while you work 1 on 1 with him you can get involved by asking questions and tagging along while other people work.
Ed probably took "special interest" in you because a) you're a keener and b) he respects the knowledge and abilities you have.

You know, I've never really experienced "moody" Ed. I've seen him get upset and in a bit of a bad mood but those times were quite obviously due to what was going on with the rider he was working with (note, "the rider", Ed doesn't tend to blame the horse)

I'm glad you mentioned his transitions. As for "slow work" I guess that depends on where the horse & rider are, there are some people I've seen him work with where he's done a LOT of walking/trotting. Lefta got a lot of trot work because she was so green (at least I *think* that's why) He does love those transitions though doesn't he, and he calls them out sooo darn fast lol

Well we have that in common, I've had to stop and go "WHAT did you want?!" a few times.

And did he not show y'all those pics of the working cowhorse guys? I'm surprised you weren't keeping your feet under you in Ed's "balanced position"

I can't wait to hear about day 2! And to hear how your runs go after this clinic :)

Sherry Sikstrom said...

wow a lot of info to absorb!

Laura said...

Sounds like you got a ton of great info on day 1! Hopefully day 2 was just as productive... I'm very curious to hear how your next competitive runs go after all this work!

Shirley said...

What an interesting clinic; even though I don't barrel race I sure respect Ed's horsemanship and the way he can analyse what's going on with a horse- and a rider- at speed, to most of us it's just a blur unless we can see photos or video. Girl, once you get this stuff to be second nature to you you are going to be unbeatable!

kestrel said...

Wow, you're getting the graduate school program down pat! Awesome to have a great instructor, and I'm sure Ed enjoys having such a talented and bright student.

Crystal said...

Wow so nice to have someone who can pick up exactly on what is going on! I love it when they can see what you are doing when you dont even realize it! He sounds really cool! But a lot of work for sure.

Paint Girl said...

I'm with Laura, I can't wait to see how your next barrel races go after the clinic!! And of course how day 2 goes! Even though I haven't barrel raced for years (just fun family barrel races) I am really taking in everything he is telling you. Good stuff!