Im sitting here listening to the chirping frogs after having taken the dogs for their nightly walk…. so warm outside and I was overdressed in my sweatshirt. One of the nicest, sunny “rainy” days that the weatherman has forecasted all year. And yet it was a mere 4 days ago when I thought that our climate could not have been more of an embarassment!!! How are we supposed to attract more world class horse enthusiasts here to PNW if it keeps flooding in November and January, ice storms in February and snowing in March!?
For the last month, the meterologists have gotten it depressingly right in terms of weather. However, I would have loved for them to be wrong. It has rained/snow/hail/slush a little bit on each day for the last 3 weeks. I cried: how were we supposed to keep our intrepid Australian, come Floridian, warm? Adult Riders organized the clinic, and I think it was John Meriwether’s first attempt at this luminary role. I got a phone call on Thursday morning, a mere 12 hours before the first guests were to arrive, that OMG we had to do something about the weather!! I know this experience has helped him gain confidence in the types of stalwart riders that AR clinics attract, and he might also come away with a new respect for hosting an early season clinic at Polestar. I believe more than one person asked whether they were going to be flooded in. My response: Why not??
But back to the clinic. Scott was a boost for my riding, as he is every single time that I lesson with him. I find his teaching refreshingly straight forward and lacking any bombast and pretension that can come with the role of ‘clinician’. He very clearly told some riders that they are welcome to disregard anything that he tells them this weekend, but does appreciate if they keep an open mind and give it a try for the next two days. Take the bits that work and drop the bits that dont work. For me, there isnt much to drop. I appreciate his little bit of cowboyness, where he is thinking like a horse. Practical advice and very well delivered. But I mostly appreciate his ability to help riders (myself included) jump the most organized courses that they possibly can, with the best skill set available. I have ridden with him over cross country jumps, and I have to say that I get the most from his lessons over the show jumps. I noticed that he rarely ever mentions how the distance to a jump could be better. For some of my amateur students, this is a great thing. There is nothing so frustrating as someone telling you that you were too long to the first two jumps and too short to the next two…. and finding that elusive “spot” becomes ever increasingly obscure to them. The distance is not the most important thing to focus on – he will more often correct pace, position and path before he says anything about the “perfect spot”. And as result, he gets riders riding their horses with relaxation and confidence.
I hope everyone noticed that we got a bewildering photo posted to Eventing Nation of the blizzard on Sunday. Yea us. Way to think that we were unique with our snow storm in March. Only the next hour did they post 6 (SIX!!) photos of Arizona getting several inches of snow. Whatever. As if that is unusual.