Three years ago, I attended my first clinic with Barley. It was a clinic in Västerås arranged by the local western trainer and we were riding for George Maschalani. The only thing I knew was, that he had won the european championship several times, he had won the Futurity and was crowned Rider of the Year. At that time I was riding for six months. You can imagine how nervous I was! In the beginning of this year I was asked, if I would like to be the organizer of this clinic. I was thrilled and honored and accepted gladly.
Last weekend the clinic took place and this time (I think it’s the fourth time I am riding for him), I promised myself to just push all nervousness aside and really listen. He is a really nice guy and wants to help. The past clinics I felt that my nervousness got in the way of me listening to what he has to say, this time this should not stop me.
I was very focused and tried to suck up every little piece of knowledge he had to offer.
Barley was very relaxed and didn’t either act up during warm up and I believe that my relaxed state of mind had a lot to do with it.
The past year I had problems again with him leaning to the inside when we were on a circle and I didn’t know how to fix it. I had become very frustrated with myself because I know that George had showed us during a clinic and I had forgotten. Thankfully he picked up the issue by himself because we all had problems with it. The other thing was the usage of our spurs. Over and over we heard him say
More leg, not spur!
I know that he was right again, we were all too sloppy with them.
Before it was my turn to ride the next excercise, my DOH appeared at our side and told me to take off my spurs. My friend and personal trainer Anne had send him to collect my spurs and I think it was a great idea. During the first excercises I tried very hard to not touch him with them but it still happened. I leaned forward and whispered to Barley
Please, listen to my legs, it will make life easier for both of us! Please, please listen!
Then it was our turn. The excercise was to jog/canter on a circle over 4 poles.
We started with the jog and and he did an awesome job, then we were asked to canter a right circle. I felt right away what I had felt the past year when we were loping indoors..he leaned to the inside.
So I carefully lifted up my hands a little (I was riding with two hands), the left hand a little higher to put him straight with the neck. My reins were so long, I didn’t even touch the bit. I kept the rythm with my legs, although it was not visible for those who were watching, except for George, I guess ;).
Suddenly everything felt so easy. I got some great comments from George. I was so happy that I was able to correct Barley before George told me to. And then I remembered all the months I had pulled on him and was yet again unfair to him because I didn’t know better. I know that he could hear me, so I appologized while we were loping on our circle. Then George said that we were allowed to walk now and I am not really sure but as soon as he had slowed down a huge wave of emotions run over me and I started to cry like a baby.
The day after the clinic I found a quote on facebook.
The beauty of horseback riding is that you need to learn how to be in complete controle while at the same time in complete surrender…
I guess that is what happened, I had that moment with Barley!
George started to panick and asked what’s wrong??? What happened??? 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
Until I had the strength to answer, that it was just such an awesome to have ridden Barley like this and that I was just overwhelmed.
Then he actually cracked a smile :).
My DOH said, that even a visitor watching turned around to him with tears in her eyes. I tried to get it together and stop sobbing while stearing Barley back into the line up to allow the next one to start this excercise. The third member of our little group came up from behind and touched my shoulder. When I turned around, her eyes were filled with tears as well.
I almost started to cry again when I saw that she was so touched and happy for Barley and me, that we had this beautiful moment. He was standing in the line up yawning over and over again and was completely relaxed.
I wish you all that you will have this moment with your horse, it is the most awesome feeling. ❤