Monday, November 30, 2009

winter memories

The perfect rainy winter day. Saw almost no one. Cold and rainy but didn't bother me much. Work went well. No riding though. But it is just so glorious to be there by myself with the horses and the dogs and the cats and go through all the day's tasks and think my thoughts and do what I like to do.

What I have been thinking about lately is why Meredith Manor was such a good experience that I would love to have three months of again . . . or a month of.

One has to remember that I went there in 1979, when the Manor prided itself on its drop-out rate (50%) instead of its retention rate. That is, it was tough. Very tough. And it had very good riders as teachers. Like Kay Meredith was right then and there on Domino competing internationally. Denny Callan had Zenith as a young horse and was getting scary high scores on him at Training or First. And Struby wasn't so bad (can't find a link but really, she was pretty good) and was riding at Prelim then with that giant horse she had (can't remember his name). And many more (forever thanks to Jeanne Vaire Dake especially). They could and did ride. And we watched them. We watched them ride and get instructed. I actually got to see Col Lundquist teach. And Herr Schmidt ride (and the little horse, Nipper, look surprised he could do it so well). And Kay and Domino would unfailingly bring tears to my eyes with every demonstration Kerr (which they don't call Kerrs anymore).

It was great because it was riding Four days under instruction an hour and a half. Four days also with your training colt which was another hour and a half of riding. And one day of show. And you changed horses every week. And you had a pool of horses so you knew some of them and some were new to you. And you rode in a group which meant you could watch how other people handled the horse you had last week, and find out whether or not you could get your horse to do something this week that he wouldn't do last week. It was great, wonderful, timely, natural feedback on how you were doing; how good you were. It was far better feedback and meant more than the grades (which were always in line with what had really happened though) and the ribbons.

It was great because we had Mrs. M once a week and she was So were the others but she was tough in a different way. It was great because I had Holly and Benson and all three of us were good and pushed each other and also helped each other and somehow weren't threatened by the other perhaps because we each had different strengths and weaknesses and we knew what they were too.

It was great. I would love to have that level of feedback although I might not could take that level of intensity again.

Different teachers, different horses, different riders, and lots of all of them -- and no guarantee of success. But every opportunity for it.


The Garden Spot said...

I too loved MM at the time I was there. 1976-77. The hardest work I ever did at the most impressionable time of my life. Whether it was moving rocks from one ditch to another on Grebe Rd. just so they could be moved back again the next day, or sweating in Kay's class in T- arena, or listening to Ron wax poetic, or joking with Denny about the 7 words you can't say on TV, or finally mounting up on the gorgeous young grey stallion owned by Bob Evans Farms that time will forever stay with me. Not to mention living in the basement of a horse barn with 25+ other girls. The hard work and militaristic lifestyle that Kay and Ron created and shared was a demanding time but such a rewarding endeavour. As a fresh 17 yr old, it shaped my entire life's work for which I can only express my luck at dropping into a piece of their world.

CG said...

Thank you for commenting on this. I tend to write whatever it is I'm feeling and then it is gone and I forget I wrote it. Or sometimes, I think, I'm SURE, I wrote something that then I cannot find. Anyway. Looking forward to getting to "know" you.