Greetings fellow ducks! I’m assuming you all have experienced the rain filled misery that I have. This sure has been a wet spring! It has been a struggle to get my horses rode during this constant downpour, but I have somehow managed. I attended the Sharon Camarillo Barrel racing and Horsemanship clinic on June 3rd to 5th and left feeling confident and enabled with knowledge and tools! I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the clinics rigorous nature as it whipped myself and my horses back into top shape! I am planning on attending another Sharon clinic in September at Thorsby and highly recommend it to any and all interested in expanding their knowledge and fine tuning their horsemanship! Sharon is in my opinion a highly intelligent, talented and educated clinician. I hold only the highest level of respect for her and her methods. For any information on the clinic you can refer to the website www.sharoncamarillo.com.
The first day of the clinic began with sign in where we completed a form with information of our horses age, gender and areas that we would like to work on throughout the clinic. Then we warmed up and Sharon and her talented and beautiful daughter Stormy, went over each of our tack individually, checking proper fit and recording what we used. Once everyone had their equipment checked we made a timed run, which was recorded for analysis. She then worked with us individually as we completed various exercises with the barrels. We completed our day by watching our videos and listening to Sharon’s critique of our runs. She pointed out the areas where we can improve and made recommendations on bits for both competition and training. She listed at least two options for competition bits and if she felt that what we were using was working she encouraged us to continue using it. While Sharon does have her own line of bits with riensman, she does not pressure you to purchase her equipment and allows you to try some of the bits she brings with her, helping you decide whether or not you would like to invest in the equipment. Once we had reviewed all of our videos and discussed the changes Sharon and Stormy encouraged us all to go to dinner in town to get to know each other and talk about the clinic. It was nice to spend time socializing with each other as well as Sharon and Stormy.
Our second day began at 9 o’clock with an outline of the days agenda. We worked our horses in the suggested training equipment and could immediately feel the difference in our horses responsiveness. We worked various courses from the standard three barrel pattern to a four corners exercise; involving six working stations all worked to one direction at a time. Sharon and Stormy guided us to use proper hand and leg cues as well as proper body position. Most of the work was done at a collected and extended trot, allowing us to learn the transition involved in rating and collecting for the turn. We concluded the day with barrel work in our training equipment and proceeded to dinner in town again.
The third and final day of the clinic we worked our horses in our competition equipment, doing faster work at a lope and gallop. This allowed us to work on problem correction within our barrel pattern. If for example, a horse was ducking in or shouldering into a barrel, we did a reverse arc by moving them off our inside leg and rein away from the barrel before circling again. We worked on our hand placement through the pattern and learned our different barrel points; rate point, turn point and finish point. At our rate point we stopped or slowed our horses straight with our outside rein. Then continued on to our turn point, bumping our horses in the inside rib cage to help them get in position for the turn. At the back side of the barrel we dropped our outside rein and went to the horn, reaching our finish point before proceeding onto the next barrel. If our horses or ourselves were not in proper body position we were to continue circling the barrel until we were. We concluded the day with a timed, recorded run. Afterwards, we watched our videos and reviewed the progress made over the clinic and talked about our plan to keep improving. Certain exercises were recommended for some riders and horses, to help promote consistency and aid in problem correction. Finally awards were presented to those with the three fastest times. Melissa Harding won first with a time of 14.6. I placed second on my mare Cacao with a 15.0, a significant improvement from my run the first day at a time of 15.8. On my gelding Black I placed third with a 16.0, a slight improvement from my initial run at a time of 16.1 which I knocked a barrel during. Everyone left the clinic happy with the progress that both themselves and their horses had made, though all of us were sad to see the weekend end.
I made some new friends and fine tuned my skills. It was encouraging to know that I had the tools to fix any problems that arose with my horses and the knowledge to continue growing and improving as a rider and horsewoman. Overall I would say the clinic was a great success and the money was well spent. While the cost of Sharon’s clinics can be a little higher I believe it is worth every penny. I am saving up for my next chance to ride under her tutelage and cant wait for September! I hope you all have enjoyed this bit of insight into the clinic and hopefully it helps you decide whether or not you would like to invest your money as well. I have spent enough time at the computer today and am headed outside to ride, take care and ride with a purpose!