Saturday, November 8, 2014

Double Dan clinic.

Double Dan is giving a clinic at the horseman's guard and I couldn't pass it up! I SO wanted to participate in it with Max but the entry fee deterred me. It's $450 to participate, and only $20 to audit. However, after today I wish I had spent the extra $430 to be part of this clinic. Sigh...regrets...I have a few...

I headed over there after my quadrille lesson with a friend. When we got there he was finishing up the morning session and broke for lunch. So I grabbed a blanket and sat on a sunny hill top overlooking the lovely New England country-side. It was complete heaven sitting there, scarfing down my sandwich and chocolate milk,  and breathing in the clean crisp air.

*munch munch munch*

Perfect day.

The afternoon session was held outdoors. I'm going to share some exercises that he had the participants and their horses do. Before that though, here are some ridiculously cute pictures of him and his demo pony.

Two cuties ^.^

Exercise 1 - Hind quarter yield.
In this exercise he had everyone hold the lead rope really close, pretty much under the chin. Then he had them circle the horse around them, making sure that the horse was actually moving around them and not the other way around. He had them do it at the walk and the trot. It was pretty crazy how many of the horses protested this. There were a few that would run away from it, and even kick and rear. He had the owners work through those by continue pressure until they got over it and yielded. Of course, in the end they all did.

Exercise 2 - Side Pass.
The second step was having the horses facing the fence and getting them to side pass. If the horses hind end gets left behind he had the owner slow down their pace, but give pressure to the hind end with a crop to straighten out the horse. 

Exercise 3 - Backing up.
This was a straight forward one and pretty much all the participants and their horses did this with little trouble. There was a horse that would bite it's owner when she started to ask for a faster back up. He had her be prepared to give an elbow , fist or, whatever she needed to do to rebuff the bite. Also he pointed out that the reason he was biting was that she was in attack mode with her crop when asking him to back up. Once she eased up on that he did fine! Oh and he had them back them up by facing them, putting pressure on the halter, then nose, then legs accordingly, the goal being they would back up with just pressure on the halter.

Exercise 4 - Circling around with bend.
For this exercise the owners had to circle their horses around them on a longer line..pretty much lunging the horses. However they had to yield their hindquarters away and not drop their shoulders in to have lunging actually mean something. To get successful at this the horse first has to understand Exercise 1. And if at any point the horse starts looking outside the circle, or gets stiff , then it's advised to go back to Exercise 1 to reinforce the good habit. I really like this one because just lunging a horse around in a circle is really not helpful unless he is doing it right. And now I have a better idea of what right is.

Exercise 5 - Combining circling, side passing and hind end disengagement.
This one seemed a bit of a combination of everything. He had a name for it but I forget. It pretty much translates to a one reign stop under saddle. He had folks circle their horses, then with their bodies facing the shoulder move them sideways and out, before having their hind end swing around and disengage. I'm sure it was a lot more complicated than he made it look because pretty much everyone had problems with this. 

Exercise 6 - Circle to Fence.
In this final exercise he had the participants circle the horses near the fence. Then while circling, the participants had to step up all the way to the fence (almost to a point of leaning on it) and then half circle the horse to the fence. The horse had to be a bit of a distance away and if they were in the owners space they had to be backed up. Then he had them move the horse to the other side, step away from the fence and circle the horse around in them in the other direction. Rinse and repeat. He mentioned this is a helpful exercise to get a reluctant horse to load up into a trailer. He had them practice this with barrels as well - the barrels acted as a physical space barrier between owner and horse.

Barrels create a doorway.

After the clinic he hung out with us for another forty minutes to answer any questions which was super nice of him. I wish I had the energy to stick around for his night show but I was just too cold and tired. Sometimes the need for a hot shower and the couch over-rides everything else..even hot Aussie cowboys riding horses!


  1. sounds like a really interesting clinic - will be curious to hear if you try any of these exercises with Max, and what you think of them!!

    1. I will definitely write a post on it when I try them out!

  2. I saw the Dans at a clinic a couple of years ago. Cute, and talented riders too!

  3. Sounds like you had a fun time. Thanks for posting Carolyn!