Laine Ashker Clinic: Day 1

This weekend was interesting to say the least. I went into the weekend very nervous. I haven’t had consistent lessons in months. My confidence has been a bit out of whack and the only spot in the clinic available was in the training group. Cue panic mode! The host trainer and Lainey discussed based on what I shared about what we do at home and the fact that we only ran our first novice in October. Luckily the exercises could be adjusted for her level of training and so it was game on!

Big shout out to the host of this clinic Shady Oak Farm for the lovely facility and Lainey  for her time!

Going into the ring I wasn’t sure what to expect. Lainey knew the others in my group so she spent a few extra minutes talking with me about Annie and then it was go time. Right of the get go we went into a grid that made me want to throw up. This was truly a mental thing for me though and was a non issue mentally after attempt 1.

I really got a lot out of it and was able to focus on keeping balanced upwards so that we could go through the poles with a nice jump out over the oxer. Lainey made a point to emphasize that if you go to a jump in a heap you will most certainly land in one as well so she spent most of her time coaching me to correct my position so that I could stay out of Annie’s way and not work against myself. LA1I think that the video of highlights captures it best since you can kind of see how the session progressed and the pieces that were put together. Essentially the full session strung the grid (vertical to an oxer with 4 approx. 9′ cavaletti canter poles between) – left turn around the arena – to the half circle of death – to the triple oxer line – roll back to go off the right through the angled jumps AKA MY DEATH. The vertical to the Liverpool/ water tray to the chevron skinny was in there as well but in different positions depending on horse and rider.

I think it is funny how going into it I was sure that we wouldn’t be able to complete the exercises. I was so sure it would lead to imminent death. Spoiler alert: I am a drama llama and we did fine. I won’t say that it was all butterflies and unicorns but I have a seriously talented little horse that really wants to do the right thing. It is a lot of pressure for a baby horse to carry a fraidy cat like me around. She could also use some confidence for new exercises so I need to step up!I need to focus on a being correct and upright (#sitbackordie) with my seat and shoulders. If I do this I can maintain a steady position and recover more quickly after fences. When I did this Annie got to shine. When I didn’t the wheels kind of fell off the bus. Note to self – flinging ones body over jumps in a free willy-esque level of grace is probably not the answer if the idea is to avoid a belly flop. If I can tackle my position problems I know that the sky is the limit for this little mare.

This clinic was incredibly difficult but so worth the sweat and tears. I loved Laine’s teaching style. She knew just when to push to get us to be our best but also understood the fragile ammie brain. Right when I was about to break she knew just what to say to get my nerve back and recover. Lainey didn’t belittle us when we struggled with concepts or fear but it wasn’t a walk in the park. And honestly it shouldn’t be! If I am paying $$$ for this time I want to get the most I can out of it. Day 2/course work and it did not disappoint! Stay tuned!

P.S. Having awesome blogger friends to meet up with at super cool events like clinics and horse shows rocks! Lauren from Gray Horse Problems and her awesome husband are super fun. I am so grateful for all of the media made possible by Eric!  Thank you guys for being great friends and support for my GA adventures thus far! 🙂

You may also like


  1. Ummm hello, you bad ass pair of ladies!!!!! Such great footage and you can totally see the progression. And that chevron!!! Wow. No doubt the sky is the only limit.

  2. I’m so glad you had a great time at the clinic, Annie looks amazing! That was pretty much my experience with Lainey as well: REALLY tough but REALLY worth it!

    1. Definitely. She pushed me and asked for way more than I usually push for and I loved her for it. It opened my eyes about how much we can really do if I really buckled down.

  3. I fear pretty much everything much of the time, but I LOVE a good grid! This looks like fun! You guys look great, and it sounds like you got a lot out of the experience. Can’t want to read about day 2!

  4. It sounds AWESOME! And you can really see you and Annie progress during the video. I liked Lainey’s reminders of “you’re going to halt her”, seems like a good analogy. And it seems like it really helped get Annie thinking about not just blasting through that grid like her tail was on fire.

  5. nice job! those exercises look intense and i totally relate 100% with the feelings of nervousness going into the ride. you guys look awesome tho and it looks like Annie is trying her heart out and super enthusiastic about everything!

  6. I’m glad you were able to go to the clinic and realize you got nothing to throw up about har har. 🙂 Seriously Annie is such a good girl and a trier, I feel like if you meet her halfway she’s totally there for you and has your back!