I’ve been running all over the country with a horsemanship clinic in Massachusetts last weekend and a lecture in Denver Monday night. Both events were well-attended and very successful! If this economy is slowing down horse people, I’ve yet to see it.
We had a full house at my first clinic of the year in the Berkshire mountains. It’s a beautiful part of the country, although it’s hard for me to think of them as mountains. Something about being surrounded by 14,000’ peaks at home makes me think of them as foothills. The Berkshire Equestrian Center is a beautiful indoor facility and a perfect spot for a clinic. http://berkshireequestriancenter.com/ . there’s a lovely country inn on the property with exquisite accommodations and gourmet breakfast. Some of the clinic participants stayed there with me and it was fun to spend some casual time with them at dinner and breakfast. http://www.innatrichmond.com/
We had a house full of spectators to watch 15 horses and riders and there was a lot to see! Most of the horses were pretty fresh, after not being ridden much over the winter. But by the end of the clinic, they were all perfect angels! We had an abundance of “witchy” mares (spell that with a B) who had never learned the rules about riding in a group—absolutely no herd behaviors or gestures allowed. No kicking, no biting, no pinning ears or threatening other horses in anyway. This is a fundamental rule that all horses should learn at the youngest age. I’ve written about this in my blog before and we’ve even done a TV show on it. It is a really important protocol because it relates to human safety.
Quite a few horses really benefitted from the ground work during the clinic and learning to control their tempers and impulsiveness. And as always, the riders made great progress in improving their riding and gaining better control of their horses. It was a great weekend and although I was thoroughly exhausted by Sunday night, I really had fun. I look forward to going back to BEC in August. That clinic will be full soon so if you have plans to register, do it right away.
On my way home on Monday, I made a detour to Brighton CO (just north of Denver) to one of our best tack store in the state, Brighton Saddlery http://brightonsaddlery.com/ . It was their annual Horse Owner’s Workshop, a free event sponsored by Purina, and I did a talk on horse behavior, my favorite subject, to a packed house. The Power Point presentation, called “A Part of the Herd,” was complete with incredible photography by Heidi Nyland http://wholepicture.org/ and video clips from Horse Master. I had fun and I think the audience enjoyed the presentation as well as the incredible food that was served.
This weekend I head to Lincoln Nebraska for the NE Horse Expo—Sunday only. I’ll be filling in for my friend Ken McNabb so he can go to the Road to the Horse to cheer on his mentor, John Lyons. I am sad to be missing the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this year, for the first time since it began over 15 years ago. But maybe I’ll be back next year.
My next horsemanship clinic is near Topeka, Kansas, April 18-19, and I am looking forward to it being every bit as successful as the MA clinic. Maybe by then the horses won’t be quite as fresh. It’s fun to be able to work with horses and riders individually, like I can at clinics, to help them resolve their individual issues and progress. There’s still room in many clinics, so I hope I’ll see you and your horse at one!
Enjoy the ride!