The Young KWPN-NA clinic is now behind me and I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet some amazing young girls and their families. We had such a great time. Shared laughter makes friends faster than anything else I know and it was everywhere over the weekend. It was in the sticky marshmallow grins during the bonfire. It was in the morning sheepish smiles of the girls sleeping in the barn aisle on cots. It was in the satisfied look of every rider when that aha moment hit. The weather was warm and sunny but a cool breeze kept us from getting too hot. The grass was green and the clover so thick you could smell it in the air. I could not have had a more perfect weekend if I tried.
The first day started with my working student Anna riding Angela Thompson's horse and working with me to help make a video for her. It was a great experience for Anna to get to ride a new horse if only for the weekend. This is one of the interesting aspects of the early Robert Dover clinics when people (like me) didn't bring their horses and borrowed horses to ride. Riding multiple horses, and horses that are unknown to you, helps to develop your riding skills in a very important way. Thank you Angela for making this possible.
Each of the girls throughout the day worked on different aspects of their riding. It was fun and challenging to me to get the opportunity to work on each. For lunch we had an informal discussion each day over different topics the girls had indicated in their applications that they were interested in talking about. We discussed show nerves and visualization and other techniques for focusing and handling competitions the first day. The second we talked about balancing school and work and how to create opportunities for additional study. The last day we worked on ideas for getting grants and money for training as well as the benefits of training in Europe. We also touched on their questions about being a working student.
Each evening we also had a social event which made the three day clinic really fun. We roasted smores one night. We watched movies. We went out to dinner at a local joint. We had planned water balloon fights but it got too cold. The food was great and we had way too many desserts like brownie sundaes with caramel sauce. I think we all gained 5 lbs even with the work.
We had indoor stalling and scheduled turnout for all the participants which was a big hit. One great bonus at the barn here is that there are extra tack rooms too and laundry facilities too. So everyone said it was really convenient and well laid out.
To sum it up I had a great time. I worked harder than I remember working. Giving lessons all day for three straight days is tough! I now have way more understanding of the lives of some of my trainers! London and Christine...I do not know how you do this so regularly. It is exhausting. But maybe it is the reward of spreading the dressage bug and growing the base that makes it worth while. I must have liked it because I volunteered to do a pony club clinic next week here! That is on top of taking my two four year olds to a clinic at Andrea Landis' next weekend! It sure hasn't taken long to get really busy up here.
Last thing, good luck to everyone at NAJYRC and Aachen. Thinking of you................