QuarterFest and Tennessee Tornadoes

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Holy cow. What a weekend!

It started with a beautiful day on Friday—lots of riders and spectators, many great clinics indoors and out. But Saturday and Sunday where a totally different story with tornados, torrential rains, flooded and closed highways and warnings from the State Police to stay home and off the roads.

Saturday started off OK, but by mid afternoon all the outside programs were forced inside and then even the inside clinics were stopped so that everyone could shuffle down to the basement while tornados threatened overhead. About 35 horses were tied in the TN Miller coliseum—no room for them in the shelters, while we all crammed into a dank packed room down below. The power went out but thankfully emergency power came on in less than a minute, so there were no freak-outs. After a while the most threatening storms passed and we resumed the program with my clinic in the coliseum while the power surged on and off and the torrential rains continued.

Sunday was only slightly better with no reported tornados but the torrential rains continued and water began leaking into the coliseum from the roof. Meanwhile the interstates closed and flights were cancelled. Back at our hotel, a giant sign, visible from the interstate, was damaged and swaying—making a horrible racket and forcing us to move our hotel room to a safer location on the other side. I was awake all night, listening to the rain and hoping and praying my flight would leave as scheduled the next morning and that we could make it to the airport, skirting around the closed highways.

Miraculously, on Monday morning the sky was clear and although most major roads in Nashville were closed due to flooding, we were able to make it to the airport (albeit a very circuitous route) and my flight left on time. Only being home about 3 nights a week, even losing one night is a struggle for me and my family.

The second annual QuarterFest was a huge success in many ways, with an incredible array of world class clinicians, interesting things on the program ranging from yoga for riders to ranch roping, from Dutch oven cooking to colt starting, from reining to dressage. Every clinic was full with horses and riders coming from as far away as Massachusetts. Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, the horrendous weather kept a lot of the spectators away. But it didn’t stop those that were there from having a great time.

I had some wonderful people and their horses in the 4 clinics I did; we had lots of fun and everyone improved a lot. Hopefully AQHA will continue with this event even in the aftermath of weather disasters two years in a row; maybe a change of weekends would help. But I am thankful to be headed home today and have a luxurious four nights in a row at home. Who knows, I may even have time to ride my own horse this week before I head to Houston for a clinic this coming weekend.

Enjoy the ride,






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