Text and photos by Shannon Daly BHSII
Victoria-Saanich Cadora were delighted to host FEI Judge General Stephen Clarke at Fairlawn Farm for a two day clinic on September 26 and 27. He is a highly respected judge and trainer that travels worldwide judging major competitions and teaching. This was the first in a series of three Cadora clinics.
Organizers, Heather Cormie and Claire Vessey, were pleased to have a variety of 16 horse/rider combinations that included Training to Fourth level, Prix St-Georges, FEI Intermediaire 1 and an Under 25 FEI Grand Prix.
Stephen Clarke is a master at choosing suitable exercises for each horse and rider. Lateral work was used to improve submission with the emphasis on the quality of the gait. Ten metre circles to create the wow in the trot. Working without stirrups to improve a longer leg position.
His calm, consistent approach made it easy for riders to discuss issues and ask questions. Lessons finished with horses having a stretch, important points reviewed and auditors invited to ask questions.
Close to a hundred auditors attended the two day clinic. With so many different combinations to watch, there was something for everyone. A couple of the auditors, that I spoke with, said that they were looking forward to putting Mr. Clarke's good advice into action. Lucky horses!
Words of Wisdom
'When he's good, be quiet'
'Never let an exercise take over the quality of the gait'
'Do what needs doing and leave them alone'
'I want the half halt to go to the hind leg, not the neck'
'How little can you do?'
Many thanks to Nikky Hannam and Samantha Reid for hosting the clinic at their brand new facility, Fairlawn Farm in Brentwood Bay. They have a beautiful arena with super footing, all in a lovely setting.
Cheers to Heather and Claire for a wonderful weekend. The home cooked lunch for auditors and riders was a great touch. You certainly know how to look after everyone.
Looking forward to next year's clinic already!