Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Dallas, Texas and North Texas Equestrian Center to do a clinic with Danish Paradressage team coach, David Amager.
I had talked myself out of going to this clinic because it was so far away and I was late planning. When I went to Maine, I planned far enough ahead that it was feasible to bring my own pony. However, I was assured that there was a suitable mount available at no extra charge. NTEC is owned and run by the US Chef d’equipe, Kai Handt. He allowed me to borrow his wife’s horse, Giovanni.
Giovanni is a 16.2 hand warmblood, a big change from my 13.2 hand pony! I was definitely out of my comfort zone. day one of the clinic, I could barely walk in a straight line. I also discovered that the other participants borrowing horses had turned up and ridden their mounts the day before. Note to self.
So it felt like a little bit of a useless day. I did realize how much Zoey tolerates me putting more weight in my left stirrup. Giovanni was like “Oh my gosh, what do you want me to do??”
Day 2 was a bit easier. Giovanni has a bouncy trot and I kept losing my left stirrup. One of the other riders let me borrow rubber bands that they use to attach your stirrups to your feet. So that was pretty cool. But this day I realized I could trot through the corners and not tip forward.
Got to watch a bunch of the other riders, it is definitely interesting to see a variety of riders and how they cope with the different challenges they face. Randy and I also went on tour and I got some cute wool Sock Monkey socks.
After both day one and day two, David Amager gave a talk to everyone. He discussed how the Danish Paradressage team is organized and conducts themselves. Definitely a far cry from anything I have seen in driving. We also saw videos of some of the Danish riders, they are amazing!
The final day was much better. We did lots of serpentines and transitions. Giovanni goes much more from leg and seat than Zoey with very light contact. So it was good to feel what it is supposed to feel like. We got to practice some leg yields and a little shoulder in. The second of which, I managed to confuse Giovanni again, but we eventually got a few steps. Giovanni was happy to do whatever I asked as long as I asked properly. Probably the best way to learn. Randy couldn’t keep herself quiet this day and ended up standing with the clinician in the middle of the ring discussing my riding and also translating things to English.
Afterwards, Randy and I made a quick visit to my dad’s and met him for dinner. We stopped at the metal animal store and bought metal yard art. We had to stop at Lowe’s the morning we left to buy a box to put our stuff in to fly back home!
My first ride back on Zoey, it felt like I was riding a spots car, as her tempo is so much faster. Here’s hoping we can use what we learned!