Nona Clinic, 2Pointober, and I Do Something Slightly Crazy
|Nona being awesome.|
First things first... I took my 2pointober baseline on Friday, and I'm starting this year off at 10 minutes. Not too shabby! No cool timer screenshot because I was using my watch. Next time I'll take a picture.
Secondly... Congrats to L. Williams over at Viva Carlos on her 1,000th post! She's hosting a sweet SmartPak giftcard giveaway to celebrate!
Thirdly... on Sunday this weekend I headed over to Great Scott Farm to audit a clinic being taught by Nona Garson - Olympic show jumping veteran, hunter rider, and all-around awesome person. Originally I planned on making the trek with a few friends, but everyone was injuring themselves and getting sick and having to take their kids places, so I went on my own. No matter, because I know a bunch of people at that barn, plus, Nona!
I watched the 2'6 and 3'6 sections of the clinic - there were pony kids slated to ride after lunch, but I had to get home to my hubby and my dog at that point, so I missed the little ones. In both sections, Nona had all riders do a thorough flat warm-up before jumping, and progressively moved everyone from simple exercises to more complex courses. The warm-up portion consisted of moving the horses through all of their paces, practicing transitions between and within the gaits, and doing some leg yields from the quarter line to the wall to make sure the 'sideways' button was installed.
Jumping began with a simple 3-fence grid, with all jumps one stride apart. Nona had all of the riders go through the grid until the horses had figured out how to compress themselves and jump from the base of the fence, and ended with a pretty sizable oxer at the end of the grid. She then slowly built up a course from that point, beginning with the grid and adding in a single fence, a 3-stride line, a 4-stride line, and the dreaded diagonal oxer on a long approach.
One thing I really appreciated about Nona's lessons was the fact that she didn't push all of the horses to get the numbers if it wasn't right for them. Especially in the first group, where there was a small quarter horse and large pony, Nona stressed that if adding a step would make the jumps themselves prettier, then those riders should do the add. I see a lot of hunter trainers obsessing over their riders getting the numbers above all else, so it was nice to see Nona stressing the quality of the jump over the number of strides in a line. She also really focused on obtaining the RIGHT canter for each individual pair - having riders adjust their pace and length of stride coming out of the corners so they could meet each fence at the perfect distance: a product of the perfect canter.
The clinic was, essentially, all about good basics. A good canter, a straight horse, and knowing the right pace for your individual mount. Thanks to Great Scott for hosting such an affordable-to-audit clinic!
And lastly, as you all know I've been dreaming about getting a new saddle, trolling around the internet to see what's out there and how much money I need to save. English Tack Trader has been a frequent haunt. I sat in a Prestige Roma Jump at my local tack shop and really liked it - it's a step up quality-wise from my Pessoa, but not with the frightening French saddle price tag. Plus the trees of Prestige saddles can be adjusted up to 2cm in either direction, which is an attractive feature. Aaaaaaand then during one of my online lurking sessions, I stumbled upon a Prestige Passion saddle for sale. The right seat size, the right tree size, ridden in only a handful of times, and the starting bid on eBay was nearly half the price that the saddle costs brand new. The saddle is absolutely gorgeous, and has the short, more forward flap I've been looking for with blocks that are just the right size.
So I showed Michael, and we talked about it, and agreed that if we could get it for such a low price, it was a risk worth taking. We decided on the top price we'd be willing to pay, and will be bidding when the auction ends later today. With a commission check coming in soon and any proceeds I'm able to get from selling my Pessoa, we might just end up breaking even on the Prestige. Eep! I hope we get it, and I hope it fits!!