We did it. Our first big name trainer type of clinic and I have mixed feelings about it.
Charles is/was my trainer's mentor a hundred million years ago and she recommended I ride with him. It would be an experience I figured and decided to cough up the $$$ and get er done. It'll look good on the burgeoning resume I suppose at the least so we did it.
The weather was ridiculously (Texas) cold and so we were bundled up. Vana stayed on the trailer munching hay and chilling out. I won't lie, I went in there to snuggle up in the warmth a few times myself. The rest of the time I watched lessons and waited my turn as we were last. I felt like Charles did a really good job with the amateur people and with the greener horses the most in this clinic. There was another Grand Prix level rider and I watched her lesson and honestly, I didn't get a lot of WOW out of it. He has a keen eye and picked up on a few small errors they were doing and he easily got her straightened out.
By the time I was set to ride, I knew I should have brought Jade and not Vana but here we were. I tacked up Vana and we went to warmup. Vana was a rock star for the 5 minutes we were able to work and then Charles asked us for a short bio and off we went. I knew Charles would have us on a "loose rein" and working on other things and while I'm not afraid at all to ride this way, Vana was an ass about it.
No rein? Pfft. No kicking forward? Hahaha!
So yeah, Vana totally took advantage of the lengthy "warmup" because unless he gets a quick reminder to bend and move forward he's going to be sluggish and head waggling. Which made my hands waggle. Which made Charles think I had crap hands. Which meant that I ended up riding with one hand on my pommel and one on my inside thigh. With Vana still head waggling and not moving forward. We weren't able to do the exercises that Charles wanted us to do despite me giving it a go. He finally proclaimed Vana as "not understanding the exercise" and released us to something new.
I woke Vana up and he quickly realized we were working. Charles I felt wasn't expecting us to be straight in our changes so he had us come down a quarter line and do "however many felt good." We did about 5 changes. :P Bad I know, but I was ready to do something fancier and wake my sloth!horse up. Charles felt the changes were really nice and we nailed our straightness.
Overall, I think if you have a horse that needs relaxation and to be left alone to figure out their balance and rhythm, Charles rocks. If you already have that but need to work on you, yep, this would be good. Not saying I'm perfect in any way, but I'm already quite aware of these things from all my problem horses and the insane learning curve we've done over the past year and was hopign for "more" out of my session with him.
No matter, I definitely do not regret taking up the opportunity although I won't be in a hurry to clinic again with him myself.