I have been in attendance of a few clinics in preparation for the Makeover Competition. My entire focus right now is on strategy—who can help me find my horse, how I should train it, and what is the competition going to be like?
I first attended a clinic taught by Stuart Pitman, the brainchild of the Makeover, in Saratoga, New York. This is the heart of the Northeast’s thoroughbred country and at this point I was still looking for a horse, so I thought I might get a lead. A few of my previous customers I have trained and sold horses for promised to be there to watch. Plus, Stuart has a background in eventing and a wealth of experience in the development of thoroughbred sport horses. I thought it would help me learn more about the competition, how it takes place, in what conditions, and what happened the last time.
I rode Call Me Larry, a horse that I have had for several years and developed as a show hunter. He has a legendary past as a horse that raced to raise money for breast cancer research. He is big on personality, not so big on talent, but has come to be a staple of my lesson program. He is a horse that can wow people with his good looks and be counted on for a steady performance.
Anyway, we did all that we planned—networked, smooched, and performed at very high levels while Stuart provided inside information on what it is like to compete there, what caused him to form the event, and why they have changed the format to focus on professionals.
I came home with some networking leads, further strategies, snd little in the way of training techniques. But maybe the most advantageous thing I have done so far, was ride with Bernie Traurig who practically told me word-for-word how to prepare my horse for the hunter and jumper portions of the Makeover Competition. Is this cheating? I think not. I’m big on strategy, (but it felt a little like cheating).
Making a presence at these kinds of thing is important—strategic—which is why I showed up. Strategy is a huge part of competition and I intend to compete.