Now this is just my opinion, but with horses you never stop learning. At least, if you have an open mind and are willing to learn you keep learning.
(actually, that goes for life in general)This is why I look for articles to read, take some equine related classes, take lessons with a few different people, go to clinics. I know some people are hesitant to go to clinics or lessons if they don't know the person, but the way I look at it is if you learn absolutely nothing and it's an absolutely awful experience (and how damn likely is that) you'll at least learn what doesn't work for you.
Anyhow... one of my boarders rented our arena to host a barrel racing clinic this past weekend. I got a spot in the clinic, which was with Andrea Udal.
Now some may remember I rode with Ed Wright the last few years. His style was really working for me and Lefta, but I just couldn't quite seem to get it going with Frosty... at least without Ed, with him it may have been a different story.
I have to say that when at the very start of the clinic Andrea said she knew some of us had rode with Ed but her style is completely different I had a few doubts. I shoved them aside though and sat down to watch the morning group, listen, and learn.
The main difference I saw, and later rode, was that unlike Ed's 'jockey like' position up over your horses first ribs, Andrea wanted us to sit deep and drive. However they both want a horse to move around a barrel "in 4 wheel drive" and they both want a horse that is shaped in the turn. A smooth, flowing turn is fastest and can put you in the money even if your horse isn't very fast was my take away.
Which is funny because that's what I had been thinking to myself just a few days prior. I had been thinking of Lefta's last run. How she isn't really running hard between barrels yet, but her turns are just so darn nice that it's helping her start to clock better.
Back to Frosty though... I have only had him a year, but what I've noticed, is he can be a bit of a freight train at times (at least for me). He's a nice horse, and he knows how to be soft. But sometimes he just gets a bit frazzled and needs to blow off steam. Or he'll go into a run and it's like he's thinking "you just sit there, I've got this" and while he may have it some, we are a team and he needs a bit of guidance at times lol
Working with Andrea I found some drills that helped him relax, made a small change to equipment and holy smokes... he was soft, relaxed, focused, and still craving that turn :D
Fingers crossed for good things this season!