One of our volunteer riders, Sue, had this to say about riding Pepper in the most recent Joel Connor Clinic:
“I was so excited to get to participate in the riding portion of the June, 2022 Joel Conner Clinic at SAFE. It was my first chance at this, and I was very fortunate to ride Pepper, who really made it all possible. She is a young mare, a bit green, but with a ton of try. As a long time hunter jumper rider, I came to this clinic very aware of aids that I would instinctively do incorrectly for this discipline, too much contact, too much leg, too much outside rein; the list goes on. I tried hard to listen and make no assumptions about what the correct aid was, just follow instructions.
Happily, Pepper was a champ at working through this with me. I know that I must have confused her at times, but she never got frustrated, just did her best to do as I asked. She has a lovely trot and moves up and down from it nicely. I think we improved at riding a line at the walk and trot. We need to work on maintaining the line better at the lope, but I am confident that issue is more mine than hers, and will improve as I get a better feel for that transition. I learned to execute hind quarters and front quarters from the saddle for the first time which was fun. She is happy to accept a soft feel, and I am learning what level of contact is appropriate there. All in all, I came away thinking that the alternate riding disciplines are more alike than different, and have a bit more trust in my instincts.
I see a bright future for Pepper as a riding horse. She feels very safe and accepting, and definitely wants to please. Thank you to Terry for the opportunity, to Joel for working through this with me, and of course to sweet Pepper.”