May 2001 Gigi Nutter Clinic

By Elizabeth Hunter

July/August 2001 issue of the MADCTA Newsletter

press_101.jpgOn May 5th and 6th, 2001, Carol and Randy Alford were gracious enough to host the Gigi Nutter clinic. Gigi was up to her usual: working all participants into aerobic exhaustion. Gigi expects mental and physical toughness from her students - both animal and human.

I asked some of the participants a few weeks after the clinic what they still were using in their riding and what they thought of the clinic in general. These were some of the responses:

First time participant Carol Estes stated: "I am using everything she taught me still today! Before I ride l think- 'Ride your best everyday! ' No more "playing" around for me. What really struck me about Gigi was how she saw me as a student. She instinctually knew how to approach me individually, and the best way to teach me. I felt she really knew me as a person and how to get her point over to me - when to push me and when to be easy. She cleared some concepts up for me that l had been working on. I feel I have a concrete understanding of these concepts - they belong to me!"

Cindy McCall, a second-time participant, received this impression: "I like riding with Gigi because she is always pushing you to try new things which you can succeed at. The clinics always leave me with a high accomplishment level rather than a high frustration level. I also come away with the message that I have to ride and direct the horse. Just sitting on him does not get the job done!"

Nancy Hayes, another first time participant, provided a similar evaluation: "I really enjoyed Gigi's Clinic. I think it was one of the best lessons I have had. The first thing she said was that she was glad that we went forward for our warm-up. I told her that I had trouble with the canter. We did some walk-trot work but she did not stop until she addressed the canter. I felt like she was riding every step with me. She explained what was going on and gave me points on what to do to correct it. She was very positive and gave me hints to work on for moving up. I am on the list for her next clinic, and I can't wait."

Lucy Moore adds: "The point that Gigi made with me that I have been contemplating since the clinic is [that] submission is the first step of every ride - if you take up the reins and squeeze and there is not an immediate reaction, then the horse is not really broken."

Carol Alford shares: "Every morning before I get on Bud we have a little 'talk.' I tell him my goals for the day and by rubbing his forehead I can get him to nod in agreement. As soon as I am mounted l begin replaying portions of my past Gigi Nutter clinic lessons. Take-take-give-take-give, tiny half-halts at the walk; mixing up the daily routine, and most importantly, remembering that inside my warmblood/quarter horse's chunky body is a Trakehner trying to break free and power on. Thanks to Gigi, Bud and I are becoming great dance partners."

From my own experience, the point that I ran to write down in my journal was that "the trot and quality of the trot is more important than the exercise. Let the trot flow (something I think of always now as I trot around). Let it flow to keep me going forward and my horse through his back. l have been a student of Gigi's for several years now. It is so much fun to talk to people after they have had a lesson with her who have the feelings about her as I do. I feel that she is on that horse with me. She knows exactly what I am feeling and nothing can be hidden from her (trust me, I've tried)! One might as well be perfectly honest because she has x-ray vision. After riding with Gigi, I know that she pulled the best out of both me and my horse. My confidence soars as a rider. The horses seem to feel it too because I can confidently say that at Gigi's my horse performs his best. At any rate, a lesson from Gigi leaves one exhausted from all the hard work. Riding with Gigi is about riding well, solving problems, and above all, learning riding concepts that mature one as a rider. Thus, no one can feel anything but good about himself, his horse, and his passion.