Monday, August 15, 2011

Icing on our Parelli Foundation - riding with Walter Zettl

August 4th I headed out at 5 am for the 13 hour drive to Mt Forest, ON where I was to ride with Walter Zettl, dressage master and Pat and Linda's mentor, for the very first time. Menina was on the trailer. Smooth trip and I set up my trailer at Quardream Farm, a lovely Parelli friendly facility. My first lesson was Friday after lunch, which gave me plenty of time to play with Menina online, get her cleaned up and braided and do the top line red lighting. I was nervous, but excited too. 

We had a great weekend! Walter loved my horse, he loved her spunk and temperament, and her natural talent. Once I can get good enough to ride her correctly in contact all the time, she will be a star. I was getting some 'perfect' moments, but sustaining schwung and contact for 45 minutes non-stop was very challenging and Walter kept pushing me to correct, I just was not fast enough to catch it before losing it! Riding with WAZ is intense learning, you have to be 100% in the moment and very alert. He does not keep you on any pattern, direction or gait more than a few strides! I was very happy to have watched so many WAZ lessons at the Parelli ranch because that prepared me well for knowing what to expect, where to be, how to ride the arena and what to do and not do. Those lessons take up all of your brain cells!

It was a great learning experience, every lesson got better and Menina was truly a great partner. She was focused, attentive and trying her heart out. We had some trouble with the confidence bit the first day, at one point I saw her tongue coming out, so I switched to the cradle C3 for the rest of the weekend and her mouth was nice and quiet after that (more tongue relief). She gave me great upwards transitions, halts, and circles, and lovely self-carriage. She had a couple of LBE moments, but really short lived and quite moderate compared to what I'm used to, and hardly any arguing at all. When we were both in the zone, wow, did she ever move well and carry herself proudly! I was very proud of my horse. Our focus will be on sustaining contact and schwung for much longer periods of time, keeping the engagement in the downward transitions and improving the schwung at the canter. We ended our last lesson with a great round and powerful canter and a perfect straight and square halt on the center line! Walter was impressed!

Check my highlights of the clinic!

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