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The Delights of Being a Clinician ~ Spain and Portugal

Over the years Paul and I have enjoyed giving many clinics and the abilities of horse and rider that we train varies greatly. While we are generally sought after for clinics in the U.S.A, primarily in the North East, South Carolina and in Florida, we tremendously enjoy giving clinics abroad despite the difficulties of the language barrier.

As many of you know we work with FEI coach Greta Kemmer in Switzerland from time to time. Thankfully Greta helps us out with the joys of trying to speak German by providing some translation on our behalf. This has made our FEI4ontheFloor clinics, held in Bedford, NY and Lausanne, Switzerland, a great deal of fun. She translates for us in Switzerland and we translate for her in the U.S.A..We have been hosted at two elite yards in Germany over the past several years, and for those occasions a professional translator has been provided. This however has not worked so well. The translator was not familiar with horses at all! So when we used 'termino…
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The Iberian Experience ~ What Fun!

As many of you know I make regular trips to Europe to work with my FEI coach Greta Kemmer in Switzerland, visit England to see family and to work with some other noted names in the dressage world, and visit Portugal and Spain from time to time. I consider myself truly blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy these travels and to broaden my equestrian education and life experiences.

A month ago I was thrilled to take another trip to Portugal and Spain with hubbie Paul, for multiple reasons. We were honored to be invited to give two clinics. One in the Sevilla region in Spain, and another in Portugal. We also had a super visit with family in The Algarve, and searched far and wide in both Andalusia, Spain and Portugal for horses for students. A search that was most successful and included a visit with the head of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, Antonio Borba Monteiro at his farm in Lisbon. 

This farm is the where Nuno Oliveira began his apprenticeship in his magnificent career, an…

Clinician Woes

Paul and I are experienced dressage clinicians and it is always difficult to figure out just what is the right number of rides to make a clinic viable.

In the past few years we have tried very hard to keep the fee schedule the same for our clinic hosts and our rate schedule has been based on a rather old fashioned method of price per ride with a minimum number of rides needed per day to make our trip and time worthwhile. We allow the host barn to add to our fees so they can make money too and often allow the barn to keep the auditor fees.

I was chatting with a high profile Olympic dressage rider who was giving a clinic in our WVH Ride with an Olympian series recently and we were discussing the dilemma. You want to be approachable for riders of all ages and levels and want to keep your prices fair for the experience you have to share. It was pointed out to me that working on a per ride basis with minimums does not incentivize the hosting barn to promote or push the clinic experience beyo…

Ride With A Plan ~ Do Your Homework

It amazes me that many riders don't set goals and make short and long term plans when setting up their horse training sessions and show schedules. And they don't do their homework between lessons.

There certainly is a such a thing as too much horse show time. The show season can be extremely stressful to your horse. Between the change in location, footing, turnout, water, company, noise, trailering and the hard work you will demand of him it is not too smart to just show and show til there is nowhere to go.

There is also such a thing as too much schooling time. It is not just about how often you school though regularity is important. It is about how wisely you use the time.

As a dressage clinician I see many good hearted and well meaning riders that arrive at the clinic expecting some sort of miracle. Generally we ( my husband Paul is also a Grand Prix dressage trainer), do manage to give every participant at least one 'ah ha' moment. When you school your horse, every tim…

Making a Finished Dressage Horse Part 2 Video Teach In

There was a hiatus over the summer with the training of our young mare,  Gambol's Middernacht aka Midi due to various issues such as busy times with haymaking and giving clinics, plus Paul's shoulder injury which sidelined lots of plans. However, on a good note, hubbie's shoulder is on the mend after a few injections. Last week we were able to enter Midi into our full training schedule and she has had six sessions in eight days.

If you would like to follow along with our video training program please subscribe to our You Tube channel to receive updates as they are posted.

There are six sessions to view and the progress Midi has made has been awesome. Please note you need to click on the You Tube link to view.

Session 1 on 11/13 was actually filmed as we were showcasing Midi to a prospective purchaser. Midi was very tense about the 'intruders' especially as the gentleman was a very tall person who she seemed a bi…

How Did You Do This Show Season?

For me the close of summer heralds an end to a busy coaching season in the North East and like most clinicians the Fall months will keep me extra busy as riders recover from their exhibitions in the arena and come back to full schooling mode. 

A select few students have qualified for the National championships, others are wrapping up their season at Dressage at Devon. For the majority of competitors the expenses of the show season hang heavily on the annual budget but the barn is bright with ribbons of a variety of colors demonstrating to all their sojourn into the world of the sport of dressage.

If the show season did not go as well as you had hoped this is a great time to reflect and take stock of a few key ingredients that you may have been missing in your quest for success.

Here is a list of thoughts to consider before you trot down the center line again.

Did I prepare my horse properly for the task I set? Most importantly was he 100 % sound? Was he 100% fit and prepared for the tests…

Making a Finished Dressage Horse: Part I

We have started many horses over the years at Willowview Hill Farm. Naturally much thought and planning goes into every horse we produce. Which stallion to choose? Which vet to trust? The delight of the moment of birth and imprint training that follows is truly wonderful.

Then the weaning, the years of daily handling, new introductions to everything a horse should know and confidently manage and then when the time is right, longe work and backing.

Here is a video of how we start our youngsters to train to the saddle. This video is of our Gambol's Middernacht WVH. You will hear some deep outward breaths from behind the camera, which Midi hears and do relax her. I am teaching her to trust me as a 2nd ground person, so when she is mounted for riding she still has a person on the floor to look toward for help. The point in the video where Paul says, " Now you've seen it," is Midi noticing the banner on the side wall. She had previously been frightened by the indoor light…