The 4th annual Robert Dover Horsemastership clinic finished yesterday and I wish it would have gone on and on. Just glancing over my notes and the videos from the last week, I have so much to tell you. I do not know where to begin. I will post my lesson videos on Youtube by this weekend. I will then post the links on FB. The other riders are also posting their videos so watch out for that. All levels of trainers and riders should take a look there will be lots of great info. The overall theme I carried through all my lessons was how to make the movements impressive. We tweeked on how to keep impulsion and the wow factor in movements like the 2’s and canter zig-zag. My favorite event of the week again was social night and not because it is less work than the 7 am workouts with Mike! I love getting to spend time with all the girls being goofy and getting to know each other. We went roller skating and if you check out the little clip on FB and you listen to the hilarious laughter in the background you can tell it was a blast. Getting to know them outside of competitions and the barn is so important to me. We even had Hannah one of the other participants end up staying the last few nights with us when her mom had to leave early. What a blast just getting ready for the HGF party together. She sure can do big 80’s hair well! I love learning quirky things about my fellow riders. For example, I found out Rosie is just as much a lover of avocados and yogurt as I am (not together of course). I really got to spend time with Molly and Rachel this year and I hope that over time it will grow into deep friendships.
My biggest take away all week was being pushed to face my fears of riding the edge, of not riding conservatively and risking losing control. So when Robert Dover mentioned Monday that on Wednesday they were holding the first audition for American Equestrians got talent; I sort of got signed up to audition. Some of you may have heard that I sing but few people have ever heard me sing. I don’t like singing in public even with family. I can’t even read music but I thought if they want me to face my fears and take a step outside my comfort zone, this is as far as I can get. If I could overcome this fear and stand in front of strangers and sing; I can do anything. So I let Robert know I was going to audition and my song would be an Etta James song titled, “At last.” It was the first of nine auditions and there were a few baubles on the technology so all the singers had vocals to the tracts but it was ok. While waiting for the auditions to start I just keep thinking I didn’t want to be first. Just my luck, I was first. My heart started pounding out of my chest. I have never ever been that nervous in my whole life about anything. Not only were there lots of people there, but in the crowd was Lendon Gray, Debbie McDonald, Robert, Charlotte, Sabine and a few young riders I knew. What was I thinking? So I took a deep breath and just closed my eyes and listened as the music started. I took a breath and said to myself, “don’t think just sing.” About half way through I got brave open my eyes!
The judges had nice comments for me and the guy said, “don’tact like you don’t own that stage…you belong there.” I then watched the other contestants. I really liked the comedian. He made me really laugh. Anyway at this point I did not care at all about winning. I had done what I set out to do. I had faced my biggest dreaded fear and I had lived with minimal scarring!
After the judges ruling in the tie between the top two popular vote getters I learned that winning meant I had to come back for the final at the GDF on March 15th! What!!! Anyway the lesson that they tried to give me all week really hit home and I realized this morning what they meant. That adrenaline I felt singing was a mix of fear but also of power. I got bigger and stronger not by avoiding the hard stuff but by embracing it! Thanks to all the trainers at the RDHMW for that amazing dressage and life lesson.