Monday, April 4, 2016

A Good, Horsey Weekend

I did something this weekend that I haven't done in ten years.  And before that, about fourteen years previous, was my first exposure to the concept.

I audited a dressage clinic.

Actually this was a symposium, meaning the first half of the day was discussion on riding theory, held in a classroom, and the second half of the day was the part with the actual riding.  So truthfully, this was the first symposium I've been to.  The other two times were clinics, where riding was done all day and there were no separate theory classes.

Anyway, it was wonderful.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Took pages and pages and pages of notes during theory, and a couple more pages while watching the riders and listening to the clinician teach them specifically.

It was held at Albion College and the clinician was Charles de Kunffy.  Not sure how many non-dressage horse people (heck, even how many dressage people under forty) know that name.  He's very old school.  Which is part of why I totally loved listening to him and watching him teach.  I'm pretty old school in my riding.

I could go on and on about the things he said, but then this blog post would be gushing over things most readers aren't interested in and probably wouldn't understand.  Let's just suffice it to say he teaches with a lot of humor and is easy to relate to. Never mind that he was born into European nobility pre-WWII, and I was born into working class people in Michigan in 1971; his words and word pictures had no age or status gap.  So much wisdom to impart.

instructing a rider

Any serious riders, dressage or otherwise, I would highly recommend attending a clinic or symposium with him if you get the chance.  Although if you live in a northern climate, the chances might be few and far between.  We had a cold spell over the weekend, with snow on Saturday, and he made a comment about how he preferred to only teach in climates "where bananas ripen".  If I hear of him coming this far again, I will definitely be in attendance!

view on my drive home;
bananas definitely don't ripen here.

Sunday continued my horsey weekend goodness.  I worked the Quarter Horse, and then, by chance, met a lady who runs a dressage barn about 15 miles away from this little place here.  She inquired about some hay I have for sale, and ended up coming to purchase an amount of it that evening.  Small talk while throwing bales from my barn loft into her truck bed turned up a few names that we both knew, some common denominators (she once trained at a barn I boarded at, decades before I boarded there under different owners) and similar horse-related experiences. We seemed to hit it off pretty well, and I might possibly be taking a riding lesson (or more than one) from her in the future since I am desiring a dressage instructor to touch base with now and then.

All in all, I'd say it was one of the best horse related weekends I've had in a long, long time.  Not to dis my family, they are great and I love them all.  But not one of them can carry on an intelligent conversation when it comes to horses, let alone about dressage.  Sometimes you just gotta hang out with people like you.  You know what I mean?

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