Riding clinic teaches stock seat at Cornerstone

PRINCETON — Cornerstone Ranch was a flurry of equestrian activity during a three-day horseback riding clinic last month instructed by Ron McLoughlin of the Classical Stock Seat School of Arizona.

“We love hosting clinics, because in this area it is hard to find riders who ride classical stock seat or know of any of the Foreman methods, so we love to spread our knowledge and hope to reach more of the horse community over years to come ,” said Julia Connell, who teaches horseback riding lessons, organizes and leads trail rides, and works at the Dowds Lane ranch her mother Susan Connell owns.

McLoughlin, who flies all the way to Massachusetts from Arizona for the annual clinic, has been hosted at the ranch for eight years. Susan Connell grew up riding under the same methods with Monte Foreman, and even knew McLoughlin as a young girl.

“In 2010 we discovered Ron was doing clinics at a facility in New Hampshire, so we went there several times to ride, then started having Ron come to Princeton for clinics,” Julia Connell said.

Ron McLoughlin of the Classical Stock Seat School of Arizona, left, teaches during a clinic at Cornerstone Ranch in May.

This year they had 14 riders in the clinic, which was held May 13 through 15. Participants ride for about six hours a day, and when they are not riding McLoughlin holds classrooms in which they “discuss the importance of good and correct equipment, care of equipment, the methods we use and why we use them, what ‘classical riding’ means, and the importance of balance and the correct seat,” Julia Connell said.

Her mother said they hold the yearly clinic “as part of our commitment to being good riders and horse people.”

“As part of the learning and bonding routine, we typically go out to eat on Friday night, which is the first day of the clinic, and Saturday is a potluck dinner at the ranch,” Susan Connell said.

Riders circle the ring under the watchful eye of Ron McLoughlin of the Classical Stock Seat School of Arizona, center.

For Friday night’s outing, they decided to travel via horse and wagon for dinner and drinks at Lilac Hedge Farm in Rutland. Three wagons and three teams of horses brought everyone to the popular local brewery and restaurant.

“With the high price of gas and in celebration of our great Earth, we can do something very energy conscious,” Susan Connell said of the inspiration behind the mode of transportation.

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