I went up to Pomona to Equine Affaire this past Saturday and Sunday. I immersed
myself in it and had such a good time! What a deal: only $15 per day and I
got to hear many well known professionals and trainers. I just soaked it
in. These were first class presentations, and it was so interesting to hear
several in the two days, and notice their similarities and differences.
I saw John Lyons for the first time. What a nice guy, and nice to his
horses, too. I saw GaWaNi Pony Boy. I got a good introduction to driving
from Muffy Seaton. I learned the basics about barrel racing from Marlene
McRae. I enjoyed finally seeing some Centered Riding demonstrations
(something I'd wanted to do) from Susan Harris. Julie Goodnight gave some
great presentations on natural aids. I got up to speed on saddle fitting
and various bridles. I saw endless products; everything you can imagine,
well presented. Even a type of horse I'd never heard of: the Gypsy Cob. I
learned a LOT about jumping from Olympic medal winner Greg Best. Yet
another example of round penning from Richard Shrake. And the best
demonstration of a cow horse that I have ever seen from Ted Robinson. Very
This was probably about 20% of what was offered. I had to pick and choose
and miss a lot of other things. Equifest really exceeded my expectations.
Truly a real bargain.
I came away with a lot of new information that I have already begun to use
from all of these fine people.
But I saved my favorite for last: as you know, I have a gaited horse. I
was fortunate enough to see three presentations of Elizabeth Graves, who
specializes in training all kinds of gaited horses. I was in heaven! First
of all, she is VERY kind to horses. Now that I am training my own young
Icelandic, when I watch these trainers I notice whether or not I would be
willing to have them round pen her! Most of them I felt comfortable with
this idea, but Ms. Graves would be my very first choice. I know that my
horse would never feel confused, resentful or ridiculed by her. I would
There's more. She is a really good teacher. She explained some difficult
concepts about gaited horses in a very understandable way with lots of
examples. The information went in a lot of good directions and I came away
with a much better overall picture of how to take good care of my gaited
horse as she moves on through the years, so she is likely to be healthy and
sound into her 30's.
She took a lot of areas that I was foggy in and made them simple. I am
going to get her videos and enjoy those. She not only knows how to help
horses gait well, she can get the owners to understand it, too. I am really
looking forward to seeing her again, in a clinic or whatever.
Let me know if you have any questions about this year's Equine Affaire. I'm sure
I'll go next year. I see it as a way to learn a lot FAST.
I had the opportunity to work w/Liz at her booth at EA this past weekend and see all of her clinics and talks. She was tremendously popular! We were swamped for a solid hour or more after each clinic.
Dedicated to equine excellence, Liz Graves travels the world educating
horses and (more importantly) people on working together peacefully and
humanely. Her list of credentials boasts 20 years of experience as a
multi-breed judge throughout the U.S. and Canada, certified instructor,
life-long competitor, multi-published author and world-renowned clinician.
For more details, check out www.LizGraves.com. One quick look and you'll
have to book your reservations!
I went to the Liz Grave clinic this weekend and it was awesome!! She does smaller clinics around the country at different barns and check out her website lizgraves.com to see if she's coming to a barn near you. I traveled 3 hours to see her and I would double that again because it was so helpful. I have a TWH who is a retired padded show horse. He is a great horse who knows his gaits and is surprisingly sound. Liz helped with conformation and keeping him sound for many years. The clinic was interesting also because there were 10 gaited horse of different conformations, breeds, tempermants, and riders. It was very helpful to go thru each horse and rider and evaluate riding technique, tack, and conformation vs. gaitability(if this is a word) of the horse.
On top of all the info, Liz is a rare, sincere, and compassionate person who will make you want to cry and smile at the same time. Her understanding and love for the horse is incredible. She walks into the arena and every single horse she touches visibly relaxes in that instant. It's really incredible!!
Because of this clinic, I will have a happy, sound horse for 10+ additional years...did I mention he was padded for 12 of his 14 years!?! This was before I bought him of course.
I took my Foxtrotter to a Liz Graves clinic last weekend in Pennsylvania.
OMYGOSH! It was awesome! I knew what a RW was and the dreaded pace; but I
didn't really understand the rack and knew even less about the foxtrot. The
best thing was that Liz explained them all so clearly.
It was also great how
she showed us what to look for in conformation and how that affected the
gaits. And she was so focused on each horse, it's specific needs, problems,
and strong points.
I learned more in those two days than I have at any
other horse clinic, expo, etc. OF course, this was the first time I ever
brought a horse to anything like that. But even my husband was impressed.
We learned things that will apply to our TWH yearling mare and my Racking
I was going to try to sell my Foxtrotter if I couldn't get those smooth
gaits from him. He's a great horse, but my back can't tolerate jarring
motion. Now I know what to do and how to make it most comfortable for him
too. It's great! Thanks to Liz and to the lady to put the time and effort
into organizing the event.
If you ever get the chance to go to one of her clinics, you should do it.
The hubby and I just got back from the Liz Graves clinic in
Klamath Falls and I must say we sure had a good time. There
were Paso Finos, Morgan, Walker, Racking Horse, Icelandic,
Foxtrotters and perhaps others I forgot. It was a most enjoyable
couple of days with a nice group of mellow people who
appeared to be careful & thoughtful horsemen (mostly women
actually). This was only the third time the hubby rode his
Foxtrotter in public and he was pretty nervous the first day. I'm glad Liz
was patient with them. By the way, why don't more people drive their
gaited horses?? It's a blast and I saw a lot of potential carriage
horses there. I would have loved to hook up that Icelandic!
Anyhow, it was a great time and we both learned a lot and met
some really nice people.
Just have to take the time to rave
about the clinics that Liz Graves presented at the Equine Affaire in
SoCalif. Her total delight in NOT being in -0 degrees was a humerous
start to her lecture. It only got better.
The information was
wonderful, her enthusiasm for her subject was easy to read.
the riders in her next 3 clinics...she was gracious, kind and really
tuned in to both horses and riders. She seemed to give about 10
compliments to each of her slight criticisms, never making the rider
feel bad or self conscious...at least any more so than riding in
front of a couple of hundred people would make you...I learned so
much, from saddles to saddle fit, from bits and the uses to the use
of lavender to calm horse and rider...I now have my very own litle
bottle of lavender to carry around with me, my horses love it, bio
mechanics for fasinating.
Liz Graves was also kind enough to invite
gaited horse owners to meet after the close for the day at the
Sheraton hotel right behind the fair grounds. She was just as kind
and gracious on a 1 to 1 basis as she was presenting her information.
I own 3 MFT, I also use the Parelli training method, when I mentioned
this, Liz told us about a person who rode in one of her clinics with
two carrot sticks...so wonderful to find a trainer with such an open
I will be attending her two clinics here in Northern Calif. I'm
sorry to have gone on and on, but rest assured I could still add
more...Thanks so much for reading this,
What I like about Liz most of all, is that she is sincere, is very much into education and learning more than she knows today, and truly considers the horse.
A quote: "I may have different advice five years from now as I continue to learn..." ~~Liz Graves
She is selfless in her work for the benefit of the horse.
And Liz's clinic schedule can be seen here: http://lizgraves.com/clinics.html. They fill up fast! If you can't ride, please make time to audit the clinic. To get more out of the clinic situation, you may want to review her videos ahead of time.