HORSEMASTERSHIP - DAY 4, 1/25/2008
Today (Day 4), the two groups of four riders participated in a flat lesson without stirrups. Mr. Morris' lesson began with exercises that were directed at improving the rider, i.e.; regulating your walk, trot and canter, with one hand; turning your toe clockwise and counter clockwise while keeping you leg in position; keeping your seat in the saddle while you open and close your leg, and; placing your leg in front of the saddle while you canter. He has continuously and repeatedly stressed throughout the four days of the workshop that riding with your thumb on top of the reins is vital.
When the group's lesson switched to exercises that focused more on the horse, the riders rode a line of cavaletti in the walk, trot, and canter while placing their hands on their head, chest, hip and, back (he cautioned that this exercise needed to be introduced to riders gradually). In addition, the participants rode in serpentine and figure eight patterns, executed the half halt in circles and demonstrated haunches in and haunches out. One of the highlights of the day was watching Mr. Morris ride, Streetwise, a horse belonging to Beezie Madden and ridden in the clinic by Karl Cook. In a very short period of time, Mr. Morris had the horse looking very flexible and elastic!
The lecture today on course designing was presented by Steve Stephens. Initially, Mr. Stephens spoke about his approach to designing courses for the young jumper and children's divisions with an emphasis on the course elements being geared toward the horse and rider's developmental level. The lecture addressed how course elements present different questions to the horse/rider combination such as the placement of the triple combinations, rollback turns and Swedish Oxers. Mr. Stephens believes that a "course designer's responsibility is to make your horse go better, with a nice track and competition."
After the lecture on course designing, the riders set up the course for the jumping clinic scheduled for day five.
Catch up with me tomorrow with some thoughts about the final day.
Talk to you later.