By Susan Harris
Continuing Education is amazing! Last winter I was very fortunate to receive a scholarship form MSEDA. This scholarship allowed me to attend the outstanding USDF Trainers Conference in Wellington, Florida. The symposium was with Johann Hinnemann. He has been the coach for German, Dutch and Canadian Olympic Teams. He also is a Reitmeister or Master Rider.
Every year the seminar is held at a beautiful farm in the White Fences Equestrian community. The participants range from 1st level through Gran Prix. The horses and riders are outstanding! Each pair has specific issues that are addressed in their sessions.
It is such a wonderful learning experience to sit around and watch these amazing athletes. It is always good to hear the about new techniques in dealing with training problems and to refresh yourself on the basics.
The following are some of the ideas and exercises I found particularly helpful:
Focus and structure:
Saying out loud what you plan to do at each letter.
Visualize each movement you plan to do.
How should it look - how to prepare to do the movement – finish & evaluate.
Not to go so deep in corners as to upset the rhythm or cadence.
Always shoulder fore.
Canter to achieve more activity.
Many transitions within the gaits and in lateral exercises.
Renew activity – example, medium to collected to medium.
Look where you want to go.
Clean simple aids and repetition.
I am still excited about the seminar. Learning so many great exercises and new ideas is wonderful. I continually refer to the extensive notes that I took during the conference.
In addition to attending the MSEDA Trainers Conference, I went to the USDF Certified Trainers Symposium with featured speaker Shelley Francis. (Shelley and her horse, Doktor were the alternates for the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio).
Shelley gave an overview of her training philosophy. I loved her simple and quite approach, while maintaining the utmost attention to detail. We viewed her instructing to several of her students. She also gave a fabulous demonstration on her Grand Prix horse, Danilo.
Fortunately Shelley made room for me to take several weekly lessons the entire time I was in Wellington. My 6 year old horse, Endeavor, who is just starting 3rd level greatly benefited from Shelley’s patient training methods. Shelley really helped with his overly enthusiastic Flying Changes.
My students benefit every day from the new exercises I learned, my better eye on the ground and the enthusiasm I attained while in Florida. I appreciate the financial help from MSEDA very much! Florida 2016 was such a wonderful experience.Thank you for your sponsorship!
Susan L. Harris