Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jan Byyny Clinic Day 1

Way back in May Prisoner and I did a clinic with Jan Byyny.  By the end of it she was pretty much my hero.  I was able to watch the other groups and listen to what she had to say.  She was humble yet confident with her opinion and ideas.  She talked about watching other top riders and really trying to pick apart what she liked in their riding so that she could incorporate it into her own.  After introductions and such we started with flatwork warm up.  I always go into a clinic looking for new tools that I can add to my riding, and what was the first thing she said?  "I will hopefully give you tools you can continue to work on after the clinic is over."  We warmed up in the walk/trot/canter with the same things.  Getting the horse listening.  We used the whole arena and worked on a simple version of shoulder in to the left and right (or inside and outside of the loop we were on).  It really showed me how much stiffer off the right leg Prisoner is.  This went  on for quite a while with her just calling out left right left left right turn right left etc etc.  Prisoner did quite well and she talked about how much she liked him.
Second time over this corner, nbd
 Then we moved onto two caveletti set on a curve about 3 or 4 canter strides apart.  Prisoner tried to rush and then got better, we did it a few times in a row until he settled.  As we stopped and waited for the next rider to go Jan walked over to me.  What she said about blew me out of the saddle, this woman had been watching me ride for 15 minutes and had me pegged.  "I can tell you 100 times that you are a great rider, but until you believe it yourself you will struggle, so believe it, because you are."  Say what!?  Ok time to stop with the self doubt.  Obviously easier said than done, but I'm working on it.
My cute pony
 Then we moved on to jumping jumps and stringing courses together.

First time over the corner, he popped me out of the tack

Prep phase
 He was doing quite well, impressing with his beautiful jumping.  Then we came to this oxer:
Yep, not scary
 and at the last moment he threw in his now signature rear/bolt sideways move.  Before I could even chastise myself Jan hollered across the arena, "you rode that fine, just come around again."  So I did and he stopped again.  She had walked over by that point and had me come back with a very slow and powerful trot and over it he went.  I did it several times in a row until he was feeling honest again.  We discussed how we need to keep him slow until his brain catches up to his body's talent so that he doesn't get scared.  She also laughingly said he used his sassiness (which she liked) for evil.  She said I was riding him fine and that his talent would make working through the quirks worth it.
Looking like an xc horse here
 We continued on and did a few different courses.  The idea for the rest of the lesson being that we would keep a mix of trotting and cantering throughout the course so that he wouldn't get too rushy.
Hello knees
 Funny story, while I was watching the clinic before mine, Jan looks me in the eyes and says, "we've met before."  Woah, yes we have.  I told her about working for a couple trainers back east and being stabled near her at Red Hills.  Seriously guys, we said maybe five words at the show, and maybe I held a horse for her or carried water or something.  What a memory.  She said it was so nice to see me again, and then said the same thing after the clinic was over.  Did I mention that she is amazing?
Taking flight under Jan's watchful eye


  1. Sounds like a really great outing for you two!

  2. Um hello don't I get photo credit here? :-p She was super fun!

  3. very cool clinic - she sounds like a great teacher, esp in that she had so much insight to offer you about both your own self and Prisoner.

  4. Wow!! Jan sounds like a great teacher - I'm going to be on the lookout for opportunities to work with her! And she's right, you ARE a great rider. I would be proud to have you on my horse any day!

    1. You are so sweet, thank you! And yes definitely look her up!

  5. Holy! He really popped over that corner!