Mundelein, IL - December 15, 2013 - It takes about two seconds for James Lala's warm personality to melt the winter chills off a clinic participant. Lala of Wellington, FL, spent the weekend teaching skills and bringing smiles to multiple groups of riders at Laura Stern's Country Ridge Stables in Mundelein, IL.
Stern has been holding the clinic for the last 26 years with Chris Kappler, who was unavailable this year. Stern has known Lala for years and asked him to step in. Lala proved to be a fresh face for the Chicago area.
Arriving just in time for a minor snowstorm and below zero wind chills, Lala went right to work warming up riders with his personality and great riding exercises. Lala is a strong believer in giving riders tools they can use to make their horses better at the shows. Instead of courses, Lala sets up drills where the rider has to make use of the ends of the ring, making the horses more rideable. Many of the exercises came from trainers like Katie Prudent, Geoff Teall and Joe Fargis, all with whom Lala has trained.
Rider Katie Boyle, 61, joked with Lala when he asked how long she had been riding. She told him she just started riding in August when in fact, she has been riding for over 40 years! Boyle is quite a story herself. She was diagnosed with stage four-breast cancer seven years ago. After a double mastectomy, she has cancer now in her bones, lungs and skull, yet she rides everyday and was ecstatic to be able to ride with Lala.
"He was funny, informative and disciplined," said Boyle. "The exercises were doable with hidden challenges," she continued. "His circle exercise at the end of the line of jumps was brilliant! Everyone felt successful. I can't wait for him to come back!"
Patricia Kolber, another adult rider, said, "None of us felt over faced but we got pushed out of our comfort zone."
Kolber was pleased to win the bouquet of faux flowers from Lala for accomplishing the test successfully, again demonstrating Lala's comic side.
South Florida's premier quarantine facility for the import and export of horses. The facility is an ultra-safe, peaceful environment with amenities like top of the line GGT footing and full service grooming. They understand the procedures for testing mares and stallions and handle the process to satisfy all U.S. entry requirements in addition to caring for the animals in quarantine.
An advocate of developing horses and riders, Lala is also starting a monthly show series at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Wellington called the Citrus Series.
"The area really needed an affordable avenue for riders to bring along young horses and showcase sale horses," said Lala.
The series runs monthly, has a low entry fee and allows do-overs! An orange sticker on the rider's number means the horse is for sale, allowing horse shoppers to find a new mount easily. The show will also include Jumpers under the lights and a Southeast Medal Final qualifier. For more information visit www.citrusseries.com.
Stern plans to take clients to Wellington to show at the Winter Equestrian Festival in February. Country Ridge clients regularly attend "AA" horse shows throughout the Midwest. The premiere facility is located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago and offers a long list of amenities including a heated 80 x 200 indoor arena and a 75 x 200 outdoor arena. Country Ridge Stables hosted the USHJA EAP Finals in 2011. For more information on Country Ridge Stables, please visit www.countryridgestables.com.
Each rider also received a large gift bag from Saddlers Row Tack Shop who also graciously sponsored Saturday's lunch.
For more information about James Lala and Wellington Quarantine: