Danny Pevsner Clinic

Sue Adams Wheeler, Penny Corbett and I, all long term students of Erik Herbermann, took our horses to a one day clinic with Danny Pevsner, encouraged by Sally Tottle and Margaret Clayton, the organiser. The forecast was miserable and we saw the odd flurry of snow but the welcome was extremely warm and friendly with cups of tea and coffee offered on arrival. We had been warned that Danny did not teach to a strict time schedule so Penny was first on ahead of time while Sue and I watched. Penny’s horse is a TB off the race track which she hunts and rides for pleasure. Danny rode him and insisted that he went in a much more collected frame than Penny was used to but she really enjoyed “the feel” when she got back on. “Gramski” also seemed to enjoy it once he had got used to the idea of using himself and he showed some very nice paces with much improved activity. Danny was more than generous with his time and both Sue and I badgered him with questions which he patiently avoided! He kept throwing the question back at us until, as he said we “had run out of answers” and then he would help us. Some of his ideas on flexing through the poll and jaw were very alien to Erik’s way of teaching but very interesting when seen from an Alexander Technique viewpoint. (Danny is also an Alexander Teacher). We all wished we had more time for discussion but possibly on a warmer day!

Danny rode both Sue’s Lippizaner and my Lusitano, although for one embarrassing moment it looked like Johann was not going to let Danny get on. I guess he knows what these trainers are like! Johann eventually accepted Danny and the mounting block and was put through his paces. Sue has owned Johann for several years but he was quite wrecked when she first saw him. He had been completely soured so she was very pleased that he stayed so positive when put under pressure. Danny gave Sue some very useful tips for riding the shoulder in and his Alexander Training came to the fore as he re positioned her shoulders and pelvis enabling her to ride the movement with much greater ease. He was very impressed with her half pass and transitions.

My own horse was in a very forward mode and looked positively sulky when Danny made him slow to what he thought was a crawl (normal speed for collection). He also didn’t seem very impressed with Danny’s request for flexion but eventually gave in! I felt that we had lost something and gained something when I got on after Danny - lost a bit of “connection” and gained a bit of bend and suppleness. Danny asked for quarters in and shoulder in on a small circle and it made me realise how lazy I had become. 30 metre ovals are so much easier!

I still have lots of questions but we all came home with lots to think about and some very useful ideas to put into practice.

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