MY EXPERIENCES WITH EAST AND WEST COAST RIDERS AND TRAINERS
Since the last blog, several people have asked for my opinion about the difference, if any, between east coast verses west coast riding and training. As a catch rider in the junior ranks for almost six years, I was very fortunate to get to know and to work under the direction of trainers from the east and the west coasts. When considering classic hunt-seat equitation training techniques, I did not experience any recognizable differences between the professionals from either coast that I was privileged to work with while catch riding.
What seems to drive discussions about the differences between the coasts is the actual number of riders, trainers, and horse shows on a particular coast. The number of junior competitors in the equitation ranks from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut is the highest in the US. To account for the population differences, the USEF has adopted and adjusted the rules for the qualifying criteria for the major equitation finals. For example, the junior equitation riders from the regions with the highest number of people must acquire more points to qualify for the USEF Medal (this year, NJ, NY, and Conn. require seventy-five points and two wins to qualify). Another example, which illustrates the awareness of this issue is the point system for the WIHS Equitation Classic, a class size with more than fifty participants – a common occurrence during the Wellington circuit- is split to decrease the number of points an individual rider can receive for placing in a large class.
While competing in the junior equitation ranks, I was fortunate to get to know several of the riders from the west coast when they came east to show during the winter or summer circuits or at the indoor shows. In 2007, and again this year, while participating in the Horsemanship Program with George Morris, I was fortunate to spend a week with several west coast riders, as well. From these experiences, I cannot say that I see any recognizable differences in competiveness of the riders or in the techniques used to train the riders.
Catch up with me next week when I will attempt to answer another one of your recent questions.
Thanks for your continued support!
Talk to you later,