Raven has been a busy girl this summer, and she wrapped up a successful and educational show season with one final outing last week. After Raven completed her first event in September, we were eager to get her out over cross country fences a few more times before the end of the season. She needed to better understand the cross country phase and gain confidence over the fences, and so we signed up for a cross-country jump clinic with Advanced-level eventer Doug Payne.
The clinic was generously sponsored by Hamilton Biovet and took place at beautiful Groton House Farm in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Raven traveled by herself to the clinic, and was relaxed and well-behaved throughout. Along with five other horse and rider pairs in the beginner novice group, Raven tackled a wide variety of cross-country questions and was an absolute star. Doug emphasized the importance of straightness and impulsion when riding cross country, explaining that the rider should always feel that the horse is taking them to the jump. Many of the horses in the group where young or inexperienced, and Doug was excellent at encouraging riders to be more proactive and assertive when necessary to get the job done. With Doug’s guidance both the horses and their riders grew much more confident throughout the session, and the group ended up schooling many novice level questions.
Following a warm-up, the group began with the water jump– a first for Raven! Although she was hesitant at first, Raven ended up jumping into and out of the water. Next, the horses practiced a ditch, and then proceeded to jumping up and down banks. By the end, each horse and rider completed a small course of jumps, while Doug and the rest of the group watched and then offered feedback.
Raven improved with each question, and by the end was jumping around smoothly and with confidence. The clinic was exactly what we needed to wrap up the season, with Raven truly beginning to understand and enjoy her new job. Now that she has had a positive introduction to eventing this summer, we look forward to competing her in many more recognized events next year.
Many thanks to Hamilton Biovet and Groton House Farm for hosting such a fun and educational clinic!