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Notes From the Long Side

CDS JR/YR North Clinic With Stephanie Schauer

Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center

Elk Grove, CA

June 3-4, 2017

The JR/YR Clinic was hosted by Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center in Elk Grove, California. Watching the rides in the morning, I was initially struck by Stephanie’s demeanor with these young riders. She was supportive, encouraging and generous with her praise. Her directions were clear, concise and with purpose. Stephanie exuded enthusiasm with each new rider, providing a good foundation for each one to build their confidence. I heard a lot of “good riding” mixed in with her instruction.

The riders presented a good mix of levels and areas of challenge. Stephanie expertly guided each rider through movements that improved riding skills and brought each rider a little closer to understanding her horse.

I spoke with one rider, Kylia Baker, as she waited for her turn to ride. Kylia was riding her young KWPN gelding, “Guinness,” who was bred and born on Kylia’s family ranch. When I asked what her expectations of the clinic were, she responded, “getting him to go.” We all want “forward,” right?

I like Stephanie’s enthusiasm for young riders. She is so sincere in her efforts to teach them and loves the fact they “all want to learn.” These young riders are the next generation of dressage. I think Stephanie is giving them a great start.

Adult Amateur North Clinic With Hilda Gurney

Pacific Equestrian Center

Wilton, CA

June 9-11, 2017

A legend in her own right, Hilda Gurney rarely fails to draw a large number of attendees to her clinics. She did not disappoint this past weekend at Pacific Equestrian Center. Whether you ride or audit, Hilda is simply an experience that stays with you long after she has left the dressage court. She is history in motion, a dressage icon who has earned great respect among adult amateurs and junior riders alike.

Hilda demands no less from her riders than she does from herself. She is tough, honest and always forthcoming with her instruction and observations. Her criticism is evenly measured and always constructive. Every ride is punctuated with purpose, encouraging both horse and rider to give more. And they do. Her praise is delivered sparingly, but always at just the right moment. From Training Level to PSG, these riders all stepped up to Hilda’s standards and came away with greater knowledge, greater confidence and a little more to add to their foundation. “Good girl.”

The quality of horse and rider teams participating was very impressive. All participants were well prepared and so nicely turned out. Preparing for a clinic is similar to preparing for a show. A well turned out horse and rider team always shine, as each and every one of these participants did.

Auditors had the benefit of watching a great mix of riders and learning from each ride. We may not have the keen eye that Hilda has, but it was great to see the impact of Hilda’s instruction at the end of each ride. A little more balanced, a little more supple, a little more forward. Whatever it was, a little more is always good.

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