I recently won an essay contest, for which I received a spot in the Western Dressage clinic with Palm Partnership Training on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14. I’ve been a fan of Lynn Palm’s for many years. I was thrilled to watch her lectures and clinics at Southern Equine Expo a few year ago and was thoroughly impressed with the progress my horse and I made in a private clinic I was able to take with her over the summer.
Based on my experience with Lynn and what I heard about Cyril Pittion-Rossillon, I was beyond excited to be traveling to Florida for two days of riding at their farm. The trip far exceeded my very high expectations! I was half in tears as I drove away Saturday night, because I wanted one more opportunity to tell Lynn, Cyril, and Marie-Frances just how much I appreciated the experience. I sent a thank you note, but it feels woefully inadequate.
I arrived Thursday evening at Fox Grove Farm, where I was settled into a cozy room at the Fox Lodge near the covered arena by Marie-Frances Davis, but not before Lynn took the opportunity to say hello, show me the show barn, and ask about my progress with the mare I brought to the clinic over the summer. The house was ready to go for visitors with food in the fridge, fruit on the table, and more than enough clean towels for my housemate and me.
Day 1 started with a lecture around the kitchen table in Lynn and Cyril’s home. We each talked about why we were there, challenges we’ve faced, and what we hoped to accomplish. Marie-Frances filled us in on what to expect. We had a demonstration from Lynn on correct rider position and a lesson improving our position before enjoying a home-cooked buffet lunch.
In the afternoon, we had a second lesson on the rider’s aids, after which several of us snuck back to our lodgings for a quick shower before returning to the house. Our evening began in the lounge enjoying each other’s company and sharing stories while dinner was in the oven. We enjoyed another wonderful home-cooked meal around the kitchen table and an evening of fellowship.
Day 2 began with another lecture around the kitchen table. I took several pages of notes as Cyril talked to us about getting our horses into balance. We had a lesson with Cyril practicing balance and straightness, another wonderful lunch, and ended with a lesson with Lynn on how to ride a test.
From start to finish, the Western Dressage Clinic was the experience of a lifetime. Fox Grove Farm embodies old school principles of hospitality and community. Lynn and Cyril don’t just run through a static training program. They take a genuine interest in their students and tailor each and every lesson to the students in front of them. Individually gifted teachers, they make a exceptional team, bringing together the best of American and European horsemanship. Last but certainly not least, Marie-Frances goes the extra mile to make sure all of the little details are taken care of and to make sure that you feel welcome.
I’ve been back for four days and have already started saving for my next trip. My only regret is that I didn’t get a single picture of the actual clinic! Make time in your schedule and your budget to attend a clinic with Palm Partnership Training. You will be so glad you did!