Train the Trainers a Sooner State Success

Recovering from the Train the Trainers clinic hosted by the Western Dressage Association of Oklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma, in early May was quite an emotional experience. After all the pictures and enthusiastic comments were posted on social media, my heart swelled with pride at the success and the camaraderie that we shared. Could we have had a better or more educational three days?

WDAOK Train The Trainers Clinic

Photos Courtesy of Jeanie Eaton

We enjoyed so many great bonuses: professional photographer Jeanie Eaton joined us to document the clinic. WDAOK board member Janet Cagle then set some of Jeanie’s photos to music, resulting in a video that got more than 5,700 views on Facebook and a lot of great publicity for all involved. Eight demo riders, including a number of WDAOK board members, rode a variety of breeds quietly and kindly, and we also had a Paso Fino who helped the clinicians demonstrate how a gaited horse would navigate a western dressage test.

WDAOK Train The Trainers Clinic

Photos Courtesy of Jeanie Eaton

Cliff Swanson and Frances Carbonnel’s teaching methods were so thorough and mellow, and everyone I talked to had positive things to say about the learning environment. It helped, of course, that we were hosted by Larry Lees’ gorgeous Joyful Noise Farms, where we enjoyed amazing dust-free footing in the arena, as well as delicious catered lunches and a barn staff that could not have been better. We had a more relaxed atmosphere for learning, and after all, isn’t that the optimal way to learn? I feel certain the participants wanted for nothing.


Mike Corcoran ~ Photos Courtesy of Jeanie Eaton

I also have to give many thanks to WDAOK board member Mike Corcoran and his wife, Shasta, for the tireless work they put into pulling this off. Mike is a Train the Trainers veteran, and he knew what it would take to make this work. Kudos to both of them (as well as their wonderful Haflinger demo horses). We absolutely couldn’t have done it without them.

I’d also like to thank Kelly Fisher, our vice president, for picking up and delivering Frances and Cliff safely and on time to the airport; Holly Clanahan and Corinne Bridgeman, our secretary and treasurer who doubled as demo riders; Teresa Boling and Diane Allard, some of our newest members who very bravely volunteered to serve as demo riders and pulled it off beautifully; Dana Allen, the resident trainer at Joyful Noise who did a very educational ride on a Paso Fino; and of course WDAOK advisor Laurie Hedlund (also a TTT and Train the Judges graduate), who proved that she can pull off any type of dressage, even on a borrowed horse.

WDAOK is so grateful for this opportunity to send 25 more educated western dressage riders, trainers and enthusiastic folks out into the equestrian world to spread our word.  This girl couldn’t be more proud!

By Paula Walker, WDAOK President

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