Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Riding with Beth Underhill at Can Am Equine Expo 2015

What an amazing 3 days riding at the Can Am Equine Expo with my childhood hero, Olympian Show Jumper Beth Underhill. I was so incredibly nervous to have a coach of Beth's calibre and expertise critiquing my riding, but what a valuable opportunity!

We arrived on Good Friday and Sabio was an absolute dream - he settled into his stall nicely and we got ready to ride on day 1. Sabio is my off the track Thoroughbred gelding I purchased in the fall, and have only shown twice (January and March) before riding at Can Am.

My key takeaways from Day 1 included:

  • Take a deep breathe and try to relax and focus... remembering courses is key 
  • Collection is important - be able to adjust strides easily from shorter to longer
  • Precision is important - riding every jump with a plan, riding every transition with timing
  • Use poles at the top end of the ring to encourage riding the whole ring
From Day 2:
  • Ask, Tell, Demand - this is similar to the Parelli phases 
  • Transitions need to be snappy - the horse needs to respond right away
  • Practice lengthening and shortening strides in the same line (although Sabio really just needs practice with shortening)
  • Practice transitions within a line of jumps
  • Have a mix of trot and canter approaches to jumps
  • Gymnastics are key to teaching form and patience to horses while jumping
From Day 3:
  • Outside aids hold a turn together
  • Plan turns a jump ahead - e.g. taking a jump on an angle to set up better for the next jump
  • Practice Figure 8's with jumps along the outside wall. 
  • Practice roll backs for smooth turns and centred to each jump
  • Count strides and know your plan of strides for every line and turn
All in all it was fantastic but I did have my fair share of blunders with successes - watch the footage and get my take on things... with both the good and embarrassing moments... http://youtu.be/1xpE6OMMpYc 

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