Friday, June 17, 2011

Going Green Eventing

Day One with Lucinda
Last week I was presented with the opportunity to volunteer as jump crew for a Luncida Green clinic thanks to the event organizer Pam Wiedemann. The event took place on the Fair Hill International grounds on June 8th and 9th. In an attempt to avoid the heat the clinic start time was moved ahead several hours to 6 a.m. Lucinda's footwork on Day One laid the foundation for Day Two. My favorite moments were the discussions at days end with the group, between Lucinda and I in the ring, and even during a rare opportunity over lunch! There were conversations on how Eventing has changed since it's infancy as a sport. Many comparisons between American and European riding styles. Course Design. Breeding. Nutrition. Tack. Current riders and their mounts. What I will take away from the experience is as follows:
  1. Lucinda made a point about riders, especially Americans, being pampered in their training in that they seem to rely on instruction at every step of the way. She stressed the unique quality of cross country being independent; just you and your horse on course. The idea sat with me the days following the clinic's end because I have been so frustrated about not having a rig to get off my farm for lessons for almost two years now. The few lessons I have been able to take have been by the grace of someone willing to pick me up or when my Dad lends me his truck for a few days at a time (but this is neither convenient nor frequent because he lives 90 miles away). So I have to depend on what I can do alone. I spend hours upon hours watching youtube videos, observing stadium at Fair Hill, and recently started reading some instructional literature. The rest pulls off the experiences I already have. I had to step back and realize that although I really need help with Rose, I have accomplished so much in just 6 weeks back in the tack. Point being; sometimes being independent has it's benefits.
  2. Another point centered on event formatting (the death of long format), course design (that saturation of open faced/soft fences on courses), and qualifications (too easy to get to a 2**). These points occurred simultaneously within one discussion. Her point was courses use to be longer, much longer and that the fact that actual fitness is usually not well respresented or practice. Example being that years ago courses were 14 or so miles long, so maybe riders were training for fitness at a distance equivalent of 12 miles. As courses are shortened, so are the fitness equivalents. Makes you wonder how much preperation goes into courses that are now in the 5 mile range. Next was course design. Lucinda seemed to be adimantly opposed of ground lines on every fence because they compensate for experience and training. And also that most fences now are soft in that they don't require the rider to sit back and ride (roll tops/ramps/ect). The last point pulled of the previosuly mentioned two. If courses are being made shorter and 'safer', then riders are reaching levels that they may not be entirely qualified to do. She mentioned the two star level in particular and why there have been so many injuries at that level. From what I understand, she sees the number of injuries increasing over the years as courses have been made 'safer'. All in all, it was an insightful conversation.
  3. Lastly she discussed cross country riding and striding. Don't always hold a line to it strides. Sometimes you get there in more, sometimes in less. If you have trained your horse to think on it's feet, you should be successful in either scenario. Very interesting.
Some Pictures from the Clinic

Cheers to having th spirit of Lucinda during our cross country runs!

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