Last weekend, Brett and I drove down to Wilton to check out Sandy Savage's new barn. We were impressed. We arrived earlier than expected so we parked the car and went to look for Sandy. A man in a dusty ExxonMobile teeshirt walked up, with coils of pipe over his shoulder and a valve in his hand. He peered at us from under his baseball hat and introduced himself as Tad, husband of the new barn owner, general construction dude on the weekend, tech exec in SF during the week. Brett immediately liked him (we both did, but Brett recognized a kindred spirit). Tad said that his wife rides dressage and had always wanted horse property. When her favorite horse died (freak pasture accident) he distracted her by offering to look at horse property with her... and here they were, watching the previous owners load up a moving van while they worked on the property.
There are three trainers at the barn (Clay Station Ranch) -- one for eventing, one for a western discipline, and Sandy for dressage. Tad pointed us in the direction of Sandy's barn, identifying it as barn 5. We found the barn, and a woman with her horse in the cross-ties. I had noticed someone riding in the covered arena when we drove in, and here she was. A hot, sweaty, dusty blond woman with a hot sweaty chestnut. It was in the low 90s in Wilton on Saturday. She was a stronger woman (or crazier) than me; I can't ride in that kind of heat. It turns out she was Tad's wife -- super nice, and friendly. She heard about Sandy from a friend of hers who rides with Sandy, and was happy to find a good trainer since she was relocating from the Bay area. Meanwhile, Sandy had heard that Clay Station had changed owners and that the new owner was looking for a resident trainer. They hit it off and Sandy moved over to be the trainer at Clay Station. Her barn is already full -- it looks like all her clients and their horses followed her over.
Sandy arrived (at our scheduled meeting time) and gave us a tour. The new owners put in a beautiful dressage court with felt and sand footing. Brett and I drooled over that big time. The court sits on top of a small hill, with a view to forever. Sandy said that eventually they will plant some trees to provide shade to the court and the pylons had not yet arrived. Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous court.
Sandy also gave me a flyer. She is going to do a series of monthly weekend clincs. Each clinic will focus on some aspect of training and include private rides with Sandy each day. The workshops will be limited to six horses. I am planning to attend the September workshop.
For those local folks (or not so local) who are interested in the workshops, the schedule for 2015 is:
July 10-12 -- Your position affects your horse's movement. Apply your aids for a harmonious partnership.
Aug 14-16 -- Presenting a test, optimize your warmup, tips for riding a great test.
Sept 25-27 -- Transitions to improve self-carriage and balance
Oct 23-25 -- Dressage is for everyone! How it can help your trail horse, hunter, event horse, etc.
Nov 20-22 -- Is your half-halt effective? Explore and demystify.
Here is a link to Sandy's website if you are interested.