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Thursday, October 20, 2011

2 AWESOME lessons with Catherine Haddad Staller!

I am all pumped up this morning waiting for the sun to creep over the horizon enough to go out and start working with the horses! Nothing like having super lessons with a top professional rider and trainer to get your competitive side amped up! :)

First and foremost, sincere thanks go out to Randy at Hawk Hollow Ranch for allowing us to come to her lovely facility and learn from Catherine. Again. To have access to such well maintained footing is a real treat and all the friendly faces are just icing on the cake!

Here are some photos (shot by Anne) of Wyatt and me on the first day at Hawk Hollow Ranch in NJ with Catherine. I was trying a different saddle, so their are some moments that were a bit of a struggle for me as a rider, but overall Wyatt's performance more than made up for my lack of finesse and timing. As we are dishing out the 'thank you's' - a big shout of out Thank You goes to my mom for breeding such a wonderful horse in Wyatt. He's a real peach to work with and sensitized to my every move, which makes changes instantaneous, and therefore more rewarding!

I will be chanting 'swing and tap' in the canter for quite some time I fear but the soft, clean changes that Wyatt gave me more than made up for all the struggles of the summer. It was quite fun to be able to go over some of the rudimentary things that were quite difficult back in June, check the exercises from August and move on to new exercises with Wyatt. Nothing like a clear signal of progress in the training program! And one of the best facets of the program is that everything that we worked on with Wyatt will be applied to all of the horses that are in training here on the farm. Immediately. For anyone who has concerns that dressage is harsh or unpleasant to the horse, Wyatt relaxed and got softer and steadier in all of his work - no gnashing of teeth or fighting with the rider. All of the exercises are based in helping the horse to be more ambidextrous and supple - so from a rider's standpoint - I couldn't be happier! :)

Stubben was very nice and had a saddle fitter and numerous saddles on site for rider's to try. Enjoy the photos of the display that was set up outside the arena.

As always, it is a pleasure to watch Catherine teach other riders. Hopefully, we will be able to entice her out to our part of PA in the future!

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