Me !!! driving the cones at Teddy Bear Fjord farm in Mead, WA...... the host of the clinicians....
A couple weeks ago, when I emailed Warren Riddle of Teddy Bear Fjords, and asked if I could audit the upcoming clinic, I had NO idea what a day I would have. I figured I would get there early, watch folks prepare, watch and audit and learn...but I had NO idea that my day would in fact be much, much more.....
Saturday morning I headed out...it would be an hours drive to the clinic location at Teddy Bear farms, and I wanted to be on time...OK...for me, "on time" is usually a bit early.
When I arrived, I saw no one around.. but I quickly met up with Warren and he took me over to the dressage ring, dropped me at the feet of Brian Jensen the clinician, and set me to learning..right there and then!
Brain and Ursula Jensen had come to the clinic from BC where they live on their Fjord farm. They both hold judges cards for here and abroad. They raise and train a few high quality Fjords a year and compete also. These folks are well rounded in the sport of CDEs that is for sure. Brain has driven a variety of hitches, and now prefers the "four in hand" while Ursula often drives a single. As I spent the day with them, watching and learning, I do not think I have ever seen such helpful, kind clinicians....they have no "movie star" attitude about them, and the beginner is just as important to them and the advance student..lucky for me!
I got to sit next to Brain, and tabulate his markings during the dressage test....in quiet moments I got to ask my own questions, of which there were many. After the dressage test, and his comments to the drivers, we headed to the cones. I intently listed to his direction to whips for the cones, since it is something I have never seen done! After the cones, the whips and horses usually did part of the marathon course.
Here is Sylvia Riddle going through the water hazard with her Fjord team.
Part of the reason I went to the clinic was for photography...I was NOT disappointed. There were ample opportunities through out the day, and I was wishing I had planned to stay Sunday too. Many of the teams were Fjords, but there were also single horses and whips. Often there were a different breed, certainly a different color!
One of my favorite shots from the day...I call this "Fjord Faces"
Around mid morning I heard talk that there may be empty time slots that needed to be filled with students...seems one gal that booked several time slots and could not come due to a sick horse....I jumped right in and volunteered to fill one of those time slots...oh HELP !!! I have no horse or cart! Warren and Sylvia Riddle, clinic hosts were kind enough to loan me a single horse and a cart for my very own lesson with a world class whip .....WOW !!!! talk about my lucky day.
Here I am !!! with Brain Jensen, clinician......whoo hooo !!! and below..going through the cones !
WOW...I learned so much, and I found that my hands were not quite as clumsy as when I drove for the very first time a couple months ago....yeah ! and also found..cones are ALOT easier at the trot....LOL....
Don't "judge" me just yet,.I know I am a bit out of position..but dang, this is hard! Brian wants me to drive the horses head, stay in good position, have good contact, and he expects me to breath too?
At noon we had a potluck lunch, hosted by Sylvia and Warren Riddle in their lovely home. We had a few rain showers in the morning, and Warren had a roaring fire to warm us all up. Lovely homes, gracious host....what more could you ask for? I met many of the INDS ( Inland Northwest Driving Society ) members, and found them to be a fun, helpful, kind bunch of folks...all with that interest in driving...
After lunch, we headed back to the dressage arena and I watch and learned more. One of the highlights on the day was Michael and Susie and their team of tandem Fjords. I used my skills to take some of the loveliest photographs of Michael, Susie and their team, the lighting, the weather, the scenery, you would probably think they were in Norway!
As Michael drove down the centerline of the dressage arena..all you could see was one horse! That was truly an awesome sight....and very, very correct...I think many of us can appreciate the training that goes into doing this...most people find it hard with one horse, much less two.
To say I leaned alot would be an understatement....I learned about so many things, from carts, to horses, harness, what things are strictly personal preference, tradition, oh so many things, and to take the lines in MY VERY OWN HANDS.....well, lets just say that though I was already hooked on driving...I am obsessed now ;-)
My most heartfelt THANK YOU to all the INDS members that were at the clinic, to Warren and Sylvia Riddle, "Ridder" my patient driving partner, wonderful, gracious, host farm, and to Brain and Ursula Jensen....I started at the top, learning from the best..and I hope to learn under you again...THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!