Danni Fisher Blog Update - Sam Griffiths Bursary Lesson!
September brought around our Sam Griffiths lesson! I have no words to describe how amazing our lesson was.
To start with Oscar travelled so well all the way to Dorset to Sam’s yard, I was so proud of him given he hasn’t done any long journeys for over 1 ½ years. We arrived at Sam’s yard and met Sarah and Chloe from HorseQuest which was so lovely having only spoken to them over the phone and email!
We tacked Oscar up and met Sam at the arena which was very exciting! Before warming up I spoke to Sam and told him what we were struggling with, specifically that Oscar his loose with his front legs and doesn’t sit on his hocks when jumping and ends up leaning on me. So, we warmed up and let Oscar see the arena (apparently the banners had scary monsters in them!) and let Sam watch his way of going and assess him.
About 5 minutes into the lesson, Sam told me to try being stronger in my body and my position, not letting Oscar pull me forward in the downwards transitions. I honestly can’t explain how much of a difference this made. Originally, it was quite ugly, and Oscar found it hard to begin with, but once we started being consistent with it he learned really quickly and immediately began to sit back on his hocks rather than run along on his front. His canter immediately became more engaged and had much more jump in it.
Once we began to get the hang of the new technique for our transitions, we started a different exercise. This was simply cantering down a row on canter poles, which I can confirm is a lot harder than you think! Sam really highlighted how I needed to ‘bunch’ Oscar up more and keep him more on the bit down the poles. This made his canter much bouncier and more engaged. The poles also showed us which rein he was weaker on, helping me to identify what needs more work on over the winter. He definitely found the right rein much harder as he always tried to change leg throughout the poles that way. Once he went through the line multiple times on both reins and did it right, we started jumping!
I was so pleased with how he jumped because he tried so hard and jumped very nicely! The poles and transition technique made such a difference to his canter which in turn benefited his jump so much. It made him more forward and bouncier into the fence, I just needed to make sure I rode him positively and up into the jump, so that he kept his shoulders up. After jumping a round of jumps we decided to call it a day for Oscar as he had worked incredibly hard and was very hot!!
We were also really lucky to be given a yard tour by Sam himself which was amazing. It was lovely to see all his beautiful horses and just be given an insight to how they work and operate.
I cannot thank HorseQuest enough for the incredible opportunity they gave me, and Sarah and Chloe for coming down and watching, taking videos and notes! And of course, Sam for such an amazing lesson! I’m so excited to get going with all the exercises with Oscar over the winter!
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