Clinic Report: Sally Cousins 1/8/18

I feel like I just rode with Sally last week when I saw the notice on the whiteboard that she was coming north again for a clinic. I had so much fun and learned so much from her last time that I signed up again.

No one was fully anticipating the bomb cyclone/arctic blast/whatever you want to call it, I figured I was made of tough stuff and played polo in 12* in upstate New York so I'd be fine.

I didn't really anticipate the amount of snow and wind New Jersey would get...

Or having to manhandle my car to get through the driveway to the barn that was unplowed...

Or riding my horse that had two days off and two days of no turnout because of inclement weather...

But I got it done. Indy actually got really good functional rides in the (frigid) days leading up to Sunday and I felt prepared if not numb going into the ring first thing Sunday morning. My car dial read 9*.

I left off my spurs to start because I figured Indy would be lit but oh my god, was he dead as dead could be. He was moving like a slug up to the jumps, stalling off the ground, and landing dead on the other side. I think the only reason he saw any success on the track was because he could just take less steps than every other horse.

I procured some spurs for the back two thirds of the lesson and he was much better. Unfortunately with him, it's very all or nothing; he's either farting off the ground with the gusto of a dead fish or rocketing to the moon over every jump. Rocket jump is scaring me a lot less lately though, probably because I'm finally getting used to it.

Sally reiterated a lot of what we talked about last time, and picked after my heels and occasionally yelled "BE MICHAEL JUNG" as I approached a fence. It was good because this lesson wasn't so much building new principles but building on things we had worked on last time.

She commented that he looked much straighter this month, and also that I had the wrong horse for the exercises we were doing. The turns were extremely tight, and one line included a long-ish four stride to a bounce. The only way I could make the striding for most of the lines was by trotting in, but Indy was incredibly game and tried his little heart out. Tiny turns in the indoor are not our friend, but he's quickly learning that he should probably check in with me when we land instead of tally-ho-ing off into the distance.

Of course one line he tried to leave an entire fourteen foot stride out, and when I said no he did an epic lead change but stayed earthbound for the last step.

Overall it was a solid lesson, I had excellent affirmation that I'm on the right track. I just really enjoy riding this horse. He has a heart of gold but is the most athletic thing I've ever sat on. He has no idea where his legs out but tries so hard to do what I'm asking him. I have such a blast jumping him, probably more than any horse I've ever ridden.

Now if only spring would hurry the heck up and get here...

is that... sun? and non frozen arena dirt???


  1. I can't believe they held that clinic in 9 degrees! You guys are definitely troopers.
    I've been reading some studies about not riding when it's colder than 20, and I'm embracing them fully because I don't wanna anyway.
    Sounds like your hard work is paying off with all that positive feed back!

    1. believe it or not she was actually full with groups of 2 or 3 straight through from 8:30 to 4:30! and that's not including the almost full clinic she had the day before too.

      time and tide wait for no man woman :P and I honestly didn't notice a difference at all in him with the cold weather. me, on the other hand, I have a disgusting cough now.

    2. lol Stacie i totally don't blame you for not wanting to ride in the cold - lots of people don't!! about those studies tho.... i don't think they say not to ride when it's colder than 20. actually, i know they don't bc i read them too. they've been heavily misquoted by outlets like horse nation/ eventing nation/ jumper nation/ kristen kovatch as attributing the recommendation to not do anything more than walk at temps below 20.... except the studies *do not* say that. disinformation spread from lazy, sloppy, or subversive misinterpretations of science is a major reason why good science has a credibility problem today.

    3. That and I won't ride on my frozen outdoor! #backyardbarnproblems (Also my horses are 18 and 21, no need to give them emphysema!)
      As for the studies, as I've interpreted them, heavy work in the cold weather can make the lungs more susceptible to infection. It's not the cold itself that's dangerous exactly, but if your horse is exposed to any germs, it's more likely to become ill from them. As an asthmatic runner, I can say that running in very cold temperatures does pretty terrible things to my lungs. Is that the same for non-asthmatics? I don't know. I think everyone needs to do what's best for them and their horse. But I would like to see more information regarding temperature extremes and equine exercise.

  2. Awwww I love you guys together so much.

  3. this sounds like such a great ride, i'm so excited for you guys and so glad the clinic was still on despite the weather!! i'm seriously suffering from FOMO right now bc i have all these big plans and lofty ambitions but keep running into road blocks (sometimes literally). grrrr. still tho, indy sounds fabulous!

    1. hey winter is the time to sort all this garbage out. id rather have fomo in january than fomo in may!!

  4. I did NOT choose to ride with Sally last week and as I laid in my bed moping with a 102 temp on Sat am BOY was I glad i hadnt! HA HA but you Megan you are amazing :) HA! I swear everytime i leave the spurs off are the times I regret it too!! I cant wait to see you and the Amazing Indy bounce in person some time!! Are you riding with her next weekend? I think I have to skip again :( I am hoping she comes in Feb too......

    1. yeah i figured much - and frankly you probably didnt miss anything. remus mightve flipped you the bird and said no thanks.

      i used to never ride without spurs, because i went to a show once when i was 16 without them and my trainer was like WOULD YOU GO TO WAR WITHOUT A GUN?? which i thought was a little extreme.

      sally did say that you were one of her favorite people to teach!! i probably wont get to ride with her for a bit :'(


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