Famoso and I have just come home from a fantastic 2-day flatwork clinic with Grand Prix Dressage rider Paulo Santos at his base in Chichester. I did a year worth of training with Paulo last year when I was part of the UK Working Equitation Squad with my other horse Skeeter, so I knew just how much work we were about to receive, however, this clinic was a little different.
In some ways it was a lot more laid back yet in others it was very intense. The cool thing about this clinic was that it was fairly exclusive, there were only three of us riding, we had a mixture of ridden lessons, watching each other's lessons, and there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions and discuss our lessons.
We also got the chance to watch Paulo teach some of his other pupils as well as watch him school his own horses. On day one we were able to watch him work a horse who is at Advanced medium level dressage and on day two another horse who is working at Grand Prix level. My lessons with Famoso were pretty intense, we worked a lot on posture both mine and Famoso's. There were some frustrating moments but many many lightbulb moments!
Paulo is a hardcore no nonsense instructor. He's not for the faint hearted - you don't go to him if all you're looking for is nonstop praise or you just want your instructor to agree with you. He says it as it is and you work hard to earn your praise!
You do however go to him if you want to seriously improve your riding or your horse's way of going, Paulo has a brilliant way of pushing you to want to do better but at the same time he teaches you from where you and your horse are at - You actually end up pushing yourself more and more.
He is incredibly knowledgeable regarding the horses bio-mechanics and the effect a rider has on the horse both for the good and bad, he also seems to have eyes in the back of his head as he misses nothing- so you cannot cheat or hide anything from him! I respect him greatly for that. I came away with so much in the way of homework, I have a clear plan of where I want to go and what I need to work on. I also took zillions of notes which I will have to sit down and slowly go through!
Thank you so much to Georgia Shone and Paulo Santos of QRP dressage Lusitanos for organising this workshop, Thank you, Paulo, for your never-ending patience and knowledge. I had an absolute blast, loved every minute of it and I hope you will do more of these as I'll be booking on them for sure.
I'll be putting regular updates of our progress on my website so keep checking that out