I like riding in clinics. Investing in my education is really important to me. I enjoy seeing what another dressage pro does with the raw material I work with every day, having an additional set of eyes to catch the inevitable training holes from working on my own, and getting to meet other like-minded horse folks.
I was helping one of my endurance friends (she rides 100 miles. Seriously. 100 miles is for cars.) at a race, and someone complained about something, I really don’t remember what, and my friend replied “you really don’t have the right to complain until you have organized a race.” I thought that was sage advice, so I try to host at least one clinic a year. Because let me tell you, hosting is very different than riding.
This year, again in partnership with OVCTA, we are hosting Phebe DeVoe, a popular ‘r’ judge and FEI trainer based in MD. I like Phoebe a lot, her positive attitude and fun personality make her great to stable near at shows.
The clinic is this Saturday, and it is full with a waiting list (YEA!) and we expect auditors. So of course, the spring cleaning has commenced. This is also our first major event at our new home, so we want everything to look really spiffy.
Amy and Kelsey have been sweeping, scrubbing, and organizing. Our barn has stalls at the end of the indoor, with overhead hay storage, which Kelsey creatively stacked it into stadium seating. We moved the winter blanket storage to make room for refreshments. I made myself stay inside part of this GORGEOUS week to make a schedule and a program and a blog about the clinic. I took the opportunity to purchase a wireless headset system to the riders can clearly hear Phoebe. I have been prepping my students as to how to prioritize their warm-up, how to stay organized and on time as you get ready, and how to get a tail really, really clean.
So it is now Friday, day before the clinic, and SFD is pretty much ready. All we have left to do is the final arena footing prep and make the order-of-event sheet for the staff (yea, I’m anal like that). And post a blog and constant contact. And make sure Phoebe and the auditors lunch is picked up. And ride. Oh yea, ride.
I actually get a bit more nervous for clinics than I do for competition – clinicians evaluate my training process, judges judge the finished product. The “finished product” includes factors the horse brought with it when they arrived in training – genetics, previous training, inherent crookedness, etc. so I feel like I am responsible for about 50% of the score. But the training process? That’s all on me.
This time, my barn organization and stable management are also on display, an additional stress absent from clinics I trailer out to.
At this point, 24-hours from start time, my attitude towards clinic organizers is one of amazement. How do they do this if they work a full-time job and don’t have an Amazing Amy or a Kick-butt Kelsey to help? I am suddenly quite patient that the ride times aren’t available until the week of the clinic and that the parking isn’t clearly marked.
So my friend was right, organizing a clinic does cure all complaints.
Let the rides begin!