Boyd Martin Clinic: Day 1 Recap

If you want to burn off Thanksgiving dinner in a hurry- don’t do what I did (which is A) drink too much wine and B) do a clinic two days later). Do something… more relaxing.

I don’t know what’s going on here but it looks easier.

Boyd started out by discussing the various lengths of stirrup, and so we lengthened our stirrup to a flatwork length and warmed up with an emphasis on dressage- compressing and lengthening, getting the horse soft through the neck, etc. Jack started out fairly tight because of the number of horses and spectators, but finally settled once he understood the job.

We then moved on to building through a gymnastic line. We trotted a circle to get the horse round and soft (something Jack struggled with after standing) and then approaching the line- 1 stride to a 2 stride to a 2 stride. Jack’s stride is really big, and he definitely had a hard time compressing to meet the first two stride question. Each time the emphasis was on keeping the horse straight and landing and cantering in the opposite direction of our approach. We haven’t done so many combinations yet, and at one point in time Jack spooked coming into the sea of rails. But overall he jumped well and Boyd was very complimentary of his abilities.

We next went to doing a figure 8 over the crossed gates you can see in the background of the above video. Boyd cautioned us not to use our torso to get the horse to land on the correct lead. Instead, we needed to keep our upper body straight and not jump ahead, and focus on just using our head and an opening rein to guide the horse. Even though it was a figure 8, he also placed guide rails on the backside of the fence so that we would stay straight for 2 strides after the jump- avoiding the temptation to keep turning in the air instead of giving a straighter approach/away.

From there we started stringing fences together. First with bending lines incorporating the liverpool and big oxer in the corner, and quickly adding on other elements that tested our balance and getting the correct lead.

Since the line, which most horses got in 6 strides, was riding in a forward 5 for Jack, Boyd had me ride very quietly into it and wanted my to end on 6 strides for the day. So we finished by having all the riders go around the outside of the track, and I was challenged to keep Jack steady. Again our greenness with combinations showed through the treble, which was a tight one to a two stride, and we finished by adding on a bending line to another oxer at the end.

Overall, I learned a lot about my horse- that he’s a good jumper, but we have work to do in regards to teaching him that he now has a 3rd gear he can use- and that’s a quieter step that’s still active and balanced. My leg still needs to get tighter, and I learned that I need to not obsess over getting the perfect ride every time. Boyd was positive and encouraging, but definitely rewarded a gritty ride that got the job done. We wrapped up with a drink and some chili and Jack went home for some well deserved mash and a little rest before day 2!

19 thoughts on “Boyd Martin Clinic: Day 1 Recap

  1. The 3rd gear is tough to learn! He sounds similar to Frankie in that regard- it took some time to teach him that a smaller step can still be active and balanced. Jack has already come such a long way, I love seeing him progress!

    • It’s tough for those big guys!! Frankie and Jack probably have quite a bit in common now that I think about it- hopefully we’ll progress as far as your guys have one day!

  2. Jack’s certainly getting an education now! Good boy Jack!!!! What a fun weekend learning more about your horse and figuring out new things to work on πŸ™‚ You really have done so much with him in such a short amount of time and you guys are looking great! Can’t wait to hear about XC!!!

    • Our needs pace-wise just keep changing, based on balance (and steering, and everything else) – it seems like every lesson we’re asking something different!

  3. oh fun! i audited one of boyd’s clinics a couple winters ago and really enjoyed hearing him teach. lots of good insights, and very useful exercises! glad it was eye opening with Jack!

      • Tell me about it! You think our sporting committees would wake up and realise we need to support them more if we want them to stay, and instead just wave as they wander out the door. Super frustrating (but I still cheer for them anyway haha)

  4. OMG, Jack with the tail flip! He loves a bit of flair doesn’t he?! I was watching Sally Cousins teach a few weeks ago and she made a hug emphasis on the “little canter”, using all outside aids to make the canter smaller (but energetic) for jumping. It was fascinating to see how the horses jumped based on this small canter!

    • He’s VERY expressive with his tail haha. It’s pretty entertaining to watch in the videos, since I don’t notice it for the most part when I’m on him… he’s just a sensitive dude!

  5. Post-Thanksgiving or no, how very cool that you got to ride in a clinic with Boyd! I love everything I’ve read about his teaching style and it sounds like y’all gained a lot from day 1.

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