Cel­e­brate Sim­ple

Practical Horseman - - Editor's Note - Ed­i­tor

The past week I’ve been soak­ing/ wrap­ping my daugh­ter’s foot (in­fected from a splin­ter), car­ing for seven fos­ter kit­tens and spend­ing a lot of time in the of­fice. When I fi­nally found a few hours to make it out to the barn, I didn’t have the en­ergy to try any of the train­ing tips or ex­er­cises in this month’s is­sue, usu­ally one of my fa­vorite things to do.

Trot­ting around on my horse, though, I re­called some­thing grand prix rider Cal­lan Solem told riders in a clinic (page 42). She shared with them a four-point list she re­views ev­ery time she rides. One point is to check her po­si­tion. Over­all, I think my po­si­tion is pretty good, but as I rode, I re­al­ized an old habit of let­ting my shoul­ders creep for­ward had set in again. I brought them back and felt the rip­ple ef­fect—my seat be­came more an­chored and I sunk the weight far­ther into my heels. A bonus—I’ve been able to prac­tice bring­ing my shoul­ders back even when not on my horse—at the com­puter, in the car, (though ad­mit­tedly not when I’ve been search­ing un­der the bed for a mis­placed kit­ten!).

The ex­pe­ri­ence with my po­si­tion made me think about the other ar­ti­cles in this is­sue—they are filled with sim­ple tips and ex­er­cises. But don’t let the idea that some­thing is sim­ple fool you—if you fo­cus on the ex­er­cises and ad­vice our ex­perts give, your rid­ing will im­prove.

In ad­di­tion to Cal­lan’s ar­ti­cle, Cana­dian grand prix jumper rider El­iz­a­beth Gin­gras shares an ex­er­cise to help you de­velop the right can­ter on course: rid­ing two cav­al­letti or ground poles in a line and adding and sub­tract­ing strides in each pass (page 28). Though sim­ple, the ex­er­cise “men­tally and phys­i­cally en­gages both horse and rider by con­tin­u­ally chal­leng­ing you to ad­just the can­ter in dif­fer­ent ways,” El­iz­a­beth says.

In his col­umn, Jim Wof­ford of­fers four tips to im­prove your tim­ing to a jump (page 16). Three of them are pretty straightforward: look at the jump, ride a steady rhythm and use gym­nas­tics. (In­ter­est­ingly he and Cal­lan have a slightly dif­fer­ent ap­proach to help you feel a steady rhythm. Let us know which one works for you.)

So if you’re like me and find that life keeps you out of the sad­dle more than you’d like, fo­cus on sim­ple—com­mit to check­ing your po­si­tion, can­ter­ing two cav­al­letti or look­ing at the jump. In other words, cel­e­brate sim­ple.

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