Since it’s World Mental Health Day, we decided to feature a guest contribution by Dóra Göcze who is not only a horse trainer and multiple APHA European Champion but also a mental trainer.
Ugh, the pandemic has been hard, right? If you feel like there’s hardly a light at the end of this “lockdown tunnel“, here are some strategies that might help you finding your motivation to practice – even if there’s no show season around the corner. (Good news is: It looks like there is…)
Heels down, chin up – well, if it were only those two things you had to master, Hunt Seat Equitation would probably be easy. But it is a very complex combination of seat, posture, cues, riding a pattern while presenting a horse as a Hunter horse. We have talked to two competitors who have successfully mastered this class for their advice.
It looks like a dance, two souls guided by an invisible bond – that is the ultimate goal in Showmanship. Whereas in other events, riders can rely on cues with their legs, voice, a bridle and the impact of shifting their weight in the saddle, Showmanship exhibitors only have a little chain – and ideally, it looks like they’re not even using that. But what does it take to create that picture? We have talked to a World class trainer, Jenny Jordan, and three successful European Amateur exhibitors about the first steps of the event and how to ultimately master that skilled dance that high-class Showmanship is.
It’s a little object. Maybe a plastic bottle or a pink balloon. But your horse reacts as if the thing is about to kill it. Sounds familiar? Usually, every equestrian has been in such a situation where they ask themselves whatever is going on inside their horse’s head. But the good news is: You can work on that. We have talked to Swiss trainer Linda Johansson about her way of making horses “bombproof”.
The variety – it’s what a lot of people love about our sport. It offers a wide range of events, from Western to English – and some rather exotic events such as Horse & Dog Trail: It’s an event that is offered at some shows hosted by German riding associations, but it is also part of playdays etc. We talked to Jutta Brinkhoff, who is an EWU German Champion and multiple medal winner in that event.
Even though, we mostly cover topics that deal with our sport, we all know that there are many other things to do with horses. Plus, we all know how closely our emotions are tied to our horses‘ behavior. This can be hard at times, but also lead to a learning process. The latter is the idea behind the concept of horse-assisted coaching. We have talked to Catharina Falch, who is not only an avid Western Rider, but also a coach for horse-assisted coaching. She told us all about it, the horses they use and why it is more than leading a horse and looking into a crystal ball.
One thing that separates the European horse show industry from the one in the States is the fact that Europe actually has an off-season. While that is sad in a way – not showing for a few months? Ugh – it also has its perks. Plus, it would be too cold for showing anyway. We talked to three young trainers who told us how they make use of the off-season.
Precision, flow, skill – those are only three terms one could use to describe Western Riding. The event is – for most riders – the ultimate event they teach their all-round horses. Mastering a pattern with approximately eight lead changes can be quite a challenge. We have talked two three trainers who have mastered this challenge multiple times and have become champions in several classes.
Starting a youngster, introducing a young horse to the show circuit, that is an exciting process – one that comes with many decisions. Owner and trainer have to decide which association and which futurity program they want to show the horse in. We have talked to Linda Leckebuch-Stark and Carolin Lenz about that decision and looked at two of the largest programs in Europe.