This week we had a horsemanship clinic with Mercedes Gonzalez from Spain. She has quite an impressive resume, having ridden, exhibited and taught in the major schools of Europe including the Real Escuela in Jerez Spain, and the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria ( those famous white Lipizzaner stallions). A list of her own teachers reads like the library of equitation masters of the 20th century. Accordingly, we were not disappointed in her teaching one bit! No pun intended. She boiled down the essential basics into manageable concepts, and put all of us to work revamping our riding and focusing on “listening” to the horse through our seat-bones. We all tried to transcend our “deaf rear-ends” and I believe that our horses will be much more relaxed, happier, and able to perform with lightness and balance better than ever before, thanks to her explanations of horse psychology and biomechanics. Aside from all that, she has a gracious and enjoyable personality. She has wondrous stories, and her explanations are so beautifully clear and understandable as to be accessible even to this bucolic old cowboy rider. She is kind and gentle and has a wonderful sense of humor, yet she doesn’t let any bad riding habits go on corrected. She cares much for the horse, and even more for the rider. All in all we felt that there was more knowledge than we will ever remember gifted to us, presented by a person whom we will truly never forget, and whom we certainly hope to see many more times in the future. Remember to soften that inside rein!
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