Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blair attends Jeff Moore's clinic at Osierlea

This past weekend I attended the bi-annual Osierlea Extravaganza in beautiful San Juan Bautista, CA. Judy received an email about two months ago from Jeff Moore about this event and suggested that I should go. I was all in. Learning more in my discipline and hanging in California?! I think that sounds great! Anyway, I took away many great tidbits and gained a new perspective on the actual "training" of the horse. It shouldn't be an emotional battle between trainer/rider and horse. Jeff was constantly telling us all that horses do not DO things to us on purpose. They simply do not think in that way.
The major focus of the entire clinic was core, core, core. If you do not have a strong core muscle it is nearly impossible to have a steady horse. In order for your horse to be cooperative and respond easily to your aids, the core muscle must be stable and engaged. Several key signs of a weak core (according to Jeff and his program) are Unsteady hands, pulling hands, unstable legs, unsteady trunk, shoulders held too high, and twisting in the upper body. These are just a few, of course there are many others. 
And here is a simple exercise to help strengthen your core! It is called "the squeeze" and fairly self explanatory. You could do this while sitting in the office chair, while driving, and even while standing still on your horse. If you are in a chair, move forward so that your back is not touching it and exhale. Think of pulling your belly button in and up towards your spine(in the direction of your throat). You could also think of narrowing your waist so that your waistband is no longer touching your skin. Continue to breathe normally WITHOUT letting your core relax. Every few seconds concentrate on your belly button to be sure that your core is still engaged. Do this 3-5 times for 60seconds each. 
You'll be sure to have a super strong core after a few weeks of that!
 All of this broken down bio-mechanic theory cleared my mind of some unnecessary pre-set ideas and I'm confident that all of my horses are going to appreciate my new outlook! I'm extremely grateful to Judy for not only pushing me to further my education but helping to support it as well. I look forward to the upcoming show/clinic season and am very excited for what is yet to come!
by Blair Niemcziek

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What a week- Thank you, Mike

Blair, our working student and professional in training, leaves in two days to attend a Jeff Moore seminar at Osierlea, on bio-mechanics of horse and rider, the psychology of training and challenges of motor skills learning.  Blair is an accomplished young rider; this course will help her develop more skills for training and teaching.  She is also riding monthly with well known top level trainer Henk Glijn from British Columiba.  In the April clinic she will ride her own PSG horse Ravel and Ramzes SF.

While I sit here writing, we are have the MOST AMAZING storm - thunder, lightning, hail, and rain are slamming down! The horses are all safely in the barn. Including the new quarter horse foal born last night.  Thank goodness the owner sent the mare to us to foal out as the foal was presented upside-down and backwards. Cannot thank Mike enough; his years of experience saved the foal and the mare.  Both are doing quite well, and we can breath a great sigh of relief.

As you know I have some horses in Germany. Everything is in flux.  My yearling filly will be moving to Heinrich Heemke's for raising as Gudrun is cutting back on outside clients - too much work with 30 horses.  The two years old colt will either go to Heemke's for another year on the pasture, or Han-Henning von der Decken or Stefan Blanken to prepare for stallion selection.  The 3 years old filly will go the Verden Riding and Driving School to be backed and then to Rainer Schmerglatt's to be trained as a hunter.

Finally, I'm now working part-time for a manufacturing firm as a project/operations manager.  And I'm enjoying it.  Not sure I needed more work to do, but it's refreshing to be talking about something new.  Haven't worked in corporate America for a really long time ;-)