teaching and training
Coaching, training, teaching are available most days at a time convenient to you. We prefer private lessons unless we have two or more simpatico riders in a jumping session.
We don't run a show barn as these usually revolve around a curated experience. Not everyone can compete equally despite their talent due to limitations in their opportunity. When a rider's skills are good enough to know both their horse's limitations and their own, horsemanship has a chance to take hold.
Every horse and rider can perform better, no exceptions. This is the philosophy at the foundation of Skystone Farm. No two riders or horses are alike and what works well for one will work differently for the other.
Paul has 40 years of riding experience; 10 years of coaching, and over the last 25 years since competing at the international grand prix level of showjumping dived deeply into the rabbit hole of what makes a horse and rider better.
At Skystone, we learn from our horses. Their willingness is our measure of success. When you focus your ambition on being the best leader for the horse you have, you move to the front of the class. It is a nice feeling to direct your horse's power into achieving something challenging. It becomes euphoric when your horse does it simply because you ask.
It takes skill and experience to raise the capacity of your horse - comprehension of preparing the foundation, increasing athleticism through developing suppleness, balance, strength, power, and speed. These are the skills Paul can help you acquire so you can achieve the dreams that are within your grasp.
We developed custom clinics as a best case situation for condensed learning. These clinics allow us to meet our rider and their horse and uncover where they're at and what will be the most beneficial lesson to inform and inspire their progress forward. Once a student has the full experience of a custom clinic, they can return to Skystone for single lessons or assistance as their schedules allow.
We have expanded our clinic offerings to include the traditional 3 day individual clinic and a new weekend clinic for two so that you can share the learning experience with a friend. Both clinics provide accommodation for horse and riders. Since Skystone horses live outside, you'll need to make sure your horse is suitably attired for the weather. We have a lovely apartment available on a first come first served basis, check with us on availability, otherwise we have camper hookups or we do recommend the Pomeroy Inn & Suites at Olds College which is 15 minutes away.
Clinics are designed according to your needs be it young horses, experienced show horses, or just want to find out what it takes to move to the next level. All horses can improve if the rider learns the skills to help. Paul's strengths are being able to diagnose what will help and explain it in a language the rider can comprehend.
Advanced competition riders and professionals
Understanding your weakness is half-way to making it a strength. Actually, it is more like 3/4 the way because you wouldn't be advanced if you didn't already have mad skills to get where you are. Willingness to to be wrong is hard for top achievers but it is usually the missing ingredient that prevents good riders from becoming great. Proof of excellence surrounds you because of how the sport measures excellence. Whether you use ribbons, coolers, and prize money or the level you're competing at to display your abilities, turning the critical lens on yourself is less likely the more success you attain.
If you read my post on Trainer Profiles, you'll see how I break down the professional aspects to assist in determining our strengths and weaknesses. As professionals we attempt to present our best side at all times, we don't expose the cracks in the armor of our expertise.
"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" - Leonard Cohen
As professionals, especially true in North America, we tend to stop learning and sharing ideas that can shine light on solutions to problems we may not even know we have. This is likely due to protecting the perception of our expertise and ultimately our business lest our customers move on up to our mentors. With a lack of suitable mentors, we rely primarily on observation and mimicry. Both these methods, although very much part of our learning processes, lack direct accountability that keeps us true to the discovery and invention of skill improvement and problem solving.
The industry has it's own measure of success that is not a meritocracy of skill, rather it's primarily a measure of horse power. While it takes skill to build and focus that power into achievement, the ultimate power still belongs to the horse. It is no wonder why we lack mentors that can really move the needle on our skills when the industry holds top competitors as exemplars of everything we aspire to. Horses can be bought, but skills take a lifetime to master.
No matter where you are and what you're riding, there is improvement available if you know what to focus on. Whether you have a talented young horse that you can't crack the code on, or if you're trying to create a more consistent World Cup round, it is beneficial to have someone who has done it before and can help you to see the way forward. I don't take advice from someone who can't get on and show me so I don't expect you to either. It was 25 years ago that I rode my first WC qualifier (jumping), and it has been 25 years of learning from that level until now that I have developed the skills to assist you discretely so that the feather remains in your cap, not mine.
You have nothing to lose, and a whole world to gain. Nothing would please me more than to earn your appreciation.