[dropcap]A [/dropcap]Pole Work and Show-Jumping Clinic was held at Herbie’s Haven Stables, Ruretse, over the weekend of 23rd, 24th, 25thJanuary, 2016 and was kindly hosted by Mrs Bridget O’Neill. The visiting instructor was Tossy Raynor who was accommodated at Bridget’s home. Bridget also collected her and returned her to the airport. There was no sponsorship from the Horse Society of Botswana for this clinic. The cost of the clinic to the rider was BWP750.00 for three one hour lessons and BWP600.00 for two one hour lessons. All riders wore helmets. The arena was raked each night, watered and prepared by Ardmore Morero and Khumo Rasekedi. Khumo also helped to build the jumps for Tossy on Saturday and Monday and Abraham helped on Sunday. Lessons ran all day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning. There were some overcast spells to cool off conditions a little over the weekend.
Bridget organised this clinic for the benefit of all our Botswana riders to learn from Tossy’s vast amount of knowledge that she has gained over many years of successful riding and instructing. As a small riding community we are extremely lucky to have someone of Tossy’s calibre come to Botswana. She is a first rate instructor who enjoys teaching enthusiastic pupils. She is a dedicated and conscientious rider who is passionate about horses and show-jumping. Tossy is a very patient instructor who builds interesting and technical exercises that are excellent for both horse and rider. Tossy teaches novice to experienced riders with the same calm yet correct attitude giving both horses and riders the confidence that they need. Tossy moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa in 2000 where she made her presence felt with a long list of show-jumping wins in the 1M50 classes. This year Tossy will be jumping her gelding, Story Teller, at a lower height whilst she recovers from back and neck treatment during last year. Her wonderful horse God Father is now twenty-three and has retired at Tossy’s yard in Blue Hills.
Tossy warmed up the horses using the poles on the ground from her grids. She built a series of awesome gymnastic exercises. The first was a pole on boxes, two strides to an upright with picket fence fillers and four strides to a pole on boxes. The second was a pole on boxes four strides to a parallel and four strides to a pole on boxes. This was jumped in both directions. The third was a cross pole, land in canter to an upright one stride to an upright and two strides to a parallel. There were poles on the ground to guide the horses out of the exercise in a straight line. Between the last upright and the parallel of this exercise, another exercise of two bounces was built across the track with one stride in between. The fourth exercise was four bounces in a straight line. The fifth exercise was four canter poles on the ground on a half circle. The sixth exercise was a double combination of a parallel and one stride to an upright. Tossy placed a pole on the ground to the side of the two uprights in the third gymnastic exercise and a variety of exercises could be jumped using it. One exercise was to start on the left rein, jump the four canter poles on the ground, land left and in eight strides jump the pole on the ground, land right and in six strides to the pole on boxes at the end of the second gymnastic line, land right and around to the bounces across the track of the third gymnastic line, land left and in six strides to the four bounces in a line and go straight and halt. Tossy also put a pole on the ground opposite the four canter poles on the ground to complete a circle.
For the third lesson Tossy incorporated some of her gymnastic lines and built a technical course of jumps. The course started in trot on the left rein to the third gymnastic line of a pole on the ground to a cross-pole, land in canter and on in one stride to an upright of green boxes, straight on in four strides to a parallel, land right and around to the original bounces built as a pole on boxes and one stride to a parallel with a picket fence filler, land left and seven strides on a left curve to an upright with a gate filler, straight on and turn back to the second gymnastic line of a pole on boxes, four strides to a parallel, four strides to a pole on boxes, land right and eight strides to a pole on boxes, two strides to an upright, on a right curve in six strides to a double combination of a parallel and one stride to an upright, land right and around to a pole on boxes, two strides to a parallel and through the finish on a left rein. For the riders who did not wish to jump, Tossy built a course of jumps from poles on the ground which included a line of trotting poles.
Thank you to those enthusiastic riders who travelled from other yards to reach Herbie’s Haven for this clinic. Your efforts are always appreciated. Thank you to Paula Burrowes, Julie Moss, Joan Ryan and Adele Jooste who travelled their horses within Ruretse.
Text: Sarah Ward