"She is so good with people and has such a lovely manner about her," said Fern Feldman, who participated in Charlotte's Region 8 clinic at Carbery Fields Farm in Lebanon, Conn. "She is such a great person to work with and just couldn't be nicer to the riders and auditors." One of Charlotte's great strengths is in helping riders overcome challenges that tend to keep them from moving forward. Her approach during clinics that has met with much success is to push riders to stretch beyond their limits until they hit an obstacle, at which point she takes them back step-by-step to help them understand the cause of the problem.
"She challenged you and when you got in trouble, she would then back track the lesson by steps so that you could then build back up to what was difficult and then succeed," Feldman said. "She was so good at doing this, that the challenge became part of the lesson and it was all done with such fun. And she was so good with the group that even auditors got a chance to appreciate the lesson because they were also able to see the problem and see the progression toward addressing it."
Riders and auditors participating in the clinic series are enjoying Charlotte this year, but it's clear that she's also enjoying them. "It's a lot of fun," Charlotte said of the experience of her first clinics in the year-long series. "I've had great groups of riders and auditors. They've all been very fun and had really great attitudes." Riders report that Charlotte has been super at helping them overcome challenges in their riding, but what they might not know is that through the clinics, Charlotte faces her own challenges. "You might not know that not very long ago, I was terrified of public speaking. I could never do anything in front of people other than ride. This is really helpful," she said.
Being the featured clinician for such an important educational series is no easy task. It's more difficult for an instructor to work with unknown riders and horses, Charlotte said. "I don't know anything about most of the riders and horses when they come into the ring. I have to figure out quickly how much to push and where to go with the horse and with the rider." What helps is her many years of experience riding different types of horses and teaching different riders. "It's very challenging, but then, I like challenges and I like to learn and I'm learning a lot as well."
The Adult Clinic format incorporates private lessons for eight riders with open sessions for auditors. Charlotte promises auditors who attend that they'll get just as much out of the clinic from the ground as will the riders. "I like to have spectators sit close to me so that I can more easily explain to them what I see from where I sit. And then, we'll take frequent breaks and have discussions. It'll be my goal to help spectators develop their eye and riders their feel and then to help them fix things." Charlotte would especially encourage adult amateurs to attend saying that it is the adult amateur "who is the backbone of our sport. Without them, we wouldn't have a sport."
To learn more about the Platinum Performance/USDF Adult Clinic Series, as well as how to participate and to see the clinic schedule, visit www.usdf.org.