Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Big Deal-eo Clinic

 When Kari, our trainer at the barn, was living in a million dollar house in Sun Valley and teaching skiing, and was considering leaving her much older husband, who also happened to be the head of the Sun Valley ski school...oh, sorry, that's a story for another day, anyway, when Kari lived in Idaho- she rode horses with a trainer at River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho. His name is Bob McDonald. He's basically the man.
Bob McDonald is a trainer of renown and is married to Debbie McDonald, who has ridden on the Olympic Dressage team in 3 different Olympic games and has brought home numerous medals, including several gold medals.
 Kari has been trying to get Bob to come down and do a clinic for the riders at our barn for years. "Bob this, Bob that", has been a phase heard around the barn for years. Apparently he came once, but we've been at the barn for 12 years and it happened before we were there. So, finally she and Bob worked out a weekend when he could come and hold a 2 day clinic at our barn. Well, that was after 3 re-schedules, but the point was- he was coming. Much panic and cleaning-up at the barn. Re-tiling of floors, repainting of stall doors, ripping up of old astro turf on the barn porch. All good things.

Shannon was first up on both days, and let me just say that Bob was pretty amazing. He started out by just watching Shannon trot and canter in both directions.
That's all it took to diagnose all of Shannon's issues, problems and psychoses. "Now, come over to me, Shannon", Bob said. (So that's where Kari picked up that phrase.)
Bob: "When he drags is head down your heels come up.
Shannon: "These heels?"
Rocko: "But I like to drag my head down. It pulls out my Little Mother's arms."
Bob worked with Shannon and Rocko for the next half hour, tweaking and giving Shannon tools to help control the raging heavy-headed beast that Rocko can be sometimes. Best phrase of the day: "Use your size to your advantage, Shannon." Whaaa?
 When Shannon got off, there was just a little wear and tear on her right shoulder. Now she'll be able to tell when she's doing it right. Her shoulder be killing her. :)
Clinic Day 2 started with a review of Day 1's concepts, and ended with big jumps.
 Bob: "Shannon, he jumped the h*** out of that one! Do it again!"
Shannon: "Ok, if my shoulder holds out."
Rocko: "No problem. I could probably get my knees a little higher, maybe higher than my ears this time."

It was an awesome clinic, and Bob gave Shannon so many new tools to use in her riding. Now we need Bob to come down maybe 4 times a year. That would be amazing.


  1. Great photos....poor Shannon shoulder!

  2. Tools are good things to have. Now all that needs to be learned will be by Ben, you can tell him I said massage school is next on his list.