Filipa Clinic at Weston - June 2010

It was great to have Filipa here so soon after our trip to Portugal. I rode Crisp, Icaro and Cantinero and Pat rode a much improved AJ. We were joined by Joy Morris, Gill and Andrew Ward, Sarah Tyndale and Gill Ratcliffe and all our newly completed accommodation was much appreciated as was the spa. They discovered that while you can fit more than 4 people in the Jacuzzi, when 5 jump in, the water tends to "jump out"!

Filipa did a fantastic job encouraging, praising and only occasionally screaming! It was good to see more expert work in hand and start to notice some of the subtle differences in getting it right and getting it wrong. For example, always forward into the contact. The horse must first "reach" into the contact. More contact doesn't mean take a firmer grip on the rein, it means ask the horse to reach more into the rein. Flexion without reaching results in head tipping and or curling up or shortening the neck.

We all talk about the horse must be "forward" (the cardinal rules of riding: calm, forward, straight) but what does it mean? How do we keep the horse's energy "in front" and yet "under the seat". This is difficult to explain but when things went wrong with one of us and Filipa took over, she immediately changed the dynamics so that the horse had more energy which she then directed in a way that kept the horse forward into the contact so that it really "stepped" rather than just moved sideways. This was also demonstrated superbly by Filipa's husband, Frederico, who joined her on a subsequent clinic in Oxfordshire. When he rode the horses he enabled them to step, mainly in walk with lots of lateral work, so that by the time they were trotting, they were already engaged, forward and carrying.

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