Ok, ok…It’s hard to think of a catchy title that rhymes with Smeets! That’s what I have to work with however, as it was the second day of another great clinic with international rider and trainer Ron Smeets from The Netherlands. Anyone that has visited my website, Tango Dressage, knows I am a big fan of Mr. Smeets. He travels to the U.S. on a regular basis in order to maintain a consistent training program. I try to ride with Ron every opportunity I get, however, unable to ride this weekend I observed from the sidelines as several of my students took advantage of his expertise.
This is the forty-fifth post I have published on this blog and several times leading up to the weekend of the clinic I felt it would boost rider entries to post an article about Ron and previous clinics, however, these attempts remain unpublished as I have come to realize that if the intentions of my posts are anything other than my sincere feelings or opinions at the time of writing than they are nothing but advertisements and advertisements are always biased to favor the advertised.
Sincerity is the trait that I admire most in Ron’s professional dealings. When you ride with Ron it is evident that he cares if you understand what he is trying to convey in the lesson. This is not just true of upper-level or potential horse purchasing clients. Ron routinely spends as much time and energy as is necessary to make sure even more novice riders understand and benefit from their ride, even if his lunch break or rest breaks are depleted by doing so.
The same sincerity that conveys concern for the rider’s education also puts the rider in the hot seat at times. Don’t expect phony compliments or platitudes from Smeets. His concern is with the education of the rider and the welfare of the horse and if a mistake is made and repeated, expect to hear about it until it is corrected! He is never unkind or condescending but instead determines what a rider is capable of and pushes them to meet that mark. It is a quality in a clinician that I greatly admire as so many clinicians I see under-challenge or placate riders, as they wish to maintain a loyal following, but platitudes do not make a Grand Prix rider.
This is the last day of Ron’s clinic and I look forward to riding with him when he returns in June. His dressage knowledge and teaching style make him an excellent trainer. His sincerity and candor make him an exceptional person.