Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Eric Dierks Clinic Report

We had a fabulous clinic with Eric Dierks last weekend.  I have to tell you it was a real 'leap of faith' scheduling an outdoor clinic in OH in March. I just hoped it would be dry and assumed it would be chilly.  Never in a million years did I think we would have to be worried about getting sunburned!  There was torrential rain for a bit on Sun morning which put an end to cross country but it ended up being another beautiful sunny and warm day.

Below is a report from my good friend Karen Chandell.  Between her report, the pictures and videos I think you'll have a little better idea why everyone went home with a smile on their face and a little better partnership with their horses.

If you have pictures or videos to share we would love to see them.  Don't forget that Eric will be back for camp July 17 - 20.


Clinic Report submitted by: Karen Chandell

The weather gods have really been smiling down on Northeast Ohio recently. When I signed up for the Eric Dierks Clinic at the beginning of February, my fingers were crossed for decent weather, i.e. no four-wheel drive needed. Well my prayers were answered and the sun was out! We rode both days outdoors at Stone Gate Farm and a few of us even had the chance to go out on XC. The first day was ring work, practicing position, track, energy and tempo. What stood out most for me was realizing and committing to the quality of your horse’s canter. When riders were able to obtain and maintain a quality canter, it changed dramatically the way their horse jumped.

 We worked over skinny rails on the ground to get our horses straight on a track listening to our aids while maintaining balance going up and down a small hill between the two dressage rings. We also worked over a low gymnastics of 5 one strides with 9’rails in between to help with our positions and canter. I felt everyone was pleased with the results and it really showed on day 2.

Sunday morning started with the threat of rain and we all hoped that it wasn’t going to rain on our group. I had the fortune of riding Jack (of the Jack and Jill Blog fame) in the first session of the day. We worked on courses and I really missed not be able to ride him the day before. It’s not my habit to throw my leg over horses I’m not familiar with but Kyle assured me Jack would be a star. It took a short time to figure out his way of going, once again it was remembering the 4 points of riding and getting that quality canter, fast & forward are not the same =). Jack was just as surprised by having someone else on him as I was riding him. We were able to smooth out the rough spots and really had a wonderful time. Ours was one of the groups that were able to go out on XC and we schooled the water, bank and a couple of XC fences. It was fun to put the skills we honed in the ring to use out on XC. Jack was a star and we gave each other confidence.

The next group was a group of hardy juniors which was good considering they were the ones caught in the rain but apparently loved it! I rode my horse, Stilts, in an afternoon group and once again the sun was shining and the temps warm. Who would think in the middle of March, in our area, we would be riding in short sleeves and auditing in shorts! After the rain it was too slick to venture out on XC so we worked the entire time in the ring. After riding Jack, I have to admit that I rode my own horse even better. During this session I was much more aware of my canter, paid very close attention to my track after the fences while using a sympathetic hand. It’s amazing to feel your horse listening to these subtle changes and responding to them. After we finished, Eric felt that Stilts and I are ready to move up to Preliminary, which is a goal for this season.

Eric has an enthusiasm that is contagious and makes you really want to learn and become a better horse person. I have ridden with him several times and keep coming back for more!

Check out the video of Karen and Jack the "green machine" as Eric calls him ;)

Pictures and Videos

We were lucky enough to have Jackie and Jeff from Casual Creations come to Stone Gate and take some pictures and video of the clinic on Sat.  The pictures can be viewed and ordered at Casual Creation's website.  The videos will be available soon.  Here are some on my favorite pictures taken that Jeff was nice enough to share for this pictorial report.
Colin Gaffney & Brandi Podboy waiting for the fog to burn off

Virginia Reeser & Lightening in fine form over the drop fence.  Eric seems to likes it too ;)
              Meredith Thomas and our old friend Tintin showing a great balanced canter! 

"I don't care what you say, it looks like a snake to me!!"

Jack & Kyle listening very intently

Kyle and Jill looking all business

The following videos were taken by family and friends of the riders. Enjoy ;)

Gabbie Van Scoy & Witchit


2 New Videos Jackie & Wie and Kevin & Rugby


  1. Great report, great pictures.

  2. Enjoyed the report.The videos and pictures were great. What an awesome day all of you had. :-)

  3. I loved discovering this! I have Jack's full sister - like you, I named her Mya because papers were slow to come... but she is Legion of Dreams and we are in Michigan. I would love to read more of your blog on what Jack and Jill are doing!!