Thursday, August 22, 2013

You Never Know What You'll Find

When you can't ride because either you are temporarily horseless, or your partner is still on the injured/lame list you often find yourself attending clinics. Because if you can't ride the next best thing is to either help those who can or watch them.

An eventing friend had posted on Facebook about an upcoming clinic with a Grand Prix dressage rider. I'd never heard of this particular rider but he was giving the clinic at a farm literally around the corner from my house with the added bonus that it was at the farm belonging to the dressage instructor that my friend took lessons from and that I had been looking at taking lessons from when I get a new horse. So wanting to kill two birds with one stone I decided to go.

The farm was lovely and had a unique barn layout that I hadn't seen before. It was two small center aisle barns connected by a breezeway.  Interesting.  Not only did the owner have a beautiful dressage arena complete with footing and mirrors but there were the most adorable donkeys hanging out with the pastured horses nearby. On top of that the owner cooked mini-quiches for the riders and auditors.  Yes we like this woman!

All the riders were great, and I really enjoyed seeing my friend's new young horse Teddy whom I had heard about but hadn't seen.  Teddy is an OTTB who had a rough time of it because he was extremely slow, and thus got the short stick on everything including meals.  My friend said that he'd gained at least 300 lbs in the six or so months she's had him.  Knowing that its a little scary to think about what he'd looked like when she got him.  He has the typical greyhound look, a lovely head, and lovely if not extravagent gaits.  When he gains more strength and muscle he'll definitely pick up points in the dressage. His issue right now is that he's four and still all leg so he's trying to figure out where to put everything when asked to move out.

The clinician Alex Robertson was kind, insightful, and knowledgeable. Plus he and the farm owner both, contrary to most of the straight dressage riders I've known showed a definite love for the OTTB.  I didn't learn as much as I would have liked, but this wasn't for a lack of trying. I learn by doing most of the time, so its hard for me to watch and get a complete understanding of how to X to get Y.  The other part of it was that I met a new friend.

Another friend of Kate's who can't ride due to a horrible hand/arm injury she got a few months ago came to the clinic as well.  As we got to talking I realized that I'd read her story about how she got her injury on COTH.  Let me tell you I thought my ankle injury was bad,  A's injury was fifty times worse. So bad I couldn't read the entire story because it was just too hard and I didn't want the images in my head.

But we talked horses and OTTB's, and pretty much just clicked.  So it goes to show you that you never know what you'll find at a clinic.  As a parting note I am an amateur photographer and took some great shots I'm going to share.

Keep it between the flags everyone.


  1. Wonderful pictures! Sounds like it was a good clinic overall :)

  2. Hi - I saw your comment over at We Are Flying Solo and figured we must be neighbors almost. I'm down east on the Outer Banks, and used to come to Suffolk for dressage lessons until my trainer moved out of state. Looking forward to catching up reading your blog. :D

  3. C.F.S. yes, I live about hmm hour or so from Nags Head in Chesapeake. My eventing trainer also moved out of state this past fall so I know how it goes trying to find someone else you connect with. I'll have to check out your blog now too.