NEDA Symposium Day #1

Today was an excellent clinic with Olympian Steffen Peters and his wife Shannon. They work so well as a team-complimenting each other with their individual strengths. Shannon focuses on the rider's position and effect of the aids. Steffen looks more at the training of the horse and helping the rider develop a plan to help make the training process simpler. It was a real treat to watch Steffen ride two of the demo horses. They were showing some resistance to the bridle and he helped them work through it while letting the rider's watch. Sometimes this is the best way for a rider to learn-watching the corrections happen on their horse while taking the pressure off of them to learn it in front of an audience. I saw some beautiful horses today as well. I think that Jody Pearson-Keating's Friesian gelding Bauke is really cute and has a great working attitude. They communicate really well as a team and I saw them at a clinic at Pineland Farms a few months ago as well. There was a really talented stallion working at Intermediare II but his name is not registering in my mind-I will have to look at the program again. I had a successful first day selling products at my SandraB. Designs booth and I hope that the next two days are even better. I am able to watch the lessons in between lunch and breaks so I get the best of both worlds- I get to audit and also sell. Yeah! I chatted with J.J. Tate today about websites and gave her a "Begin the Dance" tee shirt.  I recognized her from Robert Dover's t.v. show America's Next Equestrian Star and I really like the design of her website: http://www.team-tatedressage.com/. She was super nice and loved the tee shirt. Some comments from Shannon that I loved and totally agreed with were: 1) reminding riders to drop their knees/thighs down to the ground and not point the knee forward toward the shoulder 2) do not scoop the seat at the canter and get the seat towards the back of the saddle 3) the seat creates the tempo of the horse-it should stay consistent 4) the upper body must remain tall and erect with the elbows elastic and down

Some training tips from Steffen that I loved were: 1) when the horse gives resistance in the hand tap the hind with the whip 2) make sure the contact is playful and not dull and heavy 3) do not just practice the movements of the test exactly as they are written, try to "test" your horse's reaction to your aids as you ask for the moves in different places  4) when the horse gives major resistance to the hand make sure to keep the horse's body moving by flexion or yielding so the horse can't stop and use his full strength against you

Here are some photos of the facility from the day I arrived. Hadley Farm is a beautiful place. The UMASS college riders train at this facility. I took some video clips of Steffen fixing the demo horses but I am not sure that I will post them until I have more clips from this weekend. I know that DressageClinic.com is videotaping the entire clinic and will have videos available on their website. I will post more information and photos tomorrow!

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