Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Gentleman, the Gator, and the Bun in the Oven

All season, I've been lamenting the fact that I had to stop riding about 6 weeks ago due to my pregnancy. While looking at my tack, cleaning said tack, and watching others get to actually use their tack, I've been fortunate enough to have a breezy pregnancy that still allows me to teach and even do some XC schools with my more advanced students. I was determined to continue to further my own education out of the saddle during this down time, and was delighted when Boyd and Silva Martin made their return to Fitch's Corner for an annual clinic.

What I didn't expect was having the Man, the Myth, the Legend, Boyd himself, chauffeur me around the XC course!
Chatting with his students
If you're not immersed in the event world, who is Boyd Martin? Odds are very good that you'll see him riding in the Olympics this summer. He's making the rest of the world take notice, and you should too. Click here to get just a little caught up.

I packed along copious amounts of sunscreen, ice, and a notebook and pen to cover a portion of the clinic for Area I's Optimum Minutes, and off we went. While I'll be detailing more of the clinic itself in an upcoming newsletter for Area I, I was really interested and excited to see his coaching and how he would individualize the clinic experience for not only each horse and rider team's level of experience, but also down to the jump style of each horse and rider. They all came away with a positive, educational experience that pushed boundaries but didn't frighten horse or rider.
Sandy pilots her TB over some steps with Boyd looking on
As each rider successfully completed exercises on varying jumps, terrain, bending lines and changes in canter styles between fences, the spectators would trail along behind the horses to the next section on course. Boyd would say to me, "Get in the cart!" and zoom, off we would go to the next fence! Another spectator remarked to Matt that being pregnant is obviously a perk when attending a clinic with Boyd.
Monica navigates a spooky ditch on her cute Appy
I really enjoyed how he discussed, and then improved, the rideability between fences for the horses and riders. He stressed posture and the type of canter or gallop you need before and after each fence to jump cleanly and in rhythm with the horse.

As always, Fitch's Corner went above and beyond, giving riders an experience, not just a clinic. Considering the fact that they're hosting the 2012 Area I Championships this year, the riders had a chance to work with one of the best riders in the world, on one of the best courses on the East coast. And while I thought I would be green with envy, it was made just a bit easier to bear by being able to pepper Boyd with questions and have a candid conversation with him, every time we moved to a new area on course.

I did make sure to tell Boyd that next year, Matt will be wearing the baby and I'll be riding. Mark my words!


Anonymous said...

Loved this post. So glad you got this great experience! - Cath

Suzanne said...

LUCKY, LUCKY YOU!!!!!! I can't wait for the OM recap. I kept looking at Fitches' Facebook pics to see if they caught one of you pregnant! Luck, LUCKY YOU!!!!