Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Advanced Clinic

Advanced Clinic in Wyoming
If you know Ted at all you know he is always excited about learning and increasing his own skills. Thus he was super excited to be able to participate in this clinic!
This was a private clinic hosted by Robin and Dennis Harris at their beautiful property in Jackson, Wyoming this July and taught by Clinton Anderson Certified Professional Clinician Brittany Huff.   
I guess you should never be surprised when things don’t go as planned; it seems to be a bit of a pattern in life actually! Originally we had planned to take Karen Bumgarner's horse Brass along on our little jaunt to Wyoming. Ted had been preparing Brass for advanced work since our return from the Fundamentals Clinic in Texas. Brass has had intermittent soundness issues over the last year (as he recovers from years of nutritional neglect as well as what Pete Ramey (equine hoof expert his website is  calls LOF [lack of farrier] disease). When another instance of unexpected, mysterious lameness suddenly manifested itself just two days before we planned to head to the advanced clinic we both thought that we should reconsider taking Brass to Wyoming.  The lameness vanished almost as quickly as it appeared.  Karen was fairly confident that Brass’ issue that weekend was muscular and that it would likely not be a risk to Brass to take him to the clinic. Neither Ted nor I were comfortable with taking any risk whatsoever that there might be harm caused to Brass, and so in spite of Karen’s generosity we made the decision to proceed to the clinic without a horse in tow. This was a big disappointment for Ted who had been looking forward to this clinic all summer. I called Robin and explained what had happened and that unfortunately, we would not be bringing a horse with us so Ted would be observing only. Robin however insisted that Ted would have a mount for the clinic if she could make it happen. Twenty minutes later she called me back to tell me that Rio (a three year old gelding of the Harris’) would be available for Ted for the week! We had met Rio in Texas as Robin and Dennis' daughter Dusty had taken him as her horse for the Fundamentals Clinic this spring. Meanwhile Dennis had taken Rio through the Intermediate level of the Method (just as Ted was doing with Brass here!) so Rio was prepared to begin advanced level and was a perfect horse for Ted to work with at the clinic.  

Ted and I then decided to leave a day earlier than originally planned for Ted to have a chance to work with Rio a little bit before the official beginning of the clinic. So we spent our eighteenth wedding anniversary en route to Jackson! It was a very pleasant little drive in our Honda (in sharp contrast to a long unpleasant drive to Texas this spring!). The setting for the clinic was almost surreal; I have never been anyplace so beautiful before. Dennis and Robin were wonderful gracious hosts who made this Advanced level clinic possible for everyone. They have made their own home a lovely display of their personal artistry and craftsmanship; that added to the delightful scenery all around us made for a breathtaking week. I originally planned to watch each day of the clinic, learning what I could by watching, listening and taking notes. Of course I also planned to be taking a lot of pictures (as usual!). I definitely took a lot more pictures of the amazing surroundings then I did of the clinic! There were two different horses available for me to ride out into what we referred to as Robin and Dennis’ backyard (the back property gate goes straight onto National Forest Service property).  It was so beautiful and I absolutely loved the opportunity to simply mount up and head out to enjoy it! As a direct result I have less pictures of the clinic than I originally planned to have. The downside is that I learned very little from observing the clinic because I did not spend a lot of time observing!  Everything was a pleasure; the surroundings; the companions; the beautiful scenery; and for Ted the added pleasure of working alongside a like minded group of horsemen all focused on taking their horsemanship to a higher level. Ted enjoyed being able to work with Rio at the clinic, Rio was much better suited to the execution of the advanced maneuvers than Brass simply due to his conformation type. Ted said  his best takeaway piece of knowledge was how to put all the parts of a collected rollback together and perform it. 

Like the clinic in Texas; one of the best things about this one was the people there! Ted was one of four people invited by Robin and Dennis to participate in the five day lesson taught by Brittany. The amazing thing is we just met Dennis and Robin in Texas this spring; just barely in time for Ted to be able to participate in the only Advanced Clinic (which was technically a five day private lesson) that any of the Downunder Certified Clinicians have ever put on.We both are so thankful for having had this once in a lifetime experience! Like everyone else, we have our challenges in life but we have certainly been blessed by the people we keep meeting on our horsemanship journey!
This view is the beginning of almost every ride I went on! I love this photo!

This picture was taken from almost the same location as the previous photo only facing back towards the arena.
Some more pictures from my personal time on this trip follow. They are just scenes from my recreational rides out while Ted and the other participants worked on the Advanced exercises!

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