Victoria-Saanich Cadora was delighted to host a two-day clinic on September 26-27 featuring FEI Judge General Stephen Clarke at Nikky Hannam and Samantha Reid’s brand new facility, Fairlawn Farm in Brentwood Bay, BC. Clarke is a highly-respected senior international dressage judge and trainer who travels worldwide judging major competitions and teaching. This was the first in a series of three Cadora clinics, hosted thanks to organizers Heather Cormie and Claire Vessey, who were pleased to have a variety of 16 horse/rider combinations that included Training to Fourth level, Prix St-Georges, FEI Intermediaire 1 and Under-25 FEI Grand Prix.

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 and many were looking forward to putting Mr. Clarke’s good advice into action.

Stephen Clarke 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?’

Cheers to Heather and Claire for a wonderful weekend. The home-cooked lunch for auditors and riders was a great touch. Looking forward to next year’s clinic already!