Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thomas Fuchs clinic

I had put my hand up to be part of a clinic with Thomas Fuchs who was brought over from Switzerland. To be honest I didn't think I would get in because it was very expensive and ended up being very elite. I was very much the least experienced in my group which meant I had to work very hard. It was an 8 hour drive up to the clinic which was hard on my poor old back. Then when we stopped for groceries Truckie who must have been exhausted refused to start. I tried all my techniques of kicking things and hoping hard but I couldn't fix it and we had to wait for a mechanic. Then I lost my side and rear lights so I got pulled over by TWO policemen but they let me carry on because the road only had light traffic on it. It was such a relief to pull up at Penny Stevenson Sport Horses and be able to unload, feed and go to bed.

The next day I was watching lessons all day and was pretty much freaking out watching the caliber of riders struggle with the exercises and he was very yelly. Not that it isn't a little nice to see a top GP rider a) get told off and b) struggle with small exercises. I think one of things I really picked up from this is that we don't push ourselves enough in exercises at home. This stuff shouldn't be hard- dog legs, angle4 fences, narrows and turning up tightly to the fences but you don't really practice it at home you know. Realistically I can only build like four jumps so that makes it hard as well.

My group was stronger than expected and Connies flatwork was only really average in the group and I run into trouble when it came to collecting. She just can't collect well. I have spent so long going forward I have only just started the collection training and I haven't been asking for anywhere enough. She just kept breaking. This also meant I couldn't get the right number of strides in the pole exercises and he basically gave up on me and let me canter down doing the wrong strides. Which is good really because it saved Connie and I getting frazzled trying to do exercises we weren't capable of.

Luckily I have done a lot of training with Grant Cashmore which meant I have a good regular canter and practice at jumping at an angle from nearly stand to stand. And the jumping actually wasn't very bad. I made my distances ok and the little horse jumped quite well.

The second day her flatwork was a lot better and still the polework was a right off but she jumped so well. She was the only horse in my group to not take a rail and to not need to repeat an exercise. The final course started with a double one stride of narrow fences about 1m- four strides down to a 1.20m triple bar. Right around the arena and then rollback off of the fence- two strides to an oxer about 1.05m then a bending 6 stride line to a double of planks and liverpools set about 1.15m. Then a right hand turn onto a 1.1m upright and four shorter strides to a 1.20m double. So yea tough enough course eh but Connie was well on form and my eye was on and so it was pretty easy and I got some very nice comments from the other riders. Thomas said "Very good Rebecca, good jumping, poles not so good. Do them at home. Many many times" So while it was made abundantly clear I have a lot of schooling work to do, it was nice to know my jumping is in the right place for the level I am competing at.

One thing that was quite funny is that he made us count our strides everywhere and so many people struggled with it. He asked me what my problem with 4 and 5 was, because I tend to count in my head to 1 2 3 and then 1 2 3 again in a 6 stride line, and 1 2 3 1 2 in a 5 stride, and when I was focusing on my canter and distance my voice just followed my head. Haha!

I tried to get pictures of the horse I am borrowing but my camera spat the dummy. Anyway, he is an 8yo 16.2hh called Ginga, half stationbred and half Dutch by VDL Emillion. He is a simple soul and needs to get going forward more and trust the hand and not react so strongly to the contact. He also needs lots of hill work for strength so thats why he is here, that and my friend is very kind.


  1. Wow they are some wonderfully big sized fences you have been jumping. Sounds scary!!Well done ....hope the truck got you home ok

  2. Great equestrian blog! Why not come over to and post your blog here too for more to follow at this Equine Social Blogging Network!

  3. Sounds like a great clinic! That is the way I like to leave a clinic, feeling good about ourselves yet have plenty to go home and work on.