Don't hate me because I was able to sneak off yet again to do something "cowgirly"!
Monday my friend Lisa and I took off with my 2 boys in tow at 6am in hopes of being in Montgomery by 8.We almost made it on schedule and got there at 9 by the time we stopped for fuel and a bathroom break!
When we arrived,we saw that there were about 20-25 riders and two clinicians riding under the covered pen of the W.O. Crawford arena.Pretty good turn out for a Monday! It was chilly under the pen's cover so everyone was bundled up in layers and the warm breath from the working horses could be seen in the cool air.
B.F. Yeates and Brian Sumrall,both from Texas were the clinicians and although I couldn't hear them since there were no microphones,they looked to be having the students jogging slow circles all around the pen.
Soon I met the man in charge of the whole thing,Tommy Fuller. I have previously never met the man except for being his friend on Facebook! He came right up to me and said he knew my entire name!He said he's been keeping track of me... Scary huh?
Tommy is the president of the Alabama Stock Horse Association which is an affiliate for the American Stock Horse Association.This was my first time to attend anything they have put on and I was intrigued. I had planned on mainly watching and listening but Tommy heard that I had taken my camera and asked that I send anything I took to him for promos. Hmmm....how about pics for exchange for the next clinic? And thus I became a working girl rather than just a spectator!
Tommy said I could have full run of the place and stand where ever I wanted so that i could both hear and take pics.But to be honest-I was scared to get in the way of B.F.! He was near 80 but I think he wouldn't hesitate to run a girl over!
Soon the riders split into groups with half of them staying with Brian to work on reining and the other half going out to work with B.F. to work on Ranch Pleasure. I followed the latter because the lighting was much better out in the outdoor pen!
The boys were turned loose for the most part and Carson attached himself to AL ASHA director Tony. (I can't remember his last name and he's not on FB!)
Anyways,I was super excited to be able to listen to both of these fine horsemen! They taught all the same stuff that I grew up listening to as well as what my most recent mentor (Tom McBeath) teaches: "Slow down.Slow your thoughts in order to slow your movements.Don't spur just to spur or yank just to yank.Guide your horse rather than pull.Lift rather than pull.Ask and wait...Set your horse up for success....Ride them to places rather than on the rail..."
All great stuff and it was very validating to hear it from these experts!
Sadly I was not able to stay for the entire clinic since I had to trek back home 2 hours and do barn chores but what I was able to watch was great!
For a great article on what the Alabama Stock Horse Association is all about:
To see more pics from that day: