Thank you CDS and Pomona Chapter for providing me with the opportunity to participate in an inspiring weekend ‘romancing the rhythm’ with my equine partner and renowned dressage clinician Rachel Saavedra at the CDS Southern California Adult Amateur Clinic held at Shadow Ridge Equestrian Center. It was an incredible experience!
Participants arrived Friday evening at Kathy Pavlich’s beautiful Shadow Ridge Equestrian Center in Highland, tired but in good spirits with our caring grooms and equine partners in tow. The weekend started Friday evening with a lovely “meet and greet” at Kathy’s beautiful home. Carol Tice warmly greeted us at the door, had dinner ready, and did a fabulous job leading us through what would be an extraordinarily inspiring weekend. The twelve riders and grooms shared hopes, fears, and information about themselves and their horses with our clinician Rachel who immediately put us all at ease with her calm understanding and wisdom.
Saturday morning our rides began at 8:00am. Throughout the day we heard terms such as “bilateral uberstreichen”, “look through the ears” and “knees down”. Rachel was enthusiastic, encouraging and a remarkable teacher. She did a fantastic job assessing each of our individual strengths and weakness and figuring out what were the best elements for us to work on. My work was all about my seat position and I went away Saturday evening with so much to think about but with a very clear direction of what I needed to do to improve.
After a good night’s rest, we came back Sunday to review what we had learned and add some new elements. It was quite amazing to see the positive changes in everyone’s riding and the smiles that accompanied. My horse was forward and happy as long as I remembered not to deviate from my position. This event was my first time away from the barn without my trainer and I had been very nervous. But after my ride Sunday, I was energized by the results.
At our lunch break, Rachel surprised us with music and dance. All the riders and grooms participated in learning dance steps while keeping the rhythm of the Pata Pata. We were all smiling and laughing when it was over. The message being, learning the dance steps and keeping the rhythm was parallel to our dressage work but we needed to remember to smile, laugh, and have fun while riding as we had done during the Pata Pata.
The weekend ended with a nice breeze sweeping in over Shadow Ridge as happy horses and fulfilled, though tired, riders packed up and departed. We all left with new tools in our kits and lots of great information to bring home to our trainers and friends.
I want to Thank CDS, Kathy Pavlich for the use of her wonderful ranch, Carol Tice for all of her tireless work and of course Rachel Saavedra for putting on a terrific amateur clinic.
I was fortunate, I was selected from a wait list but I did not know I was riding until about a week before the clinic. I am so very glad I had the opportunity to participate.
We had a fun pizza and Wine dinner on Friday night and everyone got to know each other a bit and visit with Rachel as well.
Over the next two days it was fun to watch the riders improve. Rachel was able to evaluate the riders and provide immediate improvement. Also Rachel has a very large tool kit. If the rider was having trouble with a concept, she was able to explain it a different way so that the rider was able to get the horse to understand what was being asked.
Many of the exercises were helpful for all levels of riders and it was fun to see the horses improve at all the levels.
The horses seemed very happy in their work and the improvement in the riding made for more harmony among horse and rider. Rachel is a wonderful warm person and she really put her all into improving all riders. She was highly articulate and has a real depth of knowledge to draw from. It was a pleasure to be able to ride with her.