I just got home from a lovely pair of days in Sweden. Malin Andersson, a Schockmöhle Sports distributor, asked me to teach a clinic at Wallstanäs Gård, Stockholm, Sweden, after listening to a presentation I had given at my own stable in Vechta last year.
Like always, dates were discussed, the location was chosen, airline tickets were booked and auditor tickets were sold. And bonus of bonuses, my good friend Tinne Wilhelmsson-Silfven offered to pick me up at the airport and show me her incredible stable, Lövsta Stuteri, before handing me over to my students. What an incredible place! (I took some video, Rita—more on that in the next blog!)
Malin did a fabulous job of organizing the clinic at Wallstanäs Gård. She commandeered the beautiful indoor arena, which from the inside looks a bit like gigantic wooden ship tipped upside down. It gives a Viking impression of spaciousness and light. Perfect footing, too, I might add.
The first day of the clinic was private, but more than 120 auditors were invited on the second day. Lessons ran like clockwork, two magazine reporters requested interviews, spectators asked questions between each ride, and the inevitable rush to the airport followed our finish. This is a lot to juggle in two short days, but Malin left no detail out of the organization.
On the first day of teaching, I struggled with my headset/microphone as is my perpetual fate. I just don’t do technology. I put it on upside down, it slid off my head, got tangled in my hair... On the second day Malin finally assigned me a keeper in the guise of a “translator” who kept the audio equipment under control while speaking perfect English in support of my perfect English.
Like usual, I reverted to Schultheis in my initial teachings and insisted that everyone ride with their hands TOGETHER and TOWARD the bit. Riders had to sit deeper (IAS—thanks to this blog, everyone knew what that meant), in better rhythm and pay attention to the connection between seat and hand. This included riders from basic level on young horses to advanced level on young Grand Prix horses.
We addressed bridle fit and discussed saddle balance in relationship to the horse’s center of gravity and motion—all subjects I talk about a lot when I teach. I will try to write about them in the next few weeks. I have a whole blog planned on the Dreaded, Misplaced, Overpadded, Knee Roll which would do no harm as a Chinese appetizer but is poisonous for a well-balanced seat.
In any case, I saw such great improvements in every horse and rider on the second day that I had to ask: “Hey, did y’all sneak off and train with Hubertus last night?” Fortunately, Swedish people have good humor and laughter was not scarce during this clinic. That makes the days shorter and the whole experience enjoyable for everyone.
I have a few more clinics to teach on this side of the ocean during May/June, and then it’s off to the good ole USA. Spreadin’ the Word, Rita, Spreadin’ the Word.
I’m Catherine Haddad, and I’m sayin it like it is from Vechta, Germany.
Training Tip of the Day: Does your saddle push your seat bones toward the horse’s center of gravity or toward the center of motion?