Monday, October 18, 2010

Clinic with Edward Gal at KOHS

Kingsland Oslo Horse Show is a yearly event here in Oslo, it is also the first indoor competition in the Rolex FEI world cup in show jumping. This is mainly a showjumping and family show, but there are some dressage classes aswell.

This year they managed to get Edward Gal to have a clinic in the evening on the first day. I attended this clinic and was asked to write a blog about it afterwards, so here goes.

First of all, I think mr Gal is a highly talented rider, he knows what he does and succeeds at it. I just don't like his training methods. You can call it rollkur, LDR or what ever you want, riding hyperflexed does not do the horse any good. You get the "amazing" front leg action, but they also carry a lot more weight than they are supposed to.  I could go on and on, but this post is about the clinic.

The horse mr. Gal brought for the clinic was a 6 (?) year old stallion which he had ridden for 3 months I think it was. It was a beautiful horse and in some ways reminded me of Tootilas, a powerful, black stallion.  Throughout the clinic he talked about changes in tempo, always keep the horse alert and thinking forwards even when you want him to go slower. Change the tempo, not the rythm. Since he rode an unexperienced horse he wanted him to go round, which by his standards means low, deep and round, which he did throughout the clinic. He only talked about 2 aids, legs (spurs) and hands, he has a good seat and uses it correctly but didn't mention it by one word, which i found quite weird.

After showing how to get the horse relaxed and alert by changes in the tempo in all 3 gaits, he started doing more difficult exercises. Like half-pass, canter changes on the diagonal and so on. To me and many others who aren't at that level, showing all these exercises were not so much something to learn from, as showing us how you can train your horse once you are at that level.

In the end of his riding session he actually collapsed somewhat in his seat. I am no one to talk, and we were a bunch of "seat nerds" (if I can call it that) who can find an error on anyone, but its good to see that even the best of the best can struggle with basic stuff.

The second half of the clinic, Edward was instructing the winner of the norwegian championship for junior earlier this year. I thought it was really brave of her to ride for Edward Gal, in front of that many people, but she did fine. She was asked to work with the same excersises he him self worked with on his horse. Especially getting the horse responsive to the aids, this horse was a bit lazy so everytime he was told to go forwards, he did for 3 steps then slowed down. They worked on getting him forward until he was told otherwise. The rider said that the horse was a lot better after the lesson.

A little bit of energy in this one aswell

Edward instructing the norwegian rider, this is at the end of the clinic

In the end i thought the clinic to be ok. I knew about his training methods before going to the clinic, so no surprises there, I just wanted to see how he trained his horses outside the competition arena. And you can say what you want about his training methods, but he is still a really really good rider. I especially like the fact that he uses light aids and that he has a good functional seat.