About a month ago, my friend Robin called me and said they had a spot open in their sorting clinic and asked if I wanted it. Of course I jumped on it and said yes!
They started this clinic a few months ago with just 8 people as the coordinator said that is a good number for everyone to be able to get some good runs in and some good one on one training with the clinician, James. James is also the person I take my regular 2 hour lessons with.
Anyway, Summer was a bit nervous as she separated her first herd, then settled into it very well when she remembered what she was supposed to do. We all got to run with each other one time then run with James when the clinic was over.
This was a very informative session and I learned a lot of why Summer does some of the things she does. Rider error! I have always noticed that when she and I are working the gate, she starts moving and getting real antsy. Well, it is me. James showed me what I am doing with my hands when we start working the gate. My hands are all over the place so to speak. So I need to quiet my hands and quit "talking" to her. We also learned team work. And by that I mean, if you have a cow that just absolutely will not go through the gate and your partner is working it and there are no other cows around, then go in and help your partner push that cow through the gate. Mike and I had this happen to us several times and it was a fun lesson to work on.
What was also good about this clinic was the cows we used were "fresh". Meaning, they had never been worked like this so they didn't know the "rules" of the game, which made it more challenging for us. I loved it!
I also got more than one compliment on Summer's abilities. I told one guy, before the clinic started, that she was a Walking Horse and he "jokingly" apologized for that. After he saw us run a few times, he came up to me and said, "She's pretty good." Well duh! LOL
After the clinic, I told the coordinator that I would love to be the first on the second list of folks to be called if there were anymore cancellations in the future. She said no problem. She told me, with Robin standing there, that 8 was a really good number for the clinic that way everyone got to run 7 times and then with James. I had absolutely no problem with that and told her I would be honored if they called me again.
After I left the arena, I guess it came to James' attention about what Connie (the coordinator) had told me about only 8 people taking James' clinic. Robin said that James seemed a bit put out/frustrated about that and told Robin to call me and tell me that I was invited to all of his clinics and then said he would call Connie and tell her that too. WOW! I was so happy! I just hope Connie won't be put out by this as I was totally okay with what she had told me about me being the first call on the second string. But it is his clinic and he is the one getting paid. I just felt very honored that James would invite me to come to all of his clinics as I learned so much Saturday about the sport that I love and doing it with a horse that technically wasn 't built physically or designed mentally to do. I sometimes feel like I am wasting his time when he could have others in there with better trained horses and such. I have even asked him personally about this. I told him privately at our last lesson, that I had a thick skin and he wouldn't hurt my feelings if he told me the truth, so I asked him if I was wasting his time and to please let me know. He said I was NOT wasting his time.
I'll never forget our first lesson with him. There were 4 other ladies there besides me and all of them were on stock horses. After our lesson, he pulled me aside and told me I was his strongest rider that day. And here I was on my little ol' TWH. But I have to say, I am a pretty aggressive rider and I just LOVE this dang sport!
Now that we are getting back into sorting, I put Summer back on a joint supplement. She has been off of it for several months so I decided that if we are competing again, I must protect her joints. I am sure she will appreciate that.
This weekend is our SWTPA show for 2011. And if Summer is good physically, we will be there with our boots on! (Which I finally got dirty this weekend! See pic above!) YeeHaw!