October 2019 - Editor’s Notes
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 04:01


After spending much of August working from a quiet family cabin in Northern Idaho, coming home to the beginning of medal finals season and various league wrap-ups was a bit of a head-spinner.

While going to press for this issue, I jumped back into the whirlwind with a weekend at Blenheim EquiSports’ International Jumping Festival in San Juan Capistrano. It was one-stop shopping for the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals and the EMO Insurance/USHJA’s 3’3” Jumping Seat Finals Medal Finals, won by Emma Catherine Reichow and Nicole McMillion, respectively. Not to mention the five North American League jumpers and hunter finals for the West Coast and the final round of the Markel Insurance Grand Prix league before the finals at the Las Vegas National next month.


Personal highlights included Constance Kilmartin’s unabashed joy at competing in the North American League Adult Amateur Jumping Finals – not to mention winning it with her super cool young horse, Lucent.

I did see one person even more overjoyed than Constance: a young father who happened upon the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park that afternoon. His daughter spotted a “horsey!” while driving by and he U-turned on her request to check it out. Watching the Adult Amateur NAL Jumper Final, he couldn’t believe how “amazing” the action was and the fact that it was “free!”

Mickey Hayden (in the orange cap) hosting a discussion of the USET Talent Search’s many horsemanship challenges. Photo: Kim F. Miller

What I loved the most was seeing Mickey Hayden giving a masterclass that Saturday, Sept. 21. Not from the saddle; not from the rail for a student about to compete; but from the berm overlooking the Oaks International Field while the Talent Search’s final two rounds played out. He was surrounded by students of all ages and people like me gravitating his way to eavesdrop on the discussion of how each Talent Searcher was tackling the tests. It was a classic Socratic discussion with everybody contributing questions and answers meant to provoke further thought. As the four finalists worked their way over a shortened course, once on their own horse, then on each other’s horses, there was interesting analysis of what each pair’s challenges would be and what would we do in that scenario.

“The most important thing will be staying in the moment with your horse,” Mickey concluded. Great advice for all of us, every day.

Looking ahead to something else I love and highly recommend: the year’s USHJA National Championships, held concurrent with the Las Vegas National Horse Show Nov. 11-17, will feature another full slate of educational opportunities.

Human and equine physical therapist Sharon Classen and sports psychologist Mario Soto will speak on Thursday and Friday. Having attended presentations by both, I can assure you they’ll be enlightening, engaging and fun. Sharon’s topic is Building Better Athletes: Training, Conditioning and Sports Medicine and Mario will apply his expertise to the unique mental demands of riding. There’s a National Hunter Derby course walk on Friday afternoon and there’s a Judge With The Judge session Saturday morning during the WCE Finals. You do have to qualify for the Championships classes, but the educational sessions are open to all. See the USHJA ad in this issue for the full schedule and make your plans now to attend!

Thank you to Escola Del Sol for sponsoring this month’s cover and inviting us all into the beautiful world of Working Equitation and the Iberian horses who excel in it. It’s exciting to have the relatively new discipline’s inaugural Championships Oct. 11-13 at the Del Mar Horsepark.

Our November issue will focus on “All Things Tack,” plus our first of two holiday gift guides, with gift suggestions for people and horses.

Happy riding and happy reading!

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