Riding clinic teaches serial siege at Cornerstone

PRINCETON — Cornerstone Ranch was a flurry of equestrian activity during a three-day riding clinic last month led by Ron McLoughlin of the Classical Stock Seat School of Arizona.

“We like to hold clinics because in this field it is hard to find riders who ride classic seats or know any of the Foreman methods, so we like to spread our knowledge and hope to reach more of the equestrian community over the next few years. years to come,” said Julia Connell, who gives riding lessons, organizes and leads trail rides and works at the Dowds Lane Ranch that her mother Susan Connell owns.

McLoughlin, who flies to Massachusetts from Arizona for the annual clinic, has been housed at the ranch for eight years. Susan Connell grew up riding the same methods with Monte Foreman and even knew McLoughlin as a youngster.

“In 2010, we found out Ron was doing clinics at a facility in New Hampshire, so we drove there a few times and then started bringing Ron to Princeton for clinics,” Julia Connell said.

Ron McLoughlin of the Classical Stock Seat School of Arizona, left, teaches during a clinic at Cornerstone Ranch in May.

This year they had 14 runners at the clinic, which was held May 13-15. Participants ride about six hours a day, and when they’re not riding, McLoughlin hosts classrooms in which they “discuss the importance of good and correct gear, care of gear, methods that we use and why we use them, what ‘classic riding’ means, and the importance of balance and the right saddle,” said Julia Connell.

His mother said they hold the annual clinic “as part of our commitment to be good riders and good riders”.

“As part of the learning and bonding routine, we usually go out to eat on Friday night, which is the first day of the clinic, and Saturday is a potluck dinner at the ranch,” Susan Connell said. .

The riders circle the ring under the watchful eye of Ron McLoughlin of the Classical Stock Seat School of Arizona, center.

For the Friday night outing, they decided to travel by horse and wagon for dinner and drinks at Lilac Hedge Farm in neighboring Rutland. Three wagons and three horse teams brought everyone to the popular local brewery and restaurant.

“With the high price of gas and to celebrate our great Earth, we can do something very energy efficient,” Susan Connell said of the inspiration behind the mode of transportation.

“It was a super fun time taking everyone out to dinner and ice cream in the wagons, and the clinic was so good for everyone,” she said. “The participation of students and employees during the three days was a great success and from Sunday, the last day of the clinic, I could feel around me how much the time spent together had brought all the runners closer to each other and horses. It was the ultimate team building, and the horses got the most out of it.

A crew from Cornerstone Ranch prepares for dinner at Lilac Hedge Farm.

For Julia Connell, being part of McLoughlin’s clinics is something she is no stranger to, having herself traveled several times to Arizona to study with him.

“She loves clinics,” her mother said. “I’m always thrilled to see Julia so inspired by Ron and his teachings after spending time getting instruction and direction.”

Julia Connell said they “always have a lineup of riders” who attend ranch clinics.

“Some runners are beginner level while others are much more advanced,” she said. “Each year we have lots of students and regular wranglers, but we also welcome newcomers to learn the systems we use and learn how we can improve our riding skills to improve the quality of life for our horses.”

She went on to say that this year they “brought in viewers from Connecticut because they too feel it’s hard to find the use of these methods in the New England area.”

“We focus less on the competition and always put the horse first.”

In addition to private and group riding lessons for all abilities, Cornerstone offers year-round horse-drawn ranch tours, guided hikes, ice cream in the warmer months, and sleigh rides with hot chocolate. and winter s’mores, workshops, birthday parties, group outings and more.

“We look forward to putting into practice everything we learned and discussed throughout the clinic,” said Julia Connell. “We are very busy in our course schedule and look forward to our upcoming summer programs and full day workshops for children and adults. We will also have live music starting soon on Saturday nights under our newly built pavilion. We look forward to lots of fun and great memories at Cornerstone this summer.

For more information, visit cornerstoneranch.com and follow Cornerstone Ranch LLC on Facebook and Instagram.

Clyde P. Johnson