Sunday, May 20, 2012

TASHA Riding Clinic..

..hosted by Melissa Moore. Before I get to that though, I wanted to share with you a little about the TASHA show, which stands for Texas American Saddlehorse Association. We used to have a Fall (first weekend in December) and Winter (late February) show. The Winter show was poorly attended and the weather was usually less than inviting, so a board meeting was held and the date was changed to this weekend.
Another change was that we added the American Heart Association as a reciepient of some of the money we made...hence the adorable red dress banners they provided for us to use about the show grounds.
Lots of vendors donated art, products and several gift certificates. Some were put up for silent auction, and others were given away with a random drawing. Dinner was provided for no cost to all exhibitors and their families and friends both Friday and Saturday nights and a special "red dress class" was added into the show schedule. Honestly, I don't think this show could have been anymore fun than it was....well - Sandy (my head trainer) was not able to be there. Only if Sandy was there would it have been more fun!
Aslo a very first for this show was the addition of a saddleseat (not sidesaddle) riding clinic hosted by Melissa Moore. Melissa is an upper echelon rider, riding instructor, trainer and a judge who has been to and won blue ribbons at the American Saddlebred World Championship Horse show in KY. more times than I can count. I have never met her, but heard only wonderful things. Here is Koren Mercer introducing her to us on Friday evening.
We had a chance to not only meet with her but to ask her many candid questions. She was able to convey to us what it was like from a judges point of view in regards to pinning a class with the different levels of importance on manners, presence and athletic talent.
She stressed the importance of staying fit and stressed how important the over all picture was when presenting a horse, all the way down to making sure you riding suit, tack and horse were as clean as possible.
The clinic was divided into 4 sections; Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and 5-Gaited. Each session group was asked to trot into the arena, just as we would as if we were entering the show ring. We trotted the circumfrence of the ring 2 times before coming into a line up.
Some people opted to participate without their horses and just watch...
..and only 1 looked a bit disinterested...snicker snicker..
I only have the pictures I took from the first 2 clinics and I hope someone will send me a photo of Melissa as she worked with Chippers and I. After coming into the center ring, Melissa approached each of us asking what it was we wanted to work on.
My answer was keeping my legs back underneath me and staying a strong and solid rider when the horse got out of line. Interestingly, her response to my legs was that they were in a good position and that it was much more important for all riders to keep their heels down than to have their legs further back.
Melissa, despite all her accomplishments in the Saddlebred world, was a warm, enchanting and a very approachable person. She was patient and got to know the riders and we never felt pressed for time.
This is my friend Erica. Erica used Chippers in the Intermediate session and I used him in the Advanced class.
After all 4 sessions, we headed over to the stands where they had a wonderful assortment of snacks, sandwiches and drinks. Melissa joined us and we got to know her even more as she regailed us with a treasure trove of show ring memories! I had a blast!!

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