PA Horse Expo 2019
There was only one demonstration I really was keen to get to, and we made it to that one. It's a horseman by the name of Brendan Wise.
My BO initially pointed this one out to me, and I went 'oh my god, they have clinics for Spicy! Who would've thought!' We were a few minutes late but I was immediately glued to everything he was saying.
|Pic via his website|
One thing Spicy and I have struggled with is shoulder control. Max talks constantly about how 80% of the horses evasions come from the shoulders. Spicy might be 100%. He's got a spin move on him. The books recommend teaching horses turn on the forehand, turn on the hindquarters, and lateral work to gain control of the shoulders.
Try as I might, I could tell all I was doing was frustrating Spicy and getting nowhere near any kind of control. But Brendan Wise had a very nervous mare leg yielding no problem. I couldn't quite tell what he was doing, but luckily for me, he took questions. I got so excited I almost tripped over a row of seats trying to get his attention.
I asked how to get my horse moving and yielding his shoulders. I know someone was videotaping and I wish I had a video of my question and his answer but basically what he said was: I need to create forward energy and then direct it, primarily using my body and not the reins. I think that's where I was getting stuck. I'd get forward, try and use the hands, and then he'd get stuck because I was pushing (with the driving aid/whip) and pulling (with the reins) at the same time. This meant his energy had nowhere to go. By stepping into his space, and keeping my body at an angle, I redirected the flow of energy as if it were water.
This is the diet version of what he said. He did a great job demonstrating with the mare as he was explaining it. I wish had taken notes, but I just held onto it and tried it as SOON as I got home. Sure enough, after weeks of struggling, in less than five minutes I got Spicy to move laterally, crossing his front legs. Since then I've gotten more suppleness in the shoulders and he's actually starting to, you know. Bend.
|"Refuse to bend? That doesn't sound like me"|
After the demo was over we went back to the main hall. The vendor section was of course huge, but not too much really jumped out at me. I had a remarkable amount of self control shopping wise which doesn't make good blog fodder but there you have it.
Actually that's not true, I did buy one thing.
It's purple, and has faux sheepskin and rhinestones.
There was a bunch of other stuff for sale, including my local County rep and a truckload of saddles. I found a County Connection with my specs on eBay, so I sat in hers to test it out. It was pretty good. Then I made the mistake of sitting in the Epiphany. That is SOME SADDLE. I hugely regret sitting in it. Seeing as I still not have paid off the current precious, we have some time before I can start adding New Precious (in brown, with patent accents standard).
|This only came in tiny shetland size, which is a shame.|
|Unicorn Reins, from Reins for Rescues|
|Sara dubbed these muppet reins|
They are horrifying.
|Headstalls for days|
|Didn't get either of these because I couldn't decide which I liked more...|
|I kind of really want to name my future farm this.|
I had such a good time. It was a loooooong drive but totally worth it! Now just to make plans to make it to Equine Affair... not sure if it'll happen in 2019 but maybe 2020??