Cornborough Manor, Yorks, 21st-24th
Well, as ever, the time raced past too quickly. Most
people turned up on the Friday afternoon and settled their horses in with the
last few arriving on the Saturday morning.
The weather was glorious throughout all the four days and we
needed suncream and after-sun soother for horse and riders every day.
Considering how wet the country's been for weeks, we were incredibly lucky, the
ground dried rapidly and a light breeze stopped it being unbearably hot.
After hosting a clicker clinic at her place on Saturday, Ann
turned up on Sunday to complete the gathering, and brought her lovely new pony -
a very pretty Connemara. We had a mix of horses: an Andalucian, a very
handsome jet black Arab, a Frieisian, another Connemara, a seriously gorgeous
chestnut RID (I might be biased as he's mine!), Fiona borrowed Charlie's Irish
cob and three others of varying sizes, shapes and crosses. We had four full days
of sunshine for the outside ground, online and ridden tasks, interspersed by
Alexander Technique lessons in the cool of the house and then, on Sunday and
Monday, liberty instruction in the indoor school. But as usual, everyone
got on well with everyone else, the supportive atmosphere pervaded all that was
accomplished and there were lots of smiles evident every day. Charlie's
calm manner encouraged everyone to stretch themselves, if they wanted to, and
most people indeed did do a bit more than they thought they could; Judith's
Alexander Technique lessons straightened us all out and then the ridden
Alexander was really helpful; the liberty sessions were very popular, and so
instructional in understanding the psyche of each horse and how the handler can
build the bond with her horse.
The numbers are restricted to ten people to ensure that
everyone gets plenty of 1-to-1 time with Charlie and it all ended too soon with
people thrilled and amazed at their progress and the change in their horse -
especially the bolshy young Friesian who started the clinic walking over, or
through, his handler and ended it standing respectfully wherever he was placed.
Personally, I was astonished (and delighted) at the progress Milo and I made -
he's had a very troubled 18 months since leaving Ireland until I found him and
we've got plenty of issues to work through, but this time together has
strengthened our bond and enhanced the mutual trust - but, as as ever with
horses, it's an ongoing process.
It was a great week, over all too soon, but well done to all
and roll on next summer.
Charlie and Judith will be back in Bedfordshire in the autumn
(time and venue will appear in Forthcoming Events)
and of course there'll be another camp (or two!) next summer. See you
Alexander Technique Lessons with Judith
Mid Bedfordshire, 6th May,
Believe it or not the rain held off on Sunday (other than
very few drops) and it wasn't windy either. It was the clinic of
the youngsters: Audrey brought her 6yo, so kind and willing to please; Carole's
Meg was the 'advanced' horse of the day (a young 20yo) and did some lovely soft
transitions at all paces complete with the right amount of flex, and Gill brought
her 6yo Iberian chap all the way from Derbyshire! In fairness she did most
of the journey the day before but in only his first trip away from his field
companions he kept it all together pretty well. I took Milo, my 8yo, as well and
considering the nonsense being voiced by Madam as we left the field he was very
cool. For his first clinic, in a new venue, with new horses around him,
still very new to NH and having to concentrate all day I was pretty pleased with
It was such a great day and everyone did so well. I really
enjoyed watching Audrey and Carole achieving softer and softer transitions;
watching Charlie riding the young Iberian and encouraging him to reach forward
and improve his strides was a masterclass in horsemanship.
Well done everyone, a great day and lots of new stuff to
practice and familiar stuff to refine.