The first afternoon of educational seminars at EDAP I missed. I got an exclusive tour of Rick Silva’s facility. It was amazing. After some debate (and a bit nerve wrecking sort of riding interview) I was paired up with the beautiful Renoir. I caught back up with the group in time for a tour of a private quarantine facility for CEM. CEM is a venereal disease in horses that can cause still births in mares among other complications. The facility explained in detail the very specific testing that is done on site. It was interesting to realize that they didn’t have to quarantine geldings for obvious reasons; but because mares and stallions have a long quarantine period they could be out of training for a period long enough to affect their performance. Therefore, they provide arenas and other facilities needed to keep in training while in quarantine. The training however is strictly scheduled so that a representative is present at all times to guarantee the quarantine. We even had to wash the bottoms of our feet when entering the facility.
Day two dawned with great optimism. I would get to ride Renoir for Robert Dover today. I wasn’t as nervous perhaps as some of the girls who hadn’t come last year. I had gotten to know Mr. Dover and even had done a live interview on his radio show last year. I went into my lesson though with a particular objective. Renoir was trained by a man and last ridden by a male young rider. I was concerned as most of us women riders are that his style would be one that would require more strength than my little 101 pound 5’8’ frame could manage. So I brought this question to Robert. I mean every participant was a young girl. Many of us want to be trainers someday. This would be something we all faced. How do I get on an unknown horse, and ride him my way. How do I get on and ride a horse in a light and supple frame uphill and forward without the power he was used to.
Robert responded to my request by saying that is his job! “He takes other people’s horses, jumps on and in five minutes has to ride them and make them look better than their owner’s.” So I guess I asked a valid question. Well we went right to work. Robert focused on visualizing what frame and picture of myself with the horse I wanted. “You have to see it and believe it to make it happen,” he reiterated often in my lesson. By the end of the lesson Renoir felt lighter, was in a nice uphill frame and we did some 2,3, and 4 tempes on the diagonal. The one’s I miscounted so I blew that. I never thought counting was so hard until tempes.