Hi everyone, Darolyn Butler here in Brazil on a borrowed e mail address of my friend Sylvia Vaccari. Sylvia & I met a little over a year ago during the Endurance Competition of the World Nature Games in Parana, Brazil. She visited me this summer and rode DB Razzmatazz 50 Miles at the Old Dominion, & then she started working with the University of the Horse in Sorocaba, Brazil, to have me down for a clinic.
I arrived last Thursday in Sao Paulo and was met by Sylvia and the Dean of the University, Aluisio Marins. After a short, but very scenic drive to Sorocaba, we arrived at Sylvia`s beautiful home & small acreage which houses her 5 horses as well. I met the horses of course, then crashed for awhile to catch up on the jet lag. They are only 5 hours different, but..... coincidently, I had been on the same flight as my good friend, Brazilian, Dr. Marcello Grilo, (the team Vet for Chili for Dubai, I won`t even try to explain), & also co-hosting Day III of my six day clinic. Naturally we talked most of the night flight about the clinic, endurance training/conditioning & strategy for his team in Dubai.
Yes, I said SIX DAY clinic!! Boggled me at first, but then I assigned Marcello to one day for Vet stuff, & Sharon Saare one day for Saddle Stuff, & with slides, (taken all of 1 week to 1 day before departure), & my 15 year old video tape ;-), (lord, was my hair really that black & was I really that skinny???), Its pretty doggone easy to fill several days watching & chatting about Endurance.
At the end of Saturday, Day I, we all took a short ride in the beautiful Brazilian countryside. We practiced sponging, (Angie.... U would have been proud!!!.... I`ve been a big fan of the hour glass synthetic sponge for a long time, but one has to have a bio-thane leash... now really. ) We practiced flying or emergency dismounts, & talked alot about tailing, but no one was brave enough to try. Including myself, as I was mounted on a 15.3 hand chestnut stallion that was ethel powered. He put up with the flying dismount, thought I shouldn`t push my luck after that.
I must admit, however, that I am a bit pre-occupied.... Thursday evening I was informed that my little ranch back in Texas is flooding, once again, in less than 4 weeks. Even worse, my daily reports are that the water is 2-3 feet higher than it was in October. My barn manager & friends watching my place are now ready to find a new friend, as they had to evacuate nearly 30 head of horses and all the vehicles & trailers on the place. Not to mention loading up over 100 bales of hay that were getting ready to drown. Lost over that last flood & they knew how I cried. Worst of all though, is it is two feet deep in Sky`s (barn manager`s apt.).
When I called Sunday A.M. the phones & the e mail were going out, so if anyone local reads this, Lynda C. vickie, etc. Please call my cell phone & report back to me at Sylvia`s e mail.
Back to the clinic, today, DAY II we covered conditioning & rider equipment. They are calling my fanny pack a Batman Pack & me McGuyver. Really, it only weighs a few pounds & yes you could probably perform some sort of surgery out of it. ;-))) If you want my formula, e mail me in a couple of weeks at firstname.lastname@example.org, & I will pass it on.
At the end of the day we were scheduled to ride after I demonstrated loading a "non-loading" horses. Horse did & did not cooperate as he walked right on the first time with no problem. Should I quit while I`m ahead?? No.... not that smart....So I asked for something else, and boy did I get "Something Else"! A young anglo-arab that came bouncing out of the stable like a kite on a string. I took one look & said...."I think we will take this one to the round pen first." That was smart.... as I worked for almost two hours just gentling and building up his confidence in me. It`s always a little nerve wracking doing this work, even if you are alone.... you always have doubts if this method will really work "this time." I have had one miserable failure and the thought always haunts me.
Today was successful though, with a combination of skills learned from Linda Tellington-Jones, John Lyons, Pat Parelli, & Monty Roberts, (listed chronologically of course), & I suppose a little bit of DB thrown in, the colt was a different guy. Still has a few holes, and still not ready for the saddle, but at least manageable now. I asked my clinic attendees at the end of the work if they thought I should try to load him & risk loosing what I had attained thus far, or quit while he was happy & relaxed. Thank God they voted that we quit. Never under estimate the power of positive thinking.
Led him quietly to his stall, and then demonstrated to the stable hands how to catch him in the stall, as he had been almost impossible to catch, even in there. What a great way to end the day. We missed our scheduled ride, but I don`t think any of the students were too disappointed. They loved watching a bundle of nerves turn into a quiet and soft eye.
Tune in tomorrow for Day III. Miss home, but ride camp helps... put it up on Sylvia`s computer the 2nd day I was here.... so I`m keeping up with everyone back there. e ya later, Darolyn
Brazil Clinic Day III & IV
Dr. Marcello Grilo, the Team Vet for the Country of Chili, for Dubai, and a native Brazilian, was actually at the Universidad do Cavalo when I arrived Monday morning. Marcello is known for not only his tardiness, but sometimes his total absence. However, it is very easy to forgive him when you understand the schedule he keeps & how hard he works. He is more than a good samaritan in his effort to help every animal on any farm/ranch he is on. That includes the cats & dogs. So you can imagine how that always slows him down.
Anyway, Marcello was there, had arrived around 5:30 AM after driving all night. At least he had another Brazilian friend with him that was helping with the drive & his treatments. We got started on the Veterinarian Check details right away. We had made slides the week before at my place, with all details covered from the dismount into the ride check, checking with the timer, cool down, every little thing the vet checks, trot out, & what U do with the horse during the hold.
I had been blessed with a great translator the two days before, and of course didn`t need her while Marcello was there, but in actuality, I would have liked her to translate to me all that was going on. The students really hit it off with Marcello, and we had a great day of vet discussions. A wonderful lunch was again provided on the scenic and flowered veranda, and back to work with more slides and talking. We broke about 3:00 to not just do our daily ride, but to have a simulated Pre & Post Vet check. Marcello basically did a pre-purchase exam on each of the horses he was so thorough. Of course Brazilian riders, like us in the US, don`t like to hear that their horse is a grade 1 lame. But... what a good time to find out.. instead of competition.
We left on a 10 K (7-8 mile ride), one of the loaner horses (belonged to the Universidad), pulled a hamstring going up a little hill. Another pulled a shoe.... so we called for an EZ boot, (duh.... there was 8 of them setting on the demonstration table back in the meeting room), and we got to practice the previous day`s lesson of cutting down, and fitting an EZ Boot. Worked great of course, & we got back in just fine. The hamstrung horse was hauled in.
After arrival, we watched each others horses get the "Final Vet Ck". Marcello was incredibly instructive as he invited the students to help with the diagnosis. They picked up an eye for lameness pretty quick. We did that until dark.
Then one of the nearby students brought a couple of her horses in for diagnosis & between those two & a couple housed at the Universidad we were all there `til 12:30 AM. No wonder we start a little late sometime. Dinner wasn`t mentioned, but someone did divide two apples into many small pieces to stave off starvation. I grabbed a great Brazilian white choc. Bar, & who really gets hungry at that time of nite anyway. So... Sylvia & I drug ourselves home to an already sleeping house. (Thus no report)
Tuesday, Day IV, we went back to "Feeding the Endurance Horse". I had articles on Pro-Biotics, Beet Pulp & the great feeding one from Kathleen Crandell at Kentucky Equine Research. I had had them translated into Portuguese, so we read thru them slowly & answered questions with Sylvia being my translator, as Aluisio had left for the airport to pick up Sharon Saare. He was rushing back to make sure he made the section on "The Many Uses Of Bandanas", but alas he missed it. Will give him a private one tomorrow. He came in with Sharon, just as we finished lunch.
After lunch, (3:00ish, we are on Brazilian time after all), we decided it was time for the BARN. They wanted to see a continuation of the colt I had started on Sunday. I had only walked in his stall and petted him a bit on two different occasions on Monday. No more than 5 minutes each time, so, I too, was curious what he would retain. Led him quietly to the round pen & turned him loose and then left to gather my tools; a 60 foot rope, dressage whip, plastic grocery sack, & two water bottles. The folks gathered & we started working. He was pretty calm & I was just going thru the first lessons when I noticed the scab had come off an old wound. It was just up from the curb chain area, pretty nasty, & the flies were really attacking. I asked Aluisio for some fly ointment & U guessed it, he brings out a spray can. Well, I jumped ahead pretty quick & put a halter on him. Tried to start spraying and shushing far away, but this guy was trying to die.
You know, its really interesting how some things just direct themselves. I went ahead & attached the plastic bag to the dressage whip & spent the next 30-45 minutes sacking young stud out with that,... so much so in fact, that the eventual spraying of the medicine was EASY. Did some over the rump turn arounds, (via J.L & P.P.), some TTouch, (via LTJ), then put on the long rope, lunged for a moment.... practiced stopping and going obediently, then out to an open area to practice. Within about 30 seconds he had thrown himself as he spooked and bolted at a ditch. Oh well, I held his head up so it didn`t hit the ground.... then we had a pretty long, but successful session of crossing some nasty ditches, tangling and untangling around trees, and finally going up a concret ramp, (prep for trailer loading). He & I were both wet & mellow by this time. This is great training for Endurance horses,.... why don`t I ever do it to those guys that dump me on a regular basis.... ah the cobblers childred go barefoot! Finished off with a quiet bath, (his very first), he even let me wash his face.... Albanet won`t let me do that, neither will Marcus & neither will.... oh well,
Put him away on a good note, then we all saddled up & went for a two hour ride. Once again, the country side is just awesome. Today we rode thru a gated subdivision that had a "blow U away" jumping farm. Probably at least 200-300 acres of jumps, pastures, fancy barns, & of course an indoor jumping arena. Wow!!!
Had the students do a forced trot for a mile or so, then jump off & try to take their horse`s pulse... Not a great success. One guy had just purchased 5 Heart Monitors, so I just don`t think he thought it was necessary. They lost interest in that pretty quick. They did show a little more when we returned to the ranch during bath time. We`ll have to practice that some more. And most did do a flying dismount and hand trotted in to the barn area. (Big Success!)
Sharon had caught a quick rest while we were gone, & since it was still early, (not midnight), we decided to let her start her slide show. That lasted about 20 minutes.... then the Pizza arrived, & with that the beer, & with that the evening was over. Got home by 11:00 tonite.... not bad.
Tomorrow we`ll continue with Sharon`s show, maybe fit some saddles, then do a 20 mile (round trip) ride to one of the students farms, (where we are supposed to have lunch.) then back for the conclusion of Sharon`s lecture.
One of the students is trying to entice Sharon & I to come to Rio de Janerio to do some fittings there. Go ahead... twist my arm. ;-)))
Brazilian Clinic Day V
Day 5 started with a continuation of slides from Sharon Saare`s "Back Lecture". For those of you who have never seen it, you may get an opportunity at the convention this year. Believe me, every time I hear it, I vow to be more careful of horse selection with the back in mind. Then of course saddle fit as well. The Brasilians were absolutely mismerized. None of them had really ever considered the problems of the down hill horse or the mutton withered horse.
We broke around 11:00 to mount our horses & go across the lush country to the most gorgeous competition stable I have ever been in. & Yes... endurance riders ride in the rain here too.... we were drenched by the time we arrived. One of the students manages this mainly jumping & 3 day eventing stable & invited us to include a tour & lunch at her operation in our cross country ride for the day. It was a mind blower. It had an open air inside jumping arena flanked by about 40 stalls on the sides. The wash rack & tack room was at one end and a dining area at the other. This was just outside a glassed lab room, and a trophy room that was not only posh, but absolutely fool of trophys, (both floors.) And, of course, original oils lined the walls.
During lunch, about 20 different horses were paraded in front of us, from an absolutely gorgeous Anglo/Arab that I would like to bring home, to 2, 3 year old & one 7 day old baby. They had imported semen in from the AngloArab French horses and of course my eye was for what would make a good endurance prospect, but Sharon and I agreed that the event favorite and the endurance favorite are pretty close. Sylvania, our hostess, and one of the students, showed us her 5 yr old endurance prospect and she really made my mouth water. A big flea bitten grey mare that was perfectly balanced. After a gourmet lunch, we took a full tour of the facility. Saw the outside liberty jumping ring, miles of well keeped paddocks, a hay & equipment barn that looked almost like a house. Sylvania apologized for it being dirty, just as I was saying to myself, can`t believe this is the floor of the barn.... there was about 10 strands of hay on the floor. ;-) Labor is cheap here and everything is kept emaculant. I`ve made lots of promises to myself when I get home.... however, my labor is the only one that is cheap it seems.
Returned to the Universidad, but not without loosing another shoe, this time it was Sharon`s horse & Aluisio did the honors of putting on the EZ boot. He got an A... had to coach him a bit. Started slides again at 6:00 and this time we were joined by Sat/Sun`s Race Manager. Yes!!!! This site has a 70 k (50 mile race) on Sat. & a 30 k on Sunday. I may have a horse for both days so I`m really looking forward to actually getting to compete while I`m here. He was quite impressed with what Sharon had to say as well, and is hauling 3 or 4 horses out tomorrow to have Sharon fit them. The other students can`t wait to fit the trees on their own horses.
We finished the evening off in a neighboring town at an exquisite German Restaurant who`s specialty was Veal Parmigian, (which is my all time favorite), and now guys, don`t flame me for bathroom talk,.... but, I swear this is true, ask Sharon, The inside of the toilet bowls had flowers painted on them to match the tile work on the walls. I know, enough, enough..... see you tomorrow. Darolyn Butler
Day VI Hi, Sharon Saare here....Day six of the Brazilian endurance clinic. After a couple of days of talking about saddle fitting and the consequences of back conformation...it was time to take a serious look at the horses. We had a good ride yesterday...and a preliminary look at backs led me to believe I only needed to have brought about 4 trees with me. Sure enough, as Darolyn and I fitted these horses...we were seeing all A`s, B,s C,s and SSS. Some really above average horses in this bunch...that would lead me to believe they will in time, make their mark anywhere they go. Just an observation from 30 years of World traveling and looking at horses, (of course) everywhere...climate sure seems to influence conformation.
Horses I`ve seen in tropical and semi tropical countries, as a general rule, tend toward a more narrow type. My guess is it is a mechanism to keep cool....and, of course, for endurance horses, it sure works to their advantage. Its not by accident that many of the top endurance horses on the scene today are a B body type. ...and of course the other three sizes are in that narrow catagory.
Today, we also fitted a couple of 3 day horses...and they also were fairly narrow on the spine line. One lovely gelding was an Anglo Arab owned by our Host, Aluisio Marins. A very special horse in my book.
At the Farm we visited yesterday the Anglo Arab was the predominent cross...and quite a successful one. All of those horses were high front end horses...no downhill backs in this bunch. Joy. Joy.
After the fittings, Darolyn concluded the Clinic with a Super Video called "Symmetry in Motion" with Doris Halstead & Carrie Cameron. This was the last video Darolyn/aka Horseman Video Showcase produced, and perhaps, (to me at least... one of the most valuable.) It deals with freeing up muscle and bone...both for horses and people. As one who has had an old car accident back injury to put up with for 16 years, I could really relate to the benefits of "jarring loose:". I would strongly recommend this tape for anyone in the same boat!!
Our Brazilian Clinic Attendees were most appreciative of the enlightenment us two ol`campaigners could impart. You know, we all started this sport at Zero...and I can only think back to the good people who helped us along the way....now perhaps it is our turn to do the same. They are truly hungry for Endurance education and make wonderful students.
Now..... schools out, two race days coming up.... to the Pizzeria tonite!!!! (Oh... if your interested in video, contact Darolyn at email@example.com or phone 1 800 228 8768 Sharon`s is 303 678 5968. We`ll be back in the USA Nov. 24th. Sharon & Darolyn