It’s Time For A Masterclass!
While I am not quarantined, at home, I know there are a lot of people out in the world that are. And if you are one of them, I hope you are doing ok. I hope you are finding things to do to keep your brain entertained. And with all of the yuck going on in the world right now, I am trying to stay positive. Which honestly, can be really challenging. Especially with all the uncertainty of what is happening right now.
Right now I still have to go to work. But when I come home from work every day, I try to shut off the outside world and find something that brings me joy. And I’m sure you know what that is right? Yes, my horses!
And Noelle Floyd has a bunch of Masterclasses that I can go through to help keep my brain focused on something fun. So I wanted to share with you some of the takeaways I have gotten from Anne Kursinski’s Masterclass.
Bringing Out The Best In Your Horse
Anne Kursinski’s Masterclass is called Bringing out the Best in your Horse. And I wanted to do this class first, because I want to bring out the best in Plezant from the get go.
I was excited to see that Anne Kursinski had a Masterclass available. Especially after buying her book. The book is called Anne Kursinski’s Riding and Jumping Clinic and you can find it online for a fraction of the original price.
As an example, I found this very book on Amazon at the time of writing this for $1.20. Now how is that for a bargain? It’s a fantastic book. An even though it’s an older edition, it’s the same information.
But even more fantastic is now that I have read the book, I can take her Masterclass at Noelle Floyd.
So while I have the Masterclass open on my computer, I also have the workbook, and her physical book open on my kitchen table. Lots of learning going on in the Goodwin house right now!
And as a side note, I was so fixated on the belt Anne was wearing in her videos that I had to find one for myself.
I am pretty sure hers is a Hermes belt, and while I can’t afford that, I did find a similar one on Overstock.Com for around $28.00.
Oh, and they shipped it really fast too!
Understanding How Horses Think
One of my favorite video’s in the class is called learning how horses think. For me, this is sooooo important. Instead of trying to rewire Plezant’s brain, Anne helped me to understand how he is thinking about what I am asking him to do. She also reminds us that to be a great horseman is a journey. You don’t learn it in a year or two, it’s a journey. And we need to keep that in mind. We are always learning. And each horse can teach us something different, we just have to pay attention to what they are teaching us.
Building A Strong Partnership
In order to become one with your horse, you need to be able to listen to your horse, and work with your horse. Knowing what their tong points and weak points are. You do have to train and correct him when something isn’t going quite right. But also giving and rewarding your horse when he does something right. Because the more you give, the more your horse will bloom, and blossom. Every horse is different. But taking all of that into consideration will help you to be able to work with your horse.
Our horses have feelings and emotions. They understand us, don’t we owe it to them to really understand them and what they are feeling?
Using Transitions To Build Teamwork
No matter what you are working on with your horse, in order to get him to his absolute best you need to focus on the basics first. You have to master the art of basic flatwork. I know, it isn’t sexy. But in order to get to the upper levels, you have to perfect the basics first. So working on the transitions through the gaits can be very helpful.
When you are working through the transitions, you are constantly adjusting your body to stay with your horse. It’s important to remain elastic, but also to keep your seat in the saddle, your leg stays on your horse’s side, and your hands have a connection to your horse’s mouth via your reins. You want to remember to be consistent while you are in the saddle and working through the transitions.
Your horse is always listening to your aids. So working on and perfecting smooth transitions through clarity in simple transitions will correlate to the more advanced maneuvers you want to do with your horse.
And once we figure out the feel while working on transitions, and once we are consistent on the flat, then we can start to work on the whole over fences (or poles) thing.
Before You Tackle Jumping
I think it’s important to say that you should not progress to the over poles or fences until you have a fairly secure seat, stable lower leg and can work through transitions of walk, trot and canter. I mean you can, but if you are wobbly in your seat, your leg slips back and you are pulling on your horse’s mouth, how effective will you be if you try to go over a jump?
So work on the basics first, and master them. And once you have done that, then you can move forward in your jumping endeavors.
Ok, now that we are confident in our position on the flat, now we can start to work on feeling over fences (or ground poles).
Feeling Over Fences Or Poles
Counting is something that can help you with your jumping. And this can be done with a course of jumps, or even a course of ground poles. And in the Masterclass, Anne shares with us a counting exercise. Literally counting as we move around the course of jumps or poles.
You have a number in your head, for example hers is 8. So learning to count 8 strides from the jump.
You start at 1 and work your way up to 8. This helps you to work on your timing, your focus your breathing and your rhythm to find your distance to the jump.
This counting exercise can be extremely helpful and give you something to focus on while you are schooling your horse.
Building Balance For Better Performance
One thing about riding that is so important is balance. Not only the horses balance, but also the riders balance to stay out of the horse’s way so he can do his job. You want to be able to use your core and your lower leg, and not relying on your horses neck to help you maintain your balance.
Try to remember not to rely on your horse’s neck to help you maintain your balance. This is an automatic release exercise to give your horse the freedom he needs to be able to do his job whether it’s on the flat, or going over a jump.
You want to develop a feel of being with the horse. Not ahead of him, or behind him, but with him. I can’t explain it as well as Anne does. But in the videos for this class she demonstrates the exercise.
Anne Kursinski Masterclass
Now that is a little more of an in depth look at one of the Masterclasses brought to us by Noelle Floyd. And these are 8 of the 10 parts to her class. I have given you just a brief overview of what this class offers. But hopefully you can get a better picture of what a Masterclass is like.
And each time that I watch one of the videos, I learn something new. I find it really helpful to go back and re-watch a video lesson or two. Every time I do this, I learn something that I can apply when I’m schooling my horse.
Or I should say plan on schooling him, because in true Colorado springtime fashion, we got over a foot of snow on the first day of spring. Yay springtime in Colorado.
But that’s ok! I have the time to watch and re-watch my Masterclasses. It’s as if I am getting a personal lesson from Anne Kursinski. And there is no way I would be able to have a ’real’ lesson with her. So I will gladly take this.
Try Masterclass For Yourself
And since I am doing my best to practice social distancing by staying at home when I’m not working, I think I am going to have a lot of time to be working with Plezant in the next 30 days. Who knows, maybe by the time this stupid virus is a memory I will have a well trained horse!
So, if you want to learn more about the Masterclass membership from Noelle Floyd, just click on one of the links I have provided throughout this blog post. I feel it is definitely worth the $19.99 a month membership fee. If you think about it, that is less than the cost of even one riding lesson. And well, since you probably aren’t having many riding lessons right now, why not continue your education by taking a Masterclass or two?
Even if you can’t get to the barn, you can still spend some quality time learning right? And if you want to learn more about my experience with Noelle Floyd’s Masterclass membership, check out this blog post.
Stay Safe, and Healthy!