The day has quickly arrived. The day before was a monsoon so I was thrilled that I got the much sunnier and happier day after that even if it meant I was stuck at work not auditing during the rain. My husband decided to come along for the ride (!!) and Alex met me at the farm to watch (auditing wut wut!) and we arrived with plenty of time to prep. The site was very nice and relaxed so I felt right at home quickly.
I'd been streaming online lessons of Conrad the previous week to accustom myself to his accent, although since my mother and her family are from Germany it wasn't all that hard. "Wolte" was the only word that made me pause but then I figured it out when I checked out the video. Conrad uses a lot of "Wolte" and for good reason. The lesson before ours had a horse that was pushing through the movements a lot and it really helped her keep her balance. He does a lot of "this and that" and I knew we'd fit right in. Lunch came up quickly and we ran to get something before coming back to tack up and go. There was a rider before us so after a quick warmup outside, I lingered nearby to watch them work a younger horse over the poles.
Then it was my turn and I basically told Conrad to do whatever he wanted - I was game. He definitely brought it and we systematically worked from walk, to walk half pass, to trot half pass, to canter work, to pirouettes to an exhausting and grueling exercise on the long side where you medium trot, walk, walk pirouette, medium walk, etc. All these things led towards the upper level work where we spent the most of our time on canter pirouettes with Vana. Immediately when Conrad came out with a whip, Vana knew what was up and started piaffing his heart out (KEEP THE WHIP AWAY OMGGGGG). We were supposed to walk a pirouette with Conrad in the circle, then CANTER on the spot and keep it going. It was hard to get Vana's rear ANYWHERE near Conrad for a while so I got yelled at plenty up close but we eventually did it.
This progressed to pirouetting between the two poles which was THE BEST. I swear they looked WAY closer when you're on a 17.2h horse but on the video it looks like nbd. Also... YOU VILD! VILD!! was the best part... and the hardest to not lol at.
After that we went to the rail (Vana = OMGOMGOMGOMG*flails) and worked on piaffe (NOT AN ISSUE) and then transition to passage. We hadn't really worked on this much so it wasn't the best but we got it done and a high five from Mr Schumacher.
The full video is below so enjoy, I really can't nitpik too much in it which is saying something about where I am mentally about our training progress (which feels awesome!).
So would I clinic with Conrad again? H-to the ELL yes! He was tough, fair, and didn't just blow smoke up your skirt. We DID things. We were PUSHED. It was a blast and I was exhausted and breathing hard for many parts of it (see video during breaks). His training style complements my trainer's style really really well and well, for $300 I WANT to be pushed and challenged, not told how pretty we are and blah blah blah. This was a FEI series so naturally he was working everyone really hard on upper level topics and foundations. I had a blast, but if you're not able to think objectively about yourself, your horse, or your riding then you might want to audit first and make your own decision. He was quick to point out two things that I continually do and I felt the difference immediately as well as offer a different way to ask for half pass and the difference (in all our horses) has been amazing.
We've been invited back for Round Two in March so looking forward to that!