I went to two different clinics this weekend.
The first clinic was a western dressage clinic. Quite interesting to hear about the differences in tack and attire. There was a lecture by an r judge (I think little r). The fundamentals stressed were similar to regular dressage. They had demo rides of the tests while the judge explained what they were looking for and what we were looking at. There were some astonishingly great movers in that clinic.
The whole atmosphere was laid back. People laughed and clapped, and there was an overall sense of comradery. I was almost a convert by the end. If only I didn’t hate western saddles so much.
It was very well run and I had a lot of fun, even if I did freeze solid.
Oh, did you know bitless is allowed in western dressage? Now my neighbor has no excuse not to try it. Haha
The second clinic I went to was a normal dressage clinic. I had asked the owner a month ago if I could audit. She had sent me “all” the info, but neglected to mention that there was a cost to audit. They approached me two rides in and said it was $20 for all day, or $5 per ride. I was already on the hook for $10 by then, so i paid for the whole day. I was a little taken aback by the situation. Nothing posted anywhere. No one by the door. They acted like I snuck in and tried to “steal” something from them. Why is it so difficult for people to post/share this information up front?
The ladies sitting next to me were friendly. The clinician was good. I was freezing. Several riders appeared to have never heard of the idea of moving away from leg pressure. It was interesting to see how the clinician helped the rider and horse without the rider ever needing to actually move the horse off an inside leg aid. Some really nice moving horses. Appeared to be mainly students of the barn owner riding in the clinic.
I got some great ideas for Joy’s training that I think will help her with her tension. A lot of hot, nervous horses in the clinic, which is what I expect joy will be like when I take her somewhere. So hopefully this gives me a few more tools to use.
There was a heavy draft horse working toward flying changes, and it was quite interesting to see how different the horse looked when truly energized and rider controlled the energy. It went from plow horse to more of a second level looking horse in seconds. Quite neat.
During a break, I walked up to the barn owner and clinician and asked if they were going to have any more clinics this year. The barn is near my house and I thought he’d be a great clinician to take Joy to. But when I asked if they would be having another clinic this year all they did was shrug. Literally shrugged. And then they ignored me. So I walked away.
Screw it. I’ll find someone else to ride with.
Maybe these clinics are only for her students. Apparently the details are hush hush, because no one except the Arab people sitting next to me would talk to me (they didn’t know either).
I found it ironic the difference in atmosphere between the two clinics though. I’m normally the first person trying to sell the “dressage people are friendly! ” speil, but that second clinic sure didn’t feel like it to me. I felt like an interloper who got caught stealing the tip jar or soemthing.