Kris Hamilton was here last Saturday to work with the dressage team. 12 riders participated and several other students audited the clinic. The clinic started with a theory session from what Kris is calling “The Toolbox Series”. The balance of the horse was the focus and Kris made it easy and fun to understand by encouraging students to always start with something nice when riding and to seek the horse’s approval in all things. “Simplify” was something that she repeated over and over to encourage rider’s to not complicate their riding technique. She taught the group that balance is a product of a clear, steady rhythm. Using balance at the trot we as an example we discussed how scores of 7 – 10 were earned and how scores of 4 – 6 might be assigned. Kris’s message was one of a simple formula of energy and contact to create suppleness and therefore balance.
When we moved outside to the ring these concepts were put into practice by the riders in 3 mounted sessions at various levels. Riders experimented with their horse’s natural energy before taking up their reins and learning about “neck flip”. Riders in the first group worked on their trot and trot lengthenings to show harmony with the horse. Canter circles were taught to another group and the final group, having switched horses just for fun, ended up riding a drill team style pattern demonstrating how riding with a partner helps to motivate both horse and rider.
|Claire and JB|
|Drill Team Group|
|Riders allowing their horses the freedom to simply walk. Kris is explaining to the auditors what is going on.|
|Kris showing Liv how to "flip" Frampton's neck|