Sunday, August 12, 2012

Niall Quirke clinic

Niall Quirke, a trainer for the Equestrian Federation of Ireland, comes to my barn to teach 2-3 times a year. Up until today, I've told myself that I really will be fine without a lesson from him, but my barn owner persuaded me to take the plunge and sign up for a lesson. Boy am I glad I did!

a tired and happy Lu

Lucy started out nice and floaty, then got very tense for about 15 minutes. The trails at my barn start off the back of the outdoor, and horses going to/coming from the trails have been notoriously scary for Lucy -- something about creatures coming out of the woods just doesn't sit right with her (is anyone shocked?). Today, a lady riding a horse from my barn came back from a trail ride during the first few minutes of the lesson. She called out to let us know she was coming, so I stopped Lucy and let her watch the horse come out of the woods. She stood while the horse walked up past the outdoor, but as the horse approached the point where we were standing alongside the rail, she coiled up and leaped up into the air and threw an absolute tantrum, for NO reason. The horse coming out of the woods was interesting but not worthy of any nonsense, but the horse walking past us was cause for a huge riot. After that, she was insane for another ten minutes or so. We could only handle walking up to a line of trot poles and trotting at the base of the first pole, NOT just trotting in like a normal horse/rider. Canter work produced tantrums and while I rode her through them, I was thoroughly unimpressed. Didn't she get my message from the communicator last night when I said I loved her but I really needed her to behave today?! COME ON! ;)

We moved onto some gymnastic exercises, gradually increasing difficulty and height. I had a few moments of "holy crap, I can't believe I have to jump that jump" but at that point, I was already at the base of the jump and the only logical choice was to just jump it! :) It was a great confidence-boosting lesson for both Lucy and I. The hardest jump we did was a 3'-ish vertical with a blanket draped over it for shock value, since both Lucy and the other horse in my lesson were blowing through the line at mach 5 speed and not using themselves as well over the jumps.

The blanket over the pole spooked Lucy, but we worked through it and got over the jump :) Here's a video:

this was during our "nice" warmup phase

mini tantrum

doing her best Arabian tail impression

how's that for knee action?

in mid-air!

she was jumping so well to start

the first time we jumped all three jumps, she wanted so badly to duck out
at the third jump, but didn't, so in this photo I am saying, GOOD GIRL!

evidently feeling quite confident

not sure what's going on with my release here, but I'm not catching her in
the mouth (weird)

"good girl"

This was by far the most amazing moment of the lesson. This was the other
horse in my lesson and he was VERY impressed by the third jump! Talk
about scope -- this little guy is petite but he is quite a rocket.


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE The knee action photo!

  2. Wow, that's quite the scope on that little guy! Lucy popped through that line like it was nothing once she worked through. Looks great!

  3. looks like an awesome lessong :)

  4. SO cool to watch you guys work through it in the video. Very nice riding. It's nice to see you being so calm and encouraging when she gets fearful. The advice you were given was AWESOME and you did a great job following through. The results speak for themselves. I cheered when you guys got it :)

    1. my problem was that I was being TOO calm. she needed me to say, GO DO IT! but I was riding way too passively. I learned that occasionally though she acts all tough and mighty, she really does need "Forward" encouragement. great lesson :D

  5. She looks look a Morgan when she is going over the poles.

  6. You always have the cutest, most coordinated riding outfits. Glad the clinic was valuable!

    1. hehe thanks L :D Anything machine washable is barn-worthy!

  7. Great pics and I swear, I do NOT know how you stay on her so well! Kudos. I would have chipped my teeth on that pole with that stop/side maneuver. Looks like it was a great clinic! That last little jumper; wow, and way to go rider for riding that as horse intended, which who would guess he'd leap that high?!

    1. it was really so funny! everyone watching had their jaws on the ground!

  8. Hats off to you, Kate. You stay so calm and focused, and you stay soft through it all. I can't imagine what Lucy would be like with a less confident, less skilled rider. You rock!


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