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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fabulous Weekend with Dennis Callin!

Team MP from left
Katy Peterson, Ellen Eckstein, ST & MP, Nancy Bareilles, Dennis Callin

We had a great weekend training session with our international coach Dennis Callin. The clinic was held at Los Suenos in Carmel Valley. We arrived on Friday after the four hour trek from Winters to be just in time for the post lessons cocktail hour. As always, there was delectable treats and fantastic wines. Susan Baxter even brought me a glass as I was unloading my rig. God bless Susan B!

Everyone was there to ride in the clinic. Katy P(MP's owner), Ellen E (our national coach), Nancy B, Betty S, Susan B, Odie C, Katie D, Katey A, Lauren R, Jane S, Nancy J and many more who weren't riding. The only people missing were horse-show-husband and Eva! There's always a next time.....

Anyway, back to the clinic. Dennis was in top form. And when I say top form I mean demanding and attentive. But in a good way. The way a coach should be. We started off Saturday discussing competition expectations. He said it was great that I got a 71% at my first show, but the top para dressage rider in the world is currently receiving 80% +. Underlying message: if I want to be competitive internationally, I need to do a lot better than 71%. OK, message received, ego crushed, training needed.

So how did that translate over to my lessons? Well, lets just say I wanted to pass out or throw up after my first lesson on Sat. I think I got 2 mini walk breaks (really equal to just one) out of a 45 min lesson. And Dennis kept wanting more and more. Of course, MP was fine with this, she gives 100% all the time and demands it in return. Just like Dennis! I like to be pushed so after I caught my breath, took a nap and had another glass of wine, I felt great about the first session.

Day two brought out the competitor in me. I had a chat with MP before my lesson and told her that I would give 100% (even though my body felt like I had been run through Marine Corps drills the day before). She seemed to be on the same page, ready to give another 100%. As was Dennis. As I was just starting to warm up, he was trying to sneak in a little lunch. He was in mid-bite when he put down his sandwich and starting coaching my warm up. "Yup, today is going to be a good day," I thought, "he's not even going to let me get away with a half-ass warm-up." Holy cow did his warm up pay off! MP was right on the money from the start. Basically the rest of the lesson went super. I got a few more walk breaks than on Sat (Dennis' way of showing praise) and I got a lot more kudos. Everyone who watched thought the lesson was great and Dennis said that if I ride like that I have a chance at medaling. We still have a long way to go, but I definitely have the support system to have a good shot at the World Champs next year and the WEG in 2010.

With Dennis, you always get your moneys worth. He's a great coach. I like that he's always wanting more, but knows when to say "there you go, good job." We are so fortunate to have him come every other month. And the bottom line for me is that I just don't want to go to the world champs or the WEG. And I just don't want to medal. I want to win. I don't like losing, and I don't like second or third place. I'm not going to go aggro or anything if I don't win, I'm sure I'll enjoy the experience and all that. But I am going to prepare to give that guy who's getting the 80%'s a run for his money.

Thank you to the Los Suenos partners: Susan Baxter, Nancy Bareilles, Erin Branson and Rennie Ediger. The clinic was fantastic, the party was fun, and the accommodations were superb! And thank you to Jane Smiley and her beau for the wonderful home cooked dinner on Sat. I can't wait 'til the next clinic!


Eva said...

I love getting props! I'm so sorry I missed it! Next time, Mr. Final and I are coming down with you! Great picture of all you guys too!

dressageprincesses said...

I agree in every was a fabulous clinic, with tons of learning going on, and the coolest people to spend the weekend with!