I don't know why I'm even replying, except to encourage anyone who's "on the fence" to take the plunge. I'm still recovering from surgery, and haven't been released to ride yet, otherwise I would sign up YESTERDAY!
"Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George
Ralph is a fabulous clinician and my horse and I got some really knowledge working with him. I'd strongly encourage anyone to get in if they can, even if its just one or two. He's fabulous and understands the horse so intricately. He gets two thums up from K2 & I.
OK... let me see if I can answer all the questions!
Youth? Absolutely! The lowest group level offered is Beginner Novice, so they should be able to jump at that height and be confident riding and jumping on the cross country course. We have had several teenage aged riders participate in the previous clinics here who really enjoyed the clinics!
Never evented before? SURE THING! I have schooled some tiny amounts of cross country and am participating. Also, we had at least 2 riders in the previous clinics who had hunter/jumper experience but NO cross country experience and were using the clinics to introduce themselves to Eventing. They loved it and Ralph was happy to have them there!
This is privately organized. Leslie Locke is a dressage student and good friend of mine, she rode with Ralph many years ago in this program up north. Last year she asked me if I could help her with networking to put on a clinic with him and I gladly agreed! After helping her run the two individual clinics, and being simply amazed by Ralph, Leslie and I took the plunge and together have worked out all the organization for this program.
We receive insurance through USEA, but are not an offical area program.
The rider cost is all included in the information sheets that can be found on www.denalisporthorses.com We are not doing this for ANY profit. We set the rates to cover the costs.
The objective of the program is....
"Program Mission: To provide a comprehensive and continuous education program for event riders in the Texas area, that aids riders in achieving both training and competitive goals under the consistent eye of a proven upper level rider and coach."
Clinic participants arrive on Friday. Saturday is stadium jumping/ gymnastics group lessons. Sunday is cross country group lessons. The weekend will include lectures and group meals.
This is also a great structured program for those planning a move up.
It is free to audit and we encourage it! However lectures and meals are limited to clinic participants.
I don't want this to get shut down because it is considered advertising. We are not making money off this, but still... rules are rules and I never really know what the limits are. So please EMAIL ME if you need more specifics.
I am SOOOOO excited about Ralph Hill returning to Area V for a series of clinics this fall and spring!! We are going to have a fantastic time!!!
Let me tell you a bit about the formation of the Texas Rider Development Program.....But first I need to start in Minnesota. I moved to Texas in 2007 from Minnesota where Ralph taught a similar, serial clinic program for several years in a row. However, back in MN, the RDP program was VERY competitive. The program was always over-subscribed and riders had to not only apply to the program, but we also had to send in a video demonstrating our riding abilities, plus complete an extensive application regarding our riding and competitive goals.
I was always eager to ride in this program. I watched riders and horses in the area greatly improve over time as a result of riding with Ralph. The first year I was rejected. I was disappointed of course, but I attended the clinic series anyway (as a non-rider), attending lectures, jump crewing, and getting to see Ralph in action, on the ground. While I was sad not to be riding...I learned A LOT from the ground! The following 5 years I was admitted as a rider.
During that time Ralph helped me move from beg. novice to prelim on a horse that was not expected to do much! After each clinic I found myself SO MUCH MORE CONFIDENT and my horse SO MUCH HAPPIER!! And...after each clinic...I think both me and my horse "Worthy" had smiles on our faces! Because Ralph had worked with us on a consistent basis, we knew us well...I mean REALLY well....for example---my good and bad habits, my horse's tendencies to drift right in combinations because of his size and how my right leg just didn't work sometimes, and how Worthy and I often tended to go on auto-pilot and bicker like an old married couple! He knew us inside and out...no question....there was no hiding from Ralph's quick, careful, and accurate eye. During my time with Ralph it became clear to me that he is a truly gifted clinician and horseman!! His enthusiasm and love for the sport, the horses, and teaching are nothing if not contagious!!
When I moved to Texas, I was desperately missing Ralph! Unfortunately that was the same year as his near-fatal riding accident. But I knew if he pulled through his injuries, it would not be long before he tended to his calling and be out teaching and riding again. I was so happy and thankful each time I heard he was positively and progressively regaining his health!
One day last year during a dressage lesson with my good friend and dressage trainer, Sarah Denham, I was lamenting about how I missed Ralph and how I felt my jumping and confidence were going steadily downhill w/o my regular summer clinics with Ralph...I call it my Ralph Fix. I asked her if she would help me with a clinic if I could convince Ralph to come to Texas for a weekend. Thankfully she agreed, even though--as a dressage rider--she didn't know who Ralph was What a great sport!
I called Ralph out of the blue one day last November and left a message. I was like a kid in a candy shop when I saw "Ralph Hill" show up on my caller ID a few hours later. Having never organized a clinic before, I nervously asked Ralph if he would consider coming to Texas for a 2-day clinic in January. In typical Ralph-style he replied, "Sure, I'd love to come down there and help you guys!" Somehow Sarah and I managed to attend to all the details of the clinic. And we were relieved to have the clinic oversubscribed!! Phew! We had such a successful clinic in January at Pine Hill, that we asked Ralph to come back again in March. He did, and we had a second successful clinic!
Sarah even liked him so much that she went to Florida later in the year to ride with Ralph
After all the clinics I have ridden in (not just those with Ralph, but other big names too) I think Ralph's most impressive quality is that he is able to "read" horses and riders like nobdy else. Horses seem to speak to him. One of the students in the Jan. and March clinics said "Ralph must be part horse!" I think she was right!! Ralph has had a LONG eventing career, has ridden every type of horse imaginable, and is a wonderfully supportive coach. I am humbled each time I ride with him and absorb his lifetime of expereince and insight.
So, our goal now is to bring the program that was so successful in MN to Texas. We have arranged for Ralph to come to Texas four times this winter/spring to teach a series of clinics and coaching. Our goal is to fill the series with the same riders and horses. I know from experience that this is a FANTASTIC and UNIQUE opportunity to improve yourself as a rider, horseman (or horsewoman), and competitor. And...your horse will be happy about it too
Unfortunately this clinic series did not fill. We have extended the deadline until the 15th and are filling single clinic spots on a first come first serve basis (if you were already on the wait list for a clinic, you had first grab, and will notify you soon to confirm your spot). If you applied for the series, you are in.
We really want this to be a success, but may have to alter the schedule to make it possible. We have had several anchor riders drop out and others with last minute changes of availability. We will not be cancelling all the clinics, but will have to alter the program to be financially feasable if we do not fill each clinic with individual clinic participants. SO, if you have any interest in riding with Ralph Hill NOW is the time to get a clinic spot.
I don't know why I'm even replying, except to encourage anyone who's "on the fence" to take the plunge.
Same here! (Minus the surgery thing). Go, GO, GO!! If even the slightest bit possible. I can't say enough positive things about Ralph as a clinician.
Originally Posted by mackandblues
Even if you have never evented before?
Absolutely!! Ralph Hill was my very first introduction into eventing from an all-dressage background. We did his clinic at Lamplight in IL years ago. I learned so much, gained so much confidence, and had a complete blast. You will not regret it!
Every one of them had that look of a girl infatuated with horses, the happy, fated look of a passenger setting sail on the Titanic.