We are back and we had a fantastic trip to Iowa! For those of you who are not familiar with Jodi Strand, he is a household name on the National Level in the Arabian Western Pleasure world. In 2005, after being nominated eight times, APAHA selected him Male Western Pleasure Trainer of the Year. In the Arabian Horse World's "Totally Tops" awards, he has been on every list but one since the program's inception in 1996. He and his clients win at the National level consistently, always.
So, basically...he's the BOMB! Did we learn anything? You bet! However, the best thing we took away were the compliments and endorsements that Jodi gave Crystal. The foundations of Jodi and Crystal's training styles are identical! (this was very exciting to us) Crystal was able to gain some excellent pointers in areas that she really wanted to improve, but after putting Crystal on a wide variety of horses, Jodi was so impressed with her riding that here is a synopsis of what he said:
Crystal is a great rider, but not only that,Crystal has a gift. She can see and (more importantly) feel movement in horses that many trainers cannot. (Jack Stecker and Lynne Husted have been saying this for years). She has the talent to be at the highest level in this industry. He compared her several times to Michelle Blackwell (http://www.blackwellstables.com/) He said that all Crystal really needs is someone with a National level quality horse to step up and take a chance on her.
Jodi offered to be a personal reference for Crystal and said he would refer people in our area to her as well. (we never brought this up at all, he completely volunteered his support). He also encouraged us to promote her aggressively. When I told him that we had never advertised, I thought he was going to slap me (seriously). We are thrilled to have his support....and stand by for the aggressive promotion and some actual advertising.
We both learned a lot on this trip and we are looking forward to passing on the benefits to you, our Cedar Hill family. For those of you that have stock type horses in training (Paints and Quarter Horses), don't worry, Crystal was immediately making correlations on how the techniques that she learned would help her stock types too. Good horsemanship translates easily from breed to breed.