Lita Huges and Jean Paul
On April 26, 2008 MALA held a clinic with
Hughes and John Paul Pare. The clinic was located in White Hall, Maryland at the beautiful Cedar Crest Farm.
This was the third annual MALA clinic with Lita and John Paul.
Three lipizzan stallions participated in the clinic:
- owned by Melanie Adams
261 Maestoso Samira XXl - owned by Kathleen Donnelly
Pluto ll Triesta - owned by Rita
The name of the clinic is Filling in Natures Holes.
Jean Paul and Lita share the philosophy that training is most effective when you start by identifying the weak spots
that nature gave a horse. Then you exercise the horse in a way that progressively improves the weaknesses.
The clinic format starts with a lecture and a demonstration.
The balance of the day is made up of individual lessons. Lita teaches at one end of the ring and John Paul teaches at the
other end of the ring. The auditor is always able to pick which lesson she prefers to watch.
JP & Lita started off by taking two mares from
the same breeding parents. TB dad and Warmblood mother. Both horses were gray mares, but conformationally very
different. The first "Ellie" was very fit and proportionally correct. JP would have liked her neck to be slightly longer.
He liked the angles of her haunches.
The second horse was shorter, not as conformationally
correct. She was very over weight with a boxy body type and didn't step under herself nearly as well . They went
over the leg hip alignment. They discussed exercises to strengthen the leg and different things that can be
done to help build the muscles. Even simple things like leading, in hand, on the opposite side. Also Lungeing
20 min. on the weak side first (for most horses this is the right) then 10 min on the strong side. When the mares
were being ridden the riders would switch posting leads. JP and Lita pointed out the weak spots as the posting
leads were changed. This made a good visual for everyone to understand.
Next they discussed how important in hand training
is. How it is very beneficial to the horse and riders bonding. Lita did some in hand work with Flair while JP talked about
the ground work . Then also discussed how important it is for the haunches to be under. In Flairs case the Arab comes
out and he has a tendency to almost arch his back instead of tucking his bum. Lita rode flair while JP went
over different building exercises.
After Lita's lesson was JP's "surprise horse". JP had
no idea what kind of horses was coming in the ring. He had to evaluate the horses confirmation, etc and then guess what kind
of horse it was. Well, in walks this 14'3 hand black and white (paint looking horse) JP analyzed it very consisely. He
said the conformation was good, there were just a few minor flaws. The horse stepped under himself nicely and looked
as if he would have a big gait. Although, JP was not sure what the breed was, his analysis was completely correct.
It was a gaited spotted saddle horse!
The rest of the day was reserved for individual
lessons. Every level of rider participated and various types of horses. There were green premarin rescue horses working in
hand. There was a warmblood schooling at grand prix level.
The best part of the day was watching the 3 MALA
stallions. Melanie Adams and her 4 year old, known as Frodo, presented themselves as a perfectly matched pair. It was impressive
to see how this young stallion adapted to the work asked of him and dealt with the stress of being at a clinic with new people,
horses... Rita Taggert and her stallion are a dynamic and high energy pair. JP was impressed by how much they had improved
since the clinic a year earlier. Kathleen Donnelly's stallion was rhythmic and steady in his work. JP expressed that
this stallion possessed many physical and mental traits that make a horse a pleasure to ride and train.
It was an outstanding day full of fun and learning. Melanie Adams mother was in
charge of setting up a wonderful spread of food. The food was donated by a local caterer. Other family members helped to organize
the event and take care of the task that needed to be completed. There was a silent auction that had items donated by various
MALA members. Bernadette, Debbie and Judy (MALA's president, newsletter editor and treasurer) attended the clinic.
Put this clinic on your calendar for April 2009 !!
Clinic report submitted by Melanie Adams and Judy Honey