Oh my gosh, this clinic feels like a million years ago now!
So let's start at the top! I was so worried about getting out of Seattle on that Friday night I checked and rechecked my United app every 5 minutes. We were all set until about 10 minutes before the plane was about to leave SFO to pick me up in Seattle.....plane maintenance. I arrived home at 2:30am on Saturday- no worries- let's get up at 5:30am to head to the barn!
The sky looked ominous and our 8:30 2'6" group was slightly delayed due to a late haul-in. No rain was falling when the 8 of us started out in our outdoor ring BUT we had rented a speaker system and given the potential wet weather, they had been covered with white garbage bags and parked next to the ring. That put 6 of the 8 horses over the edge....even the 18 year old schoolmaster went spinning off. Ellie didn't flip an ear and I loved it because that meant I had that corner of the ring to myself! Worth her weight in gold. That meant that early part of the clinic was dedicated to dealing with wild horses.
Just as we started to dig into the flatwork portion, the skies opened up. As we cantered lap after lap I could hear the struggle through the microphone as Karen was trying to zip up her raincoat. And see, just to play it safe, I wore that old Charles Own Ayr8. As we cantered I noticed a steady drip, drip, drip of brown water from the brim of the helmet onto my lovely white Ogilvy baby pad. It was so sad and I have officially retired that helmet.
Karen, finally having zipped her coat, took mercy on us and ushered us up into our indoor.
Our tiny indoor. With 8 horses, rain on the tin roof, and no microphone. I pasted a grin on my face and hoped we were doing some of what she was looking for- because I couldn't hear a damn thing.
She had set a pretty simple course of 4 fences, nothing like her usual Eq focused drills, and each person jumped around a few times. I was really pleased with my focused rides to the fences despite Ellie being a bit of a sourpuss in the indoor.
The first day I guess I came out of it a little disappointed. It didn't quite feel like what I had expected a clinic to be like- and it certainly hadn't helped that I couldn't hear her comments during our rounds and little attention in the flatwork portion.
Of course you can't help but wonder if you're simply beyond help.
Ali shared with me the next day (Sunday, Day 2) that at the trainer dinner the evening before, Karen had said that Ellie and I were a nice pair. But beyond that, of all of the riders in the clinic, Diane said she was the most proud of ME for stepping up to the challenge and pushing myself out of my comfort zone! What a confidence boost and a great way to start the clinic Day 2......