Driving Clinic with SPOH-OH

This Sunday, Julie, Yogi and I headed over to the Chillicothe area for a driving clinic with the Ohio Standardbred group. This was particularly special because Julie and Yogi were half of the clinic! There was an awesome turnout and I think people were really into the whole thing. SPHO-OH is trying to offer more events (clinics, likely) this year, and I think this was a great start to that effort. People were even requesting another driving clinic once the weather gets better, which I think would be amazing.

Julie taught a portion of the clinic focused on pleasure driving, and specifically converting the OTT-SB from racing in harness to a purely pleasure and/or trail driving role. There are actually many differences between a pleasure harness and a racing harness, and of course that’s something an OTT-SB has to be trained to understand.

The other clinician demonstrated the harness and carts that a racing Standardbred experiences. I was especially impressed by the racehorse the clinician brought – Standardbreds are truly a special horse. Though this horse was a young, hot, racing horse, he stood absolutely still as he was harnessed, trotted calmly and slowly around the ring, and even let novice drivers take his reins. What a good boy.

Julie and Yogi did a fantastic job. Julie really knows her stuff, of course, and is a good public speaker. As much as I would like to share any knowledge I have, I feel like I would stumble through a presentation and just wouldn’t be a good clinician or teacher. Julie is great at answering questions and at addressing the right issues (whether it be training, safety, money, whatever).

Yogi, on the other hand, is always a total ham in front of people. He loves to show off and treats people he doesn’t know a lot better than he treats me and Julie! He was absolutely perfect this Sunday and even let several children drive him around the arena. His unique personality just continues to blow me away.

I already knew most of what was being taught, and have also been trying to find a way to contribute to the organization, so I decided to break out my DSLR and try to document the event. The light was weird (but dramatic) but my camera and training really pulled through, I think. I’m not sure if the organization will like the photos, since they’re very artsy and photo-journalistic, but even if they don’t, I feel like I’ve contributed. I hope to continue photographing for them, and to hopefully get more consistent photos – out of 350 I took this weekend, I was only really happy with about 30. It was quite a struggle to get any nice photos, I have to admit – but I had a ton of fun with it.

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