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April 10, 2015: First Day of the Instructor Clinic

Today was the first day of the instructor clinic. I got up early in order to assist Anita in tending to the 65-or-so horses on the premises. I later said to the other clinic attendees that this task was like running a marathon before I was fully awake. Anita moved fast and with considerable assuredness. She gave all the horses grain and hay in the blink of an eye. I was running fast, but could barely keep up with her.

I was, I soon realized, totally out of my horsey element. I was told to put a rope halter on a very tall thoroughbred, so as to move it from one pen to another. I was not able to do this without assistance. It wasn’t the size of the horse that flummoxed me, but rather,

that I had to deal with the rope halter. My horses all wear leather and nylon halters, so my determining how I might tie the halter knot mystified me.

I never did get the chance to explain this to Anita. Rather, I was chided for having attempted to put the halter on in a way that was different than what is usually done. Oh Oh. Anita may have thought that she had my number – she didn’t, really, but I didn’t think that it was worth taking the time to explain this to her. After all, there were horses to ride and centered riding to talk about.

The morning portion of the clinic started at 9 a.m. We all gathered in the shelter area central to the main area and the horse pens. There were 4-5 instructors, and 4-5 instructor trainees. Susan Harris, the clinician, had us introduce ourselves to one another, and then she gave a brief overview of centered riding, which was the what, when, where, why and hows related to this organization.

We were to ride the school horses in the afternoon. I’d previously said that I wanted to ride an ornery pony, and this is exactly what transpired.

Peter Parker – that was the pony’s name – and I didn’t immediately hit it off. He repeatedly pulled the reins out of my hands when I asked him to stand, and he stalled an equal amount when I asked him to move on. Someone suggested that I use a crop, and I, who was by now getting quite irritated, readily agreed to this.

I whumped on him the way I whump onto Raudi, and he shot off at a gallop, and raced all the way back to where everyone was standing.

When, finally, Peter Parker stopped, I sat on his back and waited for additional instructions. These instructions, which came from Susan Harris, were comprehensible and to the point. Susan used considerable imagery, for example, she suggested that I envision a ball, and let it drop into my pelvis. I also pictured myself growing upward and downward, like a spruce tree. This worked, as did the other suggestions. Well, it was a long day – we’ll just have to see what’s on the agenda for tomorrow.

94. 4/11/15: A Conversation with Peter Parker

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