September 2018 - Ready In the Desert

Grass derby field among new highlights at Coachella Valley venue.

The installation of the new HITS Desert Horse Park Grass Hunter Derby Field is a highlight of the upcoming 10 weeks of hunter/jumper competition in the Coachella Valley venue formerly known as Thermal.

“We can’t wait to host some of our Hunter Derbies on the grass Derby Field that we are working on,” said HITS President and CEO, Thomas Struzzieri. “It’s something different and I think a lot of the Hunter exhibitors who show with us are going to really enjoy it.”

 


The AON HITS Desert Horse Park is home to 10 weeks of USEF Premier-Rated shows, chances to qualify for the HITS Championship that take place every September in Saugerties, New York, and $5 Million in prize money awarded.

Nayel Nassar & Lordan were last year’s champs in the FEI Longines World Cup Jumping Thermal. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Highlights include:
 
Jumpers
•    The National Sunshine Series features two weeks of FEI CSI3* Competition, including the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Thermal
•    AIG $1 Million Grand Prix (Week VIII) - qualifier classes held each week leading up to the Million! (Desert Circuit Week VIII)
•    Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur Jumper Classics for 1.25m, 1.35m, 1.45m each week

Hunters
•    Two $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies
•    Two USHJA Pony Hunter Derbies
•    World Championship Hunter Rider - WCHR
•    Devoucoux and Platinum Performance Hunter Prix each week - qualifiers for the HITS Championship

Equitation
•    NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals (National Sunshine Series II)
•    CPHA Style of Riding Championship (National Sunshine Series II)
•    R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship (Desert Circuit Week VIII)

Show Dates
•    National Sunshine Series I  |  October 31-November 4
•    National Sunshine Series II  |  November 7-11

•    Desert Circuit I  |  January 15-20
•    Desert Circuit II  |  January 22-27
•    Desert Circuit III  |  January 29-February 3
•    Desert Circuit IV  |  February 5-10
•    Desert Circuit V  |  February 19-24
•    Desert Circuit VI  |  February 26-March 3
•    Desert Circuit VII  |  March 5-10
•    Desert Circuit VIII  |  March 12-17

Press release provided by HITS.

 

 
September 2018 - Meet Chandler Meadows

Summer study abroad of an equestrian sort.

by Winter Hoffman, courtesy of Phelps Sports

Twenty-three-year-old Californian Chandler Meadows traded the Newport Beach seaside for the flower-filled meadows of Amsterdam, the pastoral manors of Germany and the cypress villas of Italy on her showjumping tour this summer.


WH: What was your childhood like and how were you introduced to riding?
CM: I started riding when I was about 10 years old, after my family moved into an equestrian neighborhood. My first few years of riding were all about horsemanship, riding bareback and really understanding how to take care of a horse. I spent every day during the summer at the barn and any chance I could get, I was around horses. I started competing in the hunters a few years after that.

WH: How did you come to have a passion for the sport? Through your parents or trainers?
CM: My late aunt Karen Price and uncle Tony Price rode at the Flintridge Riding Club in Pasadena for about 20 years with trainer Liz Denny. Other than that, my family wasn’t involved in the sport at all. After my sister Alexis and I started to get serious with our riding, my entire family became more involved and now we all enjoy it.

WH: Did you do the equitation? What are your thoughts on equitation as a foundation for show jumping?

Americans dominate the 1.40m CSI 2*. Joie Gatlin & Kimmel SCF claim first, Laura Hite & Solos Consept finish third, while Chandler & Damian end fifth.

CM: When I first started riding, I was doing the hunters and some equitation. Compared to other riders my age, I always felt like I was playing catch up in the equitation, especially my last few junior years. However, I kept working at it and eventually made it to Maclay Finals my last junior year. After that, it’s been all about the jumpers. Equitation taught important basics about riding and it has made me a better jumper rider for sure. You have to learn how to use your leg, seat and hands properly and how to maintain a balanced position, especially when the jumps start to get bigger.

WH: Was California an advantage or disadvantage for your junior show career?
CM: I was doing the equitation during my junior show career, which made California a great place to show. There were local shows every weekend, which offered opportunities to accumulate points for indoors. I was also in high school at the time, so showing close to home was a major benefit.

WH: You spent the summer competing in Europe. Please tell us how this came about, the high points and what you’ve learned from this experience.
CM: I have always wanted to show in Europe from the first time I traveled there. We had planned this trip for almost a year and the timing was right. I just graduated Chapman University and I have amazing, experienced horses that I feel comfortable on. One of my trainers, Joie Gatlin, has competed in Europe several times and represented the USA on many occasions, so she really encouraged me and my barnmate, Laura Hite, to show in Europe as well.    
The experience I have gained in just a few short weeks is tremendous. Getting outside of my comfort zone by not showing at familiar venues has already made me a better rider. In Europe, showjumping is a true sport and the crowds are proof of that. Not only are the venues amazing, the footing is great and the shows are very efficient with the way they run. You only show Thursday – Sunday, which makes each day more special, and the weeks less tiring for both the horses and humans.
Throughout my experience so far, I have learned how to ride faster and to think on my own more. It has also been fun to compete against different people, especially when you’re the only one from the USA in your class, there is a bit of extra excitement about ribboning. So far it has been great, and I hope this won’t be my last trip showing here.

WH: You must have a very supportive family – please tell us about them. Do they travel with you?
CM: I am so lucky to have an incredibly supportive family. My sister also rides and competes in the Amateur Owner hunter divisions, so it is fun to share our passion and love of horses. My parents are the best- they try to come to every horse show and they love to take my horses for hand-walks and grazes. As far as riding them, they both prefer to stay on the ground. My parents also enjoy investing in young horses, which is exciting to watch as they develop with my trainer, Joie Gatlin.

WH: What did you do between high school and college? If you took a break did it help?
CM: I went straight into college after high school. Luckily for me, I was able to continue riding and go to school, because both my barn and college were close by. It wasn’t easy juggling my time between my studies and horse shows, but it certainly taught me a lot about time management. This summer is the first time I won’t be going back to school in the fall, which is weird feeling. However, I’m looking into getting my master’s degree starting next year.

Chandler and Damian.

WH: Do you think what you study impacts your view of the sport or the training plan and path you chose for you and your horses?
CM: In college, I studied health science, which was a very broad major and offered me the opportunity to explore various subjects. I found that I have a passion for sports nutrition, which is what I am aiming to get my master’s degree in. It definitely plays a major role in my riding because nutrition is an important part of being an athlete. I love sharing my knowledge of nutrition with others, and I hope to be able to tie it into the showjumping world soon. Traveling to Europe has also opened my eyes to the different diets and lifestyles of countries, which is fun to learn about and experience myself.

WH: How do you manage the peripatetic lifestyle of an equestrian and the stress of traveling to horse shows?
CM: You have to learn how to live out of suitcase at times. One thing I have learned is that no matter where I am or where I am traveling, I always try to keep my same routine. Taking vitamins, getting exercise, drinking enough water is all doable if you make time for it. I feel the most stressed when I am not in my routine, so starting my day the same way is important for me. When it comes to schoolwork, that was also a challenge because it was hard to fit in the time to sit down and study, when all you want to be doing is riding or watching others ride. But, I also felt much more relaxed when the weekend came around if I knew that most of my work was already completed.
    
WH: What are your thoughts on the current state of show jumping in the USA and the rest of the world?
CM: Showing in Europe has really opened my eyes to how different it is in the USA vs. abroad. There are FEI shows every weekend in Europe, within only a few hours drive. At home, and especially on the West Coast, it is hard to gain experience jumping bigger tracks. I am hopeful that the West Coast can catch up with the rest of the world and offer more opportunities for both younger riders like myself and world ranking points so that we don’t always have to travel far from home.

WH: What is your favorite piece of equestrian equipment for horse? For rider?
CM: Oh that is a tough one! For horses, I love our Equifit boots, especially designing custom ones. For the rider, I am pretty basic, but I love wearing my Kastel shirts because they protect me from the sun but are also very breathable.

WH: What advice do you have for ambitious young riders?
CM: You might have more bad days than good, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t progressing. I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t expect top ribbons in every class, especially when the majority of the riders have much more experience than I do. This sport can be so challenging at times, and it will test every ounce of patience you have, so do enjoy the little victories, even if it is something very small. Be consistent in your routine, show up every day with a good attitude and eventually it will pay off.

WH: What is your day like? Please describe for the readers your training program.
CM: I am definitely a morning person, so my most productive hours are before noon. At home, I like to workout at least five times a week. It keeps me both physically and mentally fit and I love the endorphins after a workout. I think cross-training is important to work on core strength, flexibility and endurance. Riding at home is also very different than at shows. My trainers emphasize flat work and pole work, which keeps the horses in excellent condition. Before a show, we usually include a day of gymnastics and some light jumping.
At shows, and especially this summer, we are at the show all day, so it has been a bit different. We like to hack the horses in the morning (granted it’s not too hot) before we show and get them out of their stall at least twice a day. Traveling is tiring for horses, so keeping their routine the same is an important part of their program.

Chandler and Soleil de Cornu CH in the Grand Prix CSI 2*. Photo: Tim Heide

WH: You have outstanding horses, please tell us a little about each one and what qualities you favor in a show jumper? What were the high points of the past year?
CM: My two horses are both amazing. Damian is a 10-year-old KWPN gelding that I’ve had for about 1.5 years. He has the best personality and is the friendliest and happiest horse I have ever met. He begs for attention from anyone that walks by his stall and loves a big crowd in the show ring. He is a very careful and fast horse and he has taught me how to win. When he’s not in the show ring, he wants to be. We won our first Grand Prix together this past winter and he is my U25 and speed horse.
My newer horse, Soleil de Cornu CH (“Sosso’) is a 12-year-old Swiss Warmblood gelding. He is an amazing, experienced jumper that has done it all. I got him a few months ago and it has taken some time to figure each other out, but every round gets better. He is very scopey and can jump the moon, so I am learning to jump the bigger tracks on him. Sosso loves his sugar cubes, but other than that, he doesn’t enjoy the attention as much as Damian does.
The qualities I look for in a jumper are carefulness, scope and quick feet. I want a horse to be able to react quickly when I call upon them and doing so requires athleticism. Both of my horses also have a good mind and are very safe, which I am grateful for.

WH: How did you transition to the jumper division and what do you love about it?
CM: I have only been doing the jumpers for about give years, but I knew I always wanted to try it. I grew up playing many different sports, so I am no stranger to some good competition. It took me a few years to learn how to ride fast, but it’s been a great journey. I love the jumpers because it is very objective and unpredictable.

WH: How do your trainers prepare you and your horses? How does their coaching differ from the program you were in before? What do they have you practice?
CM: I am lucky to have my amazing trainers, Joie Gatlin and Morley Abey, who have taught me a tremendous amount in a short period of time. They both dedicate a lot of time and effort towards making me a better rider and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without the help of them both. I love to watch one of my trainers, Joie Gatlin, when she rides because she always gets the most out of every horse. No matter if she is sitting on her own horse, a 5-year-old or a client’s horse, her position is flawless yet effective and I try to mimic that as much as possible.
At home, we work on a lot of flat work, poles, cavalettis and some jumping before a show if needed. I’ve learned I can get to know my horses the best when I work with them on the flat and over poles, because I have to work on the little things that may slip my mind when I’m showing.

Chandler's dad wearing his 'Coach Rob' hat, overlooking the ring at CSI 2* Donaueschingen.

WH: You must have a routine to prepare yourself mentally before you go in the ring – what is it?
CM: My mental routine is very important to prepare myself for the ring, so I try to practice it every day. I like to walk the course at least once or twice with my trainers and use visualization practices to help remember the course and to ride effectively.

WH: What are your plans for the future?
CM: Right now, my focus is on riding, so in regards to that, I hope to continue to compete in the grand prix and U25 classes (until I age out) and become more competitive in time. I like to set goals for myself but I also need to be realistic and continue to learn as much as I can.

WH: What do you look for in a jumper prospect ?
CM: Being in Europe has made me much more aware of how important it is to look for young talent wherever you are. I love watching the young horse classes and looking for potential talents. I am always impressed by the horses that have good balance at a young age and good technique. It is hard to come across the next “Big Star” type of horse, but it is also fun to keep an eye out wherever I am.

WH: Please describe your favorite place to visit and ride on the West Coast or another part of the world?
CM: On the West Coast, I really enjoy showing at Thunderbird Showpark. The facility is beautiful, the staff and hospitality are amazing and the competition is fierce. We love to travel up there every year and support those shows. My second favorite place may be Europe now!

WH: Who is your favorite amateur jumper rider and your favorite international rider and why?
CM: My favorite international rider is McLain Ward. He has such a strong position and he rides every horse the same, which is hard to do.

WH: Who is your favorite international horse and why?
CM: I love Adrienne Sternlicht’s horse Cristalline. The mare has so much scope and I love the way she soars over the jumps.

WH: Thank you, Chandler!

 

 
September 2018 - What Makes a Helmet Safe?

An inside look at the different parts of the helmet.

by Lyndsey White

Gone are the days of simple hard plastic with a velveteen outer layer. Nowadays, helmets are held to a much higher standard of safety testing. They’re more aerodynamic and better padded, without adding extra weight, and they are stylish so riders will want to wear them. The safety of every ride is the main goal for each helmet manufacturer as they strive year after year to develop the safest helmet they can, while keeping it comfortable, attractive and easy to wear.

A few of the top helmet manufacturers around the world shared with us some of their most important components when it comes to making helmets.
 


The Outer Shell

Each component of the helmet is equally important, but it’s the outer shell that gets the most attention because it’s easily seen. The outer shell’s material must be made of something that can prevent penetration from an object such as a sharp rock or a horse’s hoof. Manufacturers these days work to find the most stylish design that’s lightweight, yet functional.

Ovation helmets, the Troxel Spirit helmet, and Back On Track’s Trauma Void helmets all have an outer shell that is made out of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastic. What is ABS thermoplastic?

It is an engineering plastic that is easy to make and fabricate, and is a proven material for structural applications when impact resistance, strength and stiffness are required, such as a helmet.

The Gatehouse helmet is also constructed from a thermoplastic, with the additional of carbon fiber or aramid additional reinforcement.
 
The Middle Layer

The middle layer of the helmet is what should absorb the majority of the impact from a fall or accident. Liners can be made from expanded polystyrene—which is a very lightweight product made of expanded polystyrene beads—made of more than 95 percent air and only about 5 percent foam. Expanded polystyrene, like that found in Gatehouse and Troxel helmets, has strong shock absorbing properties and is compression resistant.

KEP Italia helmets feature a polycarbonate and carbon fiber combination. Polycarbonate is a pliable material commonly used in eyeglasses, greenhouses, digital discs, etc. The impact strength of polycarbonate rates towards the top for impact strength, but can be susceptible to scratching.
 
The Inner Layer

The inner layer of the helmet provides comfort for the wearer—if you had to wear something rigid day in and day out, you most likely wouldn’t be compelled to wear it, right? So helmet manufacturers may add a thin liner to the inside of the helmet for a softer feel, while also protecting the shock absorbing layer from the inside.

These inner layers can include a mesh comfort liner to help wick away the rider’s sweat, as well as some extra foam for the comfort and ability to make the fit a little more custom. One K’s Air helmet even includes inflatable air pockets in the liner, which allows for the riders to adjust the helmet for comfort and fit.

Retention Straps

No helmet is effective if the retention, or chin, straps do not exist. The retention system, often referred to as straps and buckle, keep the helmet on the rider’s head during a fall when fitted and used correctly.

Most retention straps are made from a nylon webbing and plastic buckle. Some may include soft fabric covers that can cover the underside, being held together with Velcro. Some, like Gatehouse, might also be made of suede or leather.
 
Passing The Test

Did you know that wearing a helmet could reduce the risk of riding-related head injury by an estimated 50 percent, as well as the risk of death due to head injury by a whopping 70-80 percent? To ensure a helmet can accomplish these tasks, it must pass a series of tests. There are several different tests based on where you are located around the world. For instance, in the United States the standard is the ASTM/SEI (American Society for Testing and Materials/Safety Equipment Institute), which includes three main tests: the impact test, the side distortion test, and the penetration test.

The impact test measures the helmet’s ability to absorb a blunt force impact should a rider fall on their head, say onto pavement while trail riding.

The side distortion test simulates what could happen if 1,200 pounds of horse happens to land on your head during a fall. It measures the ability of the helmet to resist distortion, should that scary accident happen to you.

The penetration test measures the resistance the helmet offers to a pointed object into the ventilation area. It uses an equestrian hazard anvil, designed to approximate the angle of a horseshoe or a jump standard edge, to ensure there is no penetration by a sharp object whilst wearing your helmet.

Other testing certifications include the PAS 015 (British standard), and the AS/NZS 3838 and ARB HS 2012 (Australian standards).
 
Time for a Change?

It is recommended that all helmets be replaced after an impact, even if you don’t see much physical damage to the helmet with your naked eye. General wear and tear of a helmet not only shows its age perhaps on the outer layer, but the materials that soften the impact can degrade within three to five years.

“Longevity depends on how frequently the hat is used, the conditions of use and how the helmet is stored and even transported,” says Paul Varnsverry, Technical and Safety Product Advisor for Gatehouse Hats.

All manufacturers recommend equestrians check their helmets regularly for any obvious signs of wear to the lining and retention straps, any cracks in the structure of the middle layer and the outer layer, and finally the operation and security of the buckle.

“Irrespective of any signs of deterioration, it is recommended to replace the helmet after five years because the protective capacity diminishes over time due to the ageing of materials,” explains Silvia Fantoni with KEP Italia SRL.
 
Working Together

There is no single most important material, or part of a helmet, because the manufacturers and safety experts believe these materials must work together to protect the rider.

The equestrian helmet covers more of a person’s head than does a bicycle helmet, fitting lower on the head, particularly at the back of the skull, and has protection distributed evenly around the head, rather than concentrated in the front and top, which is why careful attention is taken by the world’s top brands.
     
Article provided by Riders4Helmets. For more information on the Riders4Helmets campaign and more information on rider safety, visit www.riders4helmets.com.

 
September 2018 - It’s WEG Time

Quadrennial competition starts Sept. 11 in North Carolina.

It’s finally time for the FEI World Equestrian Games™! Set for Sept. 11-23 at the Tyron International Equestrian Center, in Mill Spring, NC, this quadrennial, eight-discipline event is a massive undertaking and one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar.

The FEI disciplines – jumping, dressage and para dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining – are all included on the competition schedule, while equestrian-focused demonstrations and exhibitions will also be hosted throughout the duration of the event.


The Dutta Corp Dressage Team
Chef: Robert Dover
Team:

 

  • Laura Graves & Verdades
  • Adrienne Lyle & Salvino
  • Kasey Perry-Glass & Goerklintgaards Dublet
  • Steffen Peters & Rosamunde
  • Olivia LaGoy-Weltz & Lonoir are the alternate pair, and Steffen Peters’ new horse, Suppenkasper, is the alternate horse for him.


NetJets U.S. Jumping Team
Chef: Robert Ridland
Team:

  • Laura Kraut & Zeremonie
  • Devin Ryan & Eddie Blue
  • Adrienne Sternlicht & Cristalline
  • McLain Ward & Clinta and HH Azur
  • Beezie Madden and Darry Lou are the traveling reserve pair.


Eventing Team
High Performance Director: Erik Duvander
Team:

  • Phillip Dutton & Z
  • Lauren Kieffer & Vermiculus
  • Marilyn Little & RF Scandalous
  • Boyd Martin & Tsetserleg
  • Lynn Symansky & Donner


Para Dressage: Presented by Deloitte
Chef: Kai Hundt is technical delegate/chef with assistance from Michel Assouline
Team:

  • Rebecca Hart (Grade III) & El Corona Texel
  • Angela Peavy (Grade IV) & Royal Dark Chocolate
  • Kate Shoemaker (Grace IV) & Solitaer
  • Roxanne Trunnel (Grade I) & Dolton


For teams in the WEG’s other four disciplines, visit https://tryon2018.com. Television coverage was being finalized as we went to press. It’s expected to be on NBC, NBC Sports Network and the Olympic Channel, as well as streamed on FEI TV.

 
September 2018 - Dressage News & Views: Back to School

Dressage education follows a year-round, life-long calendar.

by Nan Meek

Why do we think about “back to school” in September when the new school year almost always begins in August? Isn’t August considered vacation month?

School, learning, education – it’s always a good month to learn something new, and I was fortunate to have just spent the past weekend learning a lot about my favorite subject of dressage.

For two days, I played sponge and absorbed as much as I could from George Williams, US Dressage Youth Coach, USDF President, and someone whose own education I envy. He studied at the Reitinstitute von Neindorff in Karlsruhe, Germany, worked with and alongside Karl Mikolka at Tempel Farms here in the US for 20 years, and trained in Germany with Olympic gold medalist Klaus Balkenhol, former US Dressage Team Coach.

 


This experience served as a welcome reminder of the importance of lifelong learning.

Prepare to Learn

 

“Do your homework” is something every parent tells their children, but it applies equally to adults who want to get the most from their own educational experiences.

In the weeks leading up to this clinic, I combed through old issues of dressage magazines for articles about George and his training methods. I reread Egon von Neindorff, The Art of Classical Horsemanship. I watched videos of Klaus Balkenhol and his Olympic partner Goldstern, and re-read his open letter to the FEI in which he and a list of co-signers that reads like the “who’s who” of international equestrian sport had protested the practice of rollkur (hyperflexion) and advocated “for the good of the horses and the continued good repute of international equestrian sport.”

Was that overkill for a two-day dressage clinic? Not for me. It gave me a frame of reference for what I hoped to see and learn, a perspective about the importance of the principles of dressage and a reminder that even the basics – especially the basics – of dressage really matter. They are the foundation for the training upon which a dressage horse’s life is built.

I wanted to learn as much as possible from this clinician, so I did my homework.

Engage Eyes & Ears

Some people are more visual learners, while others learn better from reading and writing. If you know which style of learner you are, it makes your choice of note taking technique much easier and more productive, whether you prefer to take photos, hand write notes or record in sound, video or text on a digital device.

US Dressage Youth Coach and United States Dressage Federation President George Williams discusses her horse, Lemuria, with Kristina Tomalesky, Chair of the San Francisco Peninsula Chapter, California Dressage Society.

With everyone attached to their smartphones these days, you might think that handwritten notetaking has disappeared – but you might be surprised. An informal survey of clinic auditors showed more than half of the note takers using the classic spiral-bound notebook and pen to record George’s words of wisdom and to scribble diagrams of the exercises he used.

The more techie auditors among us were exercising thumbs or fingertips to type into notebook computers or smartphones instead of writing. The only drawback is that it doesn’t give you the flexibility to draw diagrams, unless you have a device with a stylus and drawing capability. If you’re really talented, you could watch, listen AND type.

Riders were able to have their clinic sessions recorded for their personal use, which is an incredible learning experience – as those of you who have been clinic riders will agree. The ability to watch and hear what you experienced in the clinic arena is truly priceless, as is the ability to watch it again and again, and to review it with your regular trainer.

One of the riders asked George during her Sunday ride about something that she’d noticed in the recording of her Saturday ride. The resulting clarification and the exercises that followed their discussion helped her and her horse have an even more productive ride on the second day of the clinic.

Was that the sign of a good student? Definitely!

A lifelong horse owner, Nan Meek lives on the scenic San Mateo County coast where dressage courts and riding trails overlook the Pacific Ocean. She competed in dressage to the Prix St. Georges level with her late beloved Lipizzan Andy (Maestoso II Athena II-1), and now practices the discipline of dressage with her handsome Spanish warmblood Helio Jerez 2000 and dotes on the newest family member Mischa (Neapolitano Angelica II-1).

Whether you attend a clinic or ride in one, the learning experience is what you make it. As an auditor, you can just sit back and soak in the education, you can take a few casual notes, or you can go all out and write down every word. There’s something to be said for all of the above – there’s no right or wrong way to audit.

Clinic riders can have a variety of goals. While one rider may be looking for techniques and eyes on the ground to help with a specific movement that has been giving them trouble, another rider may be looking for a new approach to raising the overall quality of their performance. Still others may want a combination of both. George spoke with each rider in advance about their goals for the clinic, and afterward the riders expressed the euphoria that comes from results exceeding even the highest expectations.

As one of the clinic volunteers, I was helping with set up, tear down, photography, running errands – a jack of all trades. But it didn’t prevent me from taking copious notes, which I’ll be transcribing, studying, and putting into practice. I learned a lot, and I’ll continue to learn as I use the exercises and techniques George taught the clinic riders when I practice with my own horse.

Practice, Practice, Practice

There’s a reason dressage is called a discipline – it takes discipline to keep practicing day after day! Especially when learning a new movement, or teaching your horse a new movement, or attempting to do both simultaneously.

Whether it’s trying to get your 20-meter circle to actually be a circle (“ride from quarter point to quarter point,” meaning the points at each quarter of the way around the circle) or figuring out how to develop flying changes of lead (“first you have to have the quality of the canter”) it takes practice to develop your aids and your horse’s response into a seemingly effortless, invisible symphony of communication.

That’s the elusive goal of every dressage rider, from Training Level to Grand Prix – and that’s why the discipline of dressage requires us to go back to school again and again. Fortunately for us, this kind of educational experience is addictive – the more you go to clinics (as an auditor or as a rider) and the more you learn, the more you want to learn even more.

So here’s to the “back to school” spirit and to the teachers, trainers, coaches and clinicians who help us enjoy a lifetime of learning.

 
August 2018 - The Gallop: The Road More Travelled

Jumping rider development pathway is becoming well trod.

by Kim F. Miller

DiAnn Langer has been talking about the “pathway” for a long time. As USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe, she’s led the way in establishing a clear progression for young athletes with international jumping aspirations. National governing bodies in mainstream sports – volleyball, basketball, baseball, etc. – have long had these and DiAnn is among many to feel equestrian sport deserved and needed the same.

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>