Arizona Young Rider Clinic

Straightening out a horse in Arizona! Photos thanks to Michelle Klein

I had a warm and successful weekend teaching some of Area X’s top Young Riders in Phoenix, Arizona over the weekend. It was a busy and full clinic; these talented young riders trained in dressage and show jumping on Saturday and cross-country on Sunday. It was a new experience for me coaching out West – there were cactus on the cross-country course and prepared footing in all the schooling areas – it was all wood chips on the cross-country course!

Photo thanks to Sarah Lindsten. To view her photo album from the clinic, click here

The group of riders, 24 in total, were fantastic; they showed a huge amount of potential and are definitely riders for the future. What I enjoyed most are their attitudes – they are all rough and tumble kids and true horse people, not only with event horses but with young horses and roping and cutting. I think they’ve all done a bit of everything. There were no mothers dashing out in the middle of the lesson giving their kiddies a drink of water, these guys were ready to learn. They were riding an assortment of horses, from Quarter Horses and Appendix Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods, all of which showed ability and improvement throughout the clinic.

I’d like to thank the clinic organizers for getting me out there not only to teach this enthusiastic group of young riders but also to enjoy the 70 degree weather and sunshine! The farm where they put me up happens to have some leading cutters and ropers, Trapper Rogers and Lee Poncelet. After a few beers with the boys I tried my hand at reining riding – it was a wonderful experience and education for me. I rode a young horse that was trained to perfection in the art of chasing a cow and I got a very in-depth lesson on riding a reining horse, which had similar aspects to training a dressage or jumping horse. (Photo at right and video below thanks to Jen Smyser). In all I had a wonderful weekend and hope to get out there again soon.


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