"It's a holiday if I'm not wearing spurs!"

Posted by Sharon Labels: , , ,

Last weekend (and extending into today) was a long weekend. As I read Facebook posts about camping, trail riding and water sports, and saw trucks pulling boats, campers and motor homes heading down highway 20, I admit I felt a twinge of envy, especially since the weather was perfect for those kind of holidays.  My holiday of choice would have been a trail ride but instead of that or water sports and evenings by the campfire, I spent the weekend by myself at home doing what I do almost every day - caring for and riding horses. 

I guess my "holiday" was the previous weekend, July 27-29, when Wildwood Reining Horses hosted a three-day Vern Sapergia horsemanship/reining clinic. My house and yard was filled with people and horses . . . and an old friend.

Vern demonstrating to Donna and I
Vern and I go back a long way - back to the hills of Saskatchewan, reining shows, working in Italy, clinics and many, many soul-searching heart-to-hearts. Although 'time for talking' was limited last weekend, we still managed to have a couple of in-depth discussions.  One topic was about time off - holidays - of which neither of us gets much. Vern told me he had plans to "holiday" a little after the clinic before he returns to Austria. His family, he said, told him he never took a real holiday. Vern disagreed.

"Don't you remember?" he said to his son-in-law. And he reminded him of a one-day outing they had once had. His son-in-law disagreed, saying it was nothing but a spur-of-the-moment little adventure.

"Yes, it was a holiday!" Vern said. "Any time I'm not wearing spurs it's a holiday!"

So that's the 'holiday' criteria for horse trainers... Although I somewhat agree, I can have a holiday even if I am wearing spurs, like last weekend.

Vern's clinic, as always, was fabulous - informative and fun! I know of no other clinician who could and would give more of themselves to each and every student. He loves to teach.

"I will never retire," said Vern, "As long as I have something to teach and someone wants to learn."

The clinic, however, was not for anyone who wanted to be stroked or coddled. Vern tells it like it is! He also pushes everyone to the limits of their capabilities. He has an innate sense of how far is too far, though, and riders come away from the clinic with the wonderful realization that they (and/or their horse) have accomplished  more than they thought possible!

Shannon getting spurs on - guess the holiday is over!
I think Vern might have to admit the trip to the Chilcotin was a little bit of a holiday even if he didn't take off his spurs. Evenings around the firepit, a visit with a long-lost cousin, lots of good food and laughter counts for something. Good horses doing good things does too. Sliding my stallion, Walking With Wolves, sure brought a smile to his face!

Vern and Walking With Wolves (Photo by Jordan Grier)

And when the clinic was over Sunday evening, Vern was the first to say, "Let's go!" when we were invited to Chilco Ranch for an impromptu team roping and didn't hesitate when Jordan offered him Maverick, a rope and a glove.
Vern on Maverick getting the job done. (Photo by Crystal Grier)
Check out that smile! (Photo by Crystal Grier)
He still had his spurs on so maybe even these moments didn't qualify as a holiday but I'm pretty sure he loved every minute of it.

So I am not going to cry any tears about not being able to take time off for the long weekend. I strapped on spurs just like I do almost every day and rode some fine horses.

Wildwood Mistral and I (Photo by Jordan Grier)