Depends on what your current training regimen is. If you have a trainer that you love maybe double up on lessons. If there's an instructor that you admire, but maybe couldn't justify the cost before, go to them a few times. Or, consider a clinic that you were on the fence about. Whatever you choose, Congratulations!
"Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George
A little background...
I'm in grad school and have no "program" I get to ride once a week at the moment and am hoping I can up it to 3 times a week this summer. I take lessons occasionally when I feel like I can spare the money. (I do, however, own my horse... Wee Dee Trrr.)
I'm trying to be creative and think of ways to stretch this money as far as I can, so I'd love ideas from you guys.
I think that if I had a choice between bi weekly lessons and one big clinic I'd chose lessons. I progress much faster if the information overload is spread out over time and biweekly lessons works for me. I have time to ride on my own and make some progress with what I learned and then I can move forward in the next lesson. If I have a show I'll take a few back to back lessons.
Depending on what I needed the most work on I might alternate them with a dressage lesson, jumping lesson, and maybe a few XC schools.
Since you aren't close to your horse right now you could also consider finding someone with school horses and making some progress on them.
With $500 in my hand I'd go to a trainer who's close enough to be practical (and whom you like, of course) and ask THEM what $500 would pay for, after you discussed with him/her the horse's current progress and your goals. If you offer some of your time in exchange, you might be able to stretch the $500 even further, maybe a summer's worth of weekly lessons with a couple of XC schooling opportunities, for instance.
I decided to use it on local coaches. While clinics are nice, they're short term. SO mine goes to approx 20 lessons instead of 2 or 3 at a clinic. I also felt that since Indiana E.A. offered the scholarship, I would like another Indiana coach to benefit from it.
I still plan on doing some clinics, but I've earmarked this scholarship for more long term lessons.
I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!
There used to be that cabin on the way to the HHP XC course. I was there during IEA I think when someone was getting married. Although I am not sure that the prelim event horses felt the same way about the flowing wedding dress that I did, it would have been a niffty option!
Get married at the clinic! The arch thing that you stand under can be a super high single-pole verticle, your bouquet could be some flowers from a flower box in the showjumping ring, your ringbearer could be your horse, the flowergirl could be the clinician (if the clinician isn't a girl, buy 'em a wig) and so on and so forth...
As hilarious as that would be, I'm going for a slightly more traditional wedding. (Only slightly).
I also thought about doing the Dorothy Crowell clinic in March, but it seems I have a obligation that weekend too. Man, the first time I have money to to ANYTHING horsey in a while and I can't seem to make the timing fit. lol