Monday, December 30, 2013

Niall Quirk clinic at October Farm in Plainville, MA

Last week I traveled to MA to accompany my barn owner, P, and her horse Merlot, who were participating in a Niall Quirk clinic. He comes to my barn frequently but she also likes to support him at other barns, plus it's always fun to check out the facilities at another place!

Niall hails from Ireland and is an excellent instructor. I took a lesson with him two summers ago over fences and learned a lot about how to rate Lucy without ticking her off. P events but took this year to really focus on dressage and she has come a long way.

I brought my camera and Niall asked me to take some photos for his website. I've never taken photos with the intention of showing how an instructor teaches; usually I focus on the horse and rider! But it was a good challenge, especially with my new camera.

With Merlot, Niall usually starts him on the lunge line.

Then he does some work in-hand. Here they're working on piaffe.
Niall is explaining to Prudy what he's doing and when to ask for more vs.
let the horse have a break and praise him.

It had recently snowed, but the weather on this day was warm and sunny, so the
snow was coming crashing off the roof of the indoor in grand fashion. You'd hear
a few scrapes, then it would get louder, and then all of a sudden the whole sheet of
snow would let go and slide off the sheet metal roof. It was deafening, and scared the
heck out of poor Merlot! Prudy was nervous about it but Niall did really well getting
her focused and confident, and she had a wonderful ride.

Though it's an unorthodox shot, I really liked this one of Niall in the background!


  1. I like that last shot too! It's great.

  2. That last shot is amazing! I think it's exactly what an instructing client would want because, while not in focus, the horse is large enough to see details but the focus remains on him. Well done!

  3. These photos are great! And I do love the last one -- very cool!!

  4. Merlot is such a stunning animal. Ooh, I hate the snow-sliding!

  5. Great photos! They really show the teacher-student relationship, and you can just SEE the learning happening :)


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