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July 07, 2017 1 Comment
By: Maggie Carty
After not having any professional instruction for almost two years, I was a little nervous to ride in front of someone who competes all the way up and down the east coast, and whose barn is featured in Equestrian Living Magazine. I typically flat my horse twice a week, jump twice a week, and then trail ride as much as I can. Sometimes this fluctuates into running around in the woods and then the following week getting back into the sandbox. Another thought crossed my mind as well: a group of other amateurs who regularly attend clinics/lessons will be there to watch me potentially fly off my horse. I signed up to ride in a show jumping clinic with August Torselieri because I knew I needed a tune up, but also wanted a challenge.
In the weeks before the clinic I spent a lot of time making sure my horse was physically fit enough to do a lot of jumping over two days in the muggy June weather. I also thought about my position, my equipment and a lot of other details that go into my riding. I wanted to prepare as much as I could, but ultimately I only knew that day 1 was grid work and the 2nd day was courses. I watched the clinic he gave last year at the same facility, and all of the lessons were tailored to each horse/rider combination.
Since I have been doing my own things at horse shows, I was eager [also slightly apprehensive] to learn from an outside instructor who had no pre-existing knowledge of me or horse. Even better, I learned that I was the only one in the 3’ - 3’3 height.
Day 1: Grids! My favorite! Before we started, August asked what my goals were and what I typically compete at. I mentioned that having a smaller horse is usually an issue for me in any competition setting, because I can do both the add step and leave-out. We had a discussion about why that could be. I personally get a lot out of talking about riding and then putting it into practice. We warmed up and instantly smoothed out some of my transitions. His recommendation helped my horse and I smooth over our flying changes in an efficient, balanced manner. He set some warm up fences up and Paige was a little star. Once the fences were raised, I enjoyed a dialogue between August and I on how speed, collection, straightness effect my ride through the grids. By the time my hour was over Paige had earned herself some [ok, plenty of] carrots.
Day 2: Courses I was super excited to ride! I had a later time so I wouldn’t be as sweaty, and I had a better idea of what I was in for. After another little warm up, we tackled some courses. They started out easy, medium, and then my favorite: a long ride single to start. I like to run to these typically, but he reminded me to keep one rhythm, and it was a great fence! He added some other challenging pieces in, and then compared the exercises to what I could encounter in the show ring. Even when I was riding to something I was unsure of, I was up for the challenge.
I think in general people are shy of riding at clinics and although I understand why, I encourage everyone to try it! Being pushed out of your comfort zone is the only way to improve both horse/rider. You never stop learning at work, school, life so why not keep learning new things from other professionals? Another set of eyes can also help smooth over something you may have missed and really take your ride from good to great. A ton of professionals are willing to travel to your farm or welcome you to theirs, too! Take a friend and have a blast, this is supposed to be fun after all.
Get Maggie's clean, clinic look:
Helmet: GPA Speed Air 2X Helmet
Breeches: Tailored Sportsman Ladies Vintage Contrast Patch and Tredstep Symphony Rosa Side Zip Breech
Boots: Ariat Womens Heritage Contour Zip Field Boot
Belt: Noble Outfitters On The Bit
Gloves: Roeckl Roeck-Grip Chester Gloves
Saddle: Collegiate Convertible Diploma Close Contact Saddle
Bridle: Nunn Finer Hampton Bridle
Martingale: Crosby Raised Standing Martingale
Protective Boots: Horze Advanced ProTec Boot Set
About our blogger: Maggie Carty is a brand ambassador for The Carousel Horse. Maggie is a 2016 graduate of Seton Hill University where she competed for, and was the captain of their IHSA team. Maggie actively horse shows in the tri-state area.
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