I awakened early Friday morning to make my three hour commute to the airport, leaving for a clinic in Virginia. The temperature was in the 30s for the first time in a few months and the mountains peaks were blanketed with snow. That, and the fact that I was headed across the country to a clinic (my first business trip in eight weeks), were sure signs that my summer break had come to an end. Flashbacks of the first day of school after a wondrous summer came to mind.
I certainly can’t complain—I had a great summer break. A couple weeks on the beach in Kauai, several boating excursions, lots of golfing, walking and hiking and of course, plenty of time to ride my own horse for no other reason that my own personal pleasure. Rich and a had a good summer, but still, I hated to see it end.
But once I was on the road, already my mind was fast-forwarding ahead to the clinic and my other fall trips. When I got to the airport, my guys at the curb check spot I always use were happy to see me (I tip them well) and couldn’t wait to tell me they had seen my TV show. They’ve always treated me very well, pulling my 70# suitcases right out of the truck and taking good care of me. But now, since they saw me on TV, they felt compelled to treat me like a celebrity. This always cracks me up because I certainly don’t think of myself as one, but I don’t mind the extra service!
We had a great clinic in Chesterfield VA, near Richmond. It seems like every clinic has its own theme and this weekend, the theme was youngsters. We had a two year-old, several three year-olds and a couple more under six. It was fun to see the youngsters blossom and it was great to give the owners the information they needed to ensure the success of their young mounts. As usual, there was a variety of breeds, issues and rider’s ability, which makes the clinic fun and interesting for me—as well as for the spectators that are watching. All the riders and horses showed significant progress and I think everyone left with lots of ideas swirling in their heads and definite plans of action. I know sometimes my clinics fall into the category of information-overload and at the end of the weekend, sometimes the riders have a glazed-over, but satisfied look in their eyes. I’d rather err on the side of too much information than to have someone leave my clinic wishing they had gotten more out of it.
As sad as I was in Friday to know that my summer was over, it is exhilarating to get back to work and to meet new horses and their people. I’ll never grow tired of learning from new horses and helping people achieve their goals. My fall will be consumed with clinics, expos, state fairs, horse shows and conferences. Hard work as always but lots of fun too. I am fortunate to have a fun job and to have made a career out of something I am very passionate about. But there have been some tradeoffs—nothing worth having comes easily.
It seemed fitting to end my first week back from summer break sitting in the classroom at Colorado State U with a hundred or so incoming Freshmen. I attended the annual meeting of the CSU Equine Advisory Committee in Fort Collins this week. In order to appreciate the curriculum, we sat in on several classes—equine repro, equine anatomy and intro to equine sciences. It was fun to see the students and professors at work and I always enjoy the other committee members, who are real movers and shakers in the horse industry. Where else can you eat dinner with the leading cloner of horses? That makes for some very interesting dinner conversation!
Next week, with my fall in full swing, I’ll be headed to WA state for three days of clinics at the Central WA State Fair. Looking forward to it!
Enjoy the ride,