The Saturday (27th) after Jingle's Birthday, Myself, Sarah, Laura and Brigitte headed up to Red Deer to partake in the "Mane Event", a massive event of clinics held by world famous clinicians and a tradeshow filled with everything horse-related you could ever want.
We stopped on the road and got a delicious breakfast at Humpties. Did you know Humpties offers a side of perogies with their breakfast food? uhm. yum.
The first clinician we caught was what many would refer to as the king of jumping, George Morris.
He did not disappoint, his one-liners are incredible... I will list some here... Hopefully some of you have seen videos or seen GM live because then you can imagine his very strange accent.
GM talked a lot about keeping your hands high if your horse has a tendency to be a "stargazer"
"What is a stargazer, you as me? Well obviously a horse that is constantly looking at the stars..."
The first part of the clinic was flatwork, and he made the riders oscillate their elbows at the walk and canter, but keep their elbows more rigid at the trot. There was a lot of screaming, "OSCILLATE DAMNIT, OSCILLATE"
"I love driving you crazy, I am very expert at that" - GM
He also got on one of the riders horses, he was quite impressed with the big warmblood and even refused to give the horse back, saying, "People pay me for this, [riding a horse], i'm keeping him, you stay on the ground and watch."
He picked on one rider in particular, a girl on a massive black warmblood, who was particularly chargey and bracey in his flatwork, but an astounding jumper. At first he told her she "looked like a bleating sheep" and after a nice round when the audience attempted to clap, he yelled "DO NOT CLAP, we do not clap for disasters." At the end of the clinic he admitted she was "the most improved, but we still will not be clapping for improvement today." Ouch, GM.
He was particularly annoyed with his jump girls, telling them "don't practice being dumb" and telling the crowd "I like them, but they are useless." Finally, with a laboured sigh he expressed "Modern youth, helpless creatures" On the topic of ladies he told the female riders, "I like you ladies but i'm suspicious of you..." and then finished with, "not Beezie though, never Beezie." Apparently, in a day of the life with GM, dropping Beezie Madden's name is a very casual thing.
To a male rider he said, "You are a disaster, but a baby... don't take it personally."
To another rider he exclaimed, "If you don't break your ankle with too long of stirrups, I will break it for you. Atleast you have a choice in the matter."
Of course, he was full of wisdom, even stuff a little 'ol western rider like me can bring to my riding. If you pick up contact, raise your hands, as you lower your hands release. Riding, and asking for contact should be a constant push and pull of hands and contact. For my jumper readers he had them jumping interesting lines to keep the horses alert, aware and ready for anything that different shows could throw at them. He would have them jump a line and then immediately turn their horses in the fence, he said this would establish a good stop anywhere on the course. Finally, he had them jump the jump in the above photo (which isn't the best photo, I know - sorry!) it was angled with two separate bushes so that the horse had to take off a stride before the jump, quite a few of them got caught up on this jump proving GM's point that you have to keep it fresh!
As George Morris would say... NEXT!
Next up was Steve Roth whose clinic was on overcoming difficult trail obstacles. The two girls that were riding with him during the clinic that I saw were not exactly having "difficulty" with obstacles, which should make for a boring clinic. However, Steve Roth is 1 part clinician, 1 part showman-comedian, holy heck the man is funny!
The horse Steve was using was named Professor, an absolutely ADORABLE liver chestnut that I fell pretty hard for. He brings along two horses - one a seasoned show horse and a younger, more inexperienced horse to the world of clinics and shows, so that he can better demonstrate issues on his own mount. This photo is him explaining how to get a horse over an obstacle they don't want too - make the horse rather be on the obstacle than on the ground by constantly moving their feet.
Steve had a really holistic approach to training a horse, and the fact that he is funny as heck didn't hurt.
Here is Steve at the end of the night, during the "Equine Experience" demonstrating different riding disciplines (seriously funny) and his own horses skill on his seasoned show horse, Shiner.
It was a long day, and Brigitte got a little sleepy while watching on of the "Trainer's Challenge" trainers, who kept clucking to his horse.. over.. and.. over... and.. over.. and... zzzzzzzzzzzz
It's hard to fit everything in, but we got the chance to watch Wylene Davis, one of the trainers taking part in the "Trainer's Challenge" twice, and let me tell you - that woman is drop.dead.amazing. I became overly obsessed with her. The filly she drew for the challenge was quite flighty and sensitive, not to mention a little pushy and lacking of respect. Wylene had some interesting techniques, she is a proponent of lying a horse down (a pretty controversial technique), but she never ended up laying this particular filly down. She also tied the horses rein to her tail to get her to independently learn to bend, but also soften at the tail, which was an interesting technique i'd never seen before.
When she eventually got on the filly, it was a total show - the filly bucked and reared multiple times and Wylene cowgirl'd her... hard. It was amazing to watch this beautiful blonde lady, all made up and glitzy (her chaps were cheetah print) riding a bronc like a serious bronc buster. She had my vote!
Unfortunately, we were informed by friends that the next day, at the Trainer's Challenge finale, where the trainer's have to ride their horses around a large arena with different obstacles, at different gaits, Wylene had a hard time getting her sensitive pick to respond, and ended up not winning. Too bad, girl is pretty awesome. I got all girl-power about her, I must admit, felt like I was a kid watching the Spice Girl's again! :)
Here is the crew's boots, Brigitte, Sarah, Laura and Myself! Darn those stupid benches hurt... ugh.
Not to be topped by the clinics, we got some wicked stuff at the tradeshow.
This was a chandelier that I fell in love with... I didn't bring it home, but check out the concho details on the sides - LOVED that idea. The Mane Event was FULL of drop-dead gorgeous western decor.
We stopped at the Western Horse Review booth where I picked up a Barbara Schultz video of cutting, and then we found out they were offering a show special of a three year subscription for $75, and you get a free pair of SMB's! Of course we did that, especially since i'm already subscribed to the magazine, and now Jingle has a new pair of white SMB's ;)
Finally, the shocker of the tradeshow, earlier in the day we had stopped at this booth and saw this Peppermint Equine Leg & Muscle rub. Originally the company had started out with humans, and made this lotion which is much more potent for horses. My friend decided to buy it for herself, and I thought she was a bit nutty... then I tried it on my sore back. Oh.my.lanta. I had to get some. It is amazing, I put it on after a grueling lesson the other day and was barely sore when I woke up. Score! Jingle may never get to see this particular new potion.
Finally, we headed back to our friend's, Garry and Sandy's wonderful home, and stayed up much too late, swapping, remembering and sharing stories. It was a wonderful day.
Round table chats are the best. =)