Monday, August 15, 2011

Clinics and Camp Recap

It’s been a busy summer.  In addition to the 16th annual clinic with Lucinda Green and the second running of the ‘Mock’ Event clinic, Stone Gate Farm hosted an Event Camp for the first time.  It’s hard to believe that there are still people in the area who have not ridden with Lucinda before but we had several ‘newbies’ along with who some who haven’t ridden with he in more than 10 years as well as many of use who have who have ridden with Lucinda for years.  Everyone had a fabulous time (as always), honed those skills need to make it easier for our horses to not only get the footwork but to think quickly on their feet. Horses never cease to amaze me with their ability to do the job right if we only do ours and then ‘get out of their way’!

Laura & Tinners over the point with the spools in the foreground
Lucinda commented that this was one of the best groups we have had in years and she enjoyed the new grass area we used for the first day’s exercises.  She particularly liked the small plastic spools we had and she used them to make all sorts of interesting exercises.

I had the pleasure of riding a really nice mare that was here to be sold.  Well after having an absolute blast riding her with Lucinda I was sold on Witchit and was happy to find her a new home with a new student Gabbie VanScoy.  Gabbie will have to wait until next year to experience Lucinda as a rider rather than an auditor.  Mark your 2012 calendars for June 3 & 4.
Jackie and Witchit over a small point

Sue Hines and Lucinda having a position discussion
The Event Camp was a huge success if you consider that everyone learned a lot and had a great time despite the oppressive heat.  Eric Dierks and Doug Payne were the lead instructors with Sue Hines teaching some lessons on Fri.  I am familiar with both Sue & Eric’s teaching styles & philosophy but I have never seen Doug teach before but I was confident that since they were all level 3 ICP instructors they would all be on the same page so to speak and I was right. While each instructor has their own style all I kept hearing all week was how Doug & Eric complimented each other.  I for one appreciated being told one thing from one instructor in the morning and having it reinforced by the other instructor in the afternoon.. 

Camp Entertainment - Bear & Bandit
Besides the riding there was the saddle fitting lecture/demo by Heather Soones-Booher 
and many horses received a much appreciated massage from  Laura Gentile. But participants just had a good time hanging out together beginning with the welcome pot luck dinner, ‘pond therapy’ and entertainment provided by Bear and Bandit.

There were many e-mails saying thanks we learned a lot and I’ll be back next year that included the instructors.  Now that I have recovered I have decided that  YES we'll do it again.  The tentative dates for next years' camp are July 17 - 20, 2012.

Jumping Lesson with Eric

I'd like to share some of the e-mails that I got after camp so you're not just hearing it from me that camp was great ;)

Hey Jackie,

"Pond Therapy" was the best way to finish the HOT days!
I just wanted to write you a quick note and thank you for putting together the event camp.  Doug and Erik were fantastic and quite similar in teaching methods so it was easy to learn.  My first ride with Doug was quite "exciting" with the young horse and he didn't mind teaching me some basic survival skills--some other instructors might have shook their head and wondered what the heck I was thinking bringing this horse to a four day camp!!!  Actually it was quite amazing watching the horse grow and learn and I am very glad I brought him.  I can't wait to see the photos of the last day, jumping the Novice fence by the Pavilion.  

Here is a photo of the best part of the day--pond therapy, as you call it!


Natalie & Claire - our youngest campers!
Hi Jackie,

I wanted to tell you "bravo"! Job well done on the camp. Natalie learned so much and was really encouraged by the wonderful teaching of Eric, Doug and Sue. Your family is wonderful and I love your farm and "mission" in your work. Thank you for all your hard work! I appreciate you matching Claire and Natalie together and stabling their horses next to each other. Now Natalie has a new friend.

It would take about a 10 page email to tell you how much Natalie got out of that experience so I will just say that the great teaching, the supportive atmosphere, and those fun swim party picnics really were fantastic!

She wants to do it again next year, if you decide to do it again.

Thanks again!


Patty & Java Joe aka Hunka Chunka
Hi Jackie -- Some thoughts about camp.....                                         
  • I had a lot of fun and am so glad you organized it.
  • I thought the mix of lessons was great and they came in a great order.
  • Having a turnout option was fantastic!
  • Next year maybe camp could be in June so that we could avoid the hottest weather?
I loved Doug and Eric and would ride with them again anytime...

Karen & Stilts making the Prelim Table look easy

Thank you for taking the time and effort to organize the Event Camp. I had a great time and learned so much, hope to do it again next year.
One of many watermelons staying cool in the spring tank

Hi Jackie,

I wanted to thank you for putting on such a great camp.  Your artisian well soaked watermelon saved me from the heat.  It was a great idea!  I learned some good tips to help me with my preparation for the AEC's.  Riding twice a day in the heat was good preparation, too.  I am hoping that Eric will be down there, so that I can hire him to warm me up for dressage. 

See you in September,                                      

Lowell traveled the furthest, coming from KY

Many thanks to Jeff Cook from for coming to camp to taking some great pics.  Check out the pics at  Casual Creations

The 'Mock Event' Clinic the following week was geared for the less experienced event riders and was taught by ICP certified instructors Jackie and Kyle Smith.  The clinic started on Fri evening with a lecture demo on what the dressage judge (Jackie) is looking for in a test, what qualities you are looking for in a horse and tips on how to ride the figures accurately and correctly.  Kyle demonstrated on my horse Pip while Laura Kosiorek rode the Morrows horse Zorro.

Sat was a 'mock' competition where Kyle warmed up riders for their dressage and show jumping rounds while Jackie judged the rides and then worked with the riders to make improvements on their rides.  There were a few rough spots and some adjustments were needed before the cross country on Sun.

Sat night found plenty of good food for the 'pot luck' dinner and lots of fun with the kids jumping into the pond.  This was definitely a younger group than the week before ;) 

Sunday was the a cross country lesson, not a mock competition.   Everyone had a good ride, learned a lot and had fun!  A couple of the riders were able to go back and work on their jumping course again.  I basically worked with the riders on the straight forward cross country fences while Kyle worked at the bank and water jump. One horse in particular was having difficulty jumping into the water but after time, patience and persistence SUCCESS!!  Sometimes these sessions can be nerve racking for the owners and it was very reassuring to receive a card (not an e-mail) a couple of days later.

Dear Jackie and Kyle,
Thank you so much for this past weekend.  It was fun, challenging, and rewarding.  Gambler and I definitely had a challenge that we had to overcome this weekend with the down bank into the water and at some points I was worried I had ruined him.  But once he was in the water I was so proud, I can't even start to tell you how much it meant to us for you guys to work through it.  So thank you very very much.

Not only was this weekend fun because of all the riding, but because the whole family makes us feel so at home! I know you guys have seen where Gambler has come from & kinda got to see him grow up and improving, but a lot of the improving is because of you guys.  So basically all I'm trying to say is thanks a ton for everything!!

                              Maddie and Gambler

Sometimes when we do a clinic or just in our regular lessons we wonder if we're really making a difference. Sometimes the riders and/or their parents don't really understand what we're doing and why.  Sometimes you have to tell people things they don't want to hear but it needs to be said if they're ever going to improve in their riding.  Sometimes you have to make things very clear to the horse or he'll learn that he can shut down and refuse to do what's asked of him. Sometimes people will get upset enough you'll never hear from them again.  This was one of those situations where, even though you got the desired result,  you just wonder....  That's the risk you take when you do or say what you believe needs to be done or said.  So Maddie, thank you for your note it means a lot to us. 

So that's it for now.  It is our pleasure to share our farm with so many horses and riders and it truly is our quest to assist horses and riders to improve their skills and meet their goals whatever they may be.


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