Valu­able Dres­sage Lessons For Jumpers

Olympian Laura Graves’ valu­able dres­sage lessons for jumper rid­ers

Practical Horseman - - CONTENTS - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY ERIN GIL­MORE

Olympian Laura Graves taught jumper rider Kama Godek's stu­dents—who won the clinic as a prize for best video dur­ing Barn Night at the 2017 Wash­ing­ton International Horse Show—that no mat­ter the dis­ci­pline, the fun­da­men­tals of cor­rect rid­ing ring true from horse to horse.

Though grand prix show jumper Kama Godek’s in­door is usu­ally set with jumps, there wasn’t a fence in sight for the clinic with dres­sage rider Laura Graves. In­stead, the Olympic bronze medal­ist and World Eques­trian Games’ dou­ble sil­ver medal­ist helped a group of jumper rid­ers hone in on their dres­sage ba­sics, show­ing that no mat­ter the dis­ci­pline, the fun­da­men­tals of cor­rect rid­ing ring true from horse to horse and from sad­dle to sad­dle.

Graves shared her wealth of dres­sage knowl­edge dur­ing a “Dres­sage for Jump­ing” clinic held last sum­mer in Aldie, Vir­ginia, cour­tesy of the Wash­ing­ton International Horse Show and BarnMan­ager.com. Kama Godek LLC’s team won the clinic as a prize for best video dur­ing Barn Night at the 2017 WIHS.

Re­spon­sive­ness, straight­ness and steady con­tact were the train­ing pil­lars that Graves il­lus­trated with var­i­ous ex­er­cises and vi­su­al­iza­tions. She summed up her role to the eight clinic rid­ers this way: “When I meet peo­ple who have had their horses for a long time, I say, ‘Some­where in your 10- or 11-year re­la­tion­ship, you guys have writ­ten a con­tract. It’s like a prenup­tial. You say, OK, you do this and I’ll do that and you don’t buck me off, run away with me or be naughty. And I won’t do x, y or z.’ I come in and help you re­write that con­tract a lit­tle bit. Me­di­a­tion is a big part of my job.”

Trainer Kama Godek rides her 6-year-old mare HRH van de El­sakker in the clinic.

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