Natural Sporthorse

Dressage & Horsemanship Clinics
with Terry Church

Flying Cloud Farm
Petaluma, California

There were 10 participants at this two-day clinic, ranging from novice to experienced, with young horses, green horses, and horses schooling up to third level dressage. Each participant stayed the entire day, each day, and helped create a supportive atmosphere for the other participants as well as learning from each other and then focusing on their own work. Each day began with a morning discussion. Participants then broke into small groups that were staggered in and out of each other, using the various arenas. In this way, plenty of time was given to horses who needed longer to settle, soften and offer their attention before working. Horses that were already well-schooled received more private time but less time overall so as not to drill what they already knew. A variety of modalities were used to best enable each horse-human combination to start from where they were that day in order to arrive at the next step. The main idea was to create an environment where the person could learn what they actually needed in order to do better with their horses - not merely reenact information that had been dictated to them.

Getting settled upon arrival

Morning tension in the round pen...

...turns to relaxation with a little direction from the person, and a lot of "getting out of the way and letting the horse learn to calm himself."

Working with the lariat and riding out on the trail.

Working the feet.
Groundwork indoors

Longitudinal stretching on the line.

Lateral bending on the line.

Tacking up! ...but slowly and calmly. Mindfulness is needed to ensure relaxation, trust, and softness at all times, not just while riding.

Coaching or doing the jive? Apparently, Loyal was not impressed by fancy human maneuvers...

Young horse.

Yes, dressage principles can help the western horse and rider...
...and the mind-set of a cowboy can help us competitive Type-A's learn to "chill," too.

From the ground, an assistant helps Chile
lighten up his forehand in the turn.

Working canter with a soft feel.

Stretching at the trot.

A moment to relax and appreciate one's horse.

Riding 'til dusk.

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