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It is day ten. All of us who have attended Wendy Murdoch’s instructors course are sitting
comfortably in Luann Goodyear’s (our clinic host) living room.
Wendy comes in and with her ever present big smile and says that it is time to wrap things up. Emily Kitchen is filming this as she has the entire clinic. We are asked to give a few highlights of our experiences and there is a resounding silence. Everyone has the deer in the highlights look, and is hoping that someone else will break the silence. Finally one of the other participants starts to talk. It jogs my memory and starts a literal flood of images from the past week and one half.
The question was something to the effect of what would we take away from this experience? The different activities start going through my mind’s eye like a rapid-fire slide show. What would my response be? Would it be the new information (new to me) about saddle fit, especially about checking English saddles? The effect that saddle fit has on horse and rider? Maybe the techniques that we learned that will help riders that are hollow, bracing into their stirrups, or riding their horses mouths? How about the ways that we learned to keep our young students interested and engaged when we practiced our new methods on the local 4-h club last Friday evening? Maybe all of the unusual Feldenkrais lessons that utilized everything from blood pressure cuffs to videos to carrying book bags on our heads. All of these techniques were to help our riding and to give us a better understanding of our anatomy, so that we would be able to explain all of this to our students with a deeper understanding. Then there were all of the other participants, literally from all over the world, who all had so much to offer from different perspectives and their horsemanship and teaching experiences.
As my turn came, instead of the blank memory of a few minutes ago I was trying to think about how to condense my thoughts into a few sentences that could convey my appreciation and gratitude to Wendy, Luann, Jim, Emily, her husband Steve, Ned, and all of the other students for their contributions.
Did our riding improve? You bet! But this event was not really about our riding, but our understanding of effective riding. I suspect that for most of us this period of time marked our most profound changes in our riding in our lives. I know without a doubt for those who assimilated the information offered that they will be better teachers who will have more to offer in more different areas than any other teachers out there.
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