Hailing from Woodloch Stable, which is widely known for its successful and humane training program, it wasn’t my first time hearing someone compare riding to parenting. But hearing four-star veteran Becky Holder wryly remind riders in a clinic that horses who aren’t taught to respect their rider’s aids “learn very quickly that curfew isn’t really curfew” added further insight and humor to the analogy.
Yesterday’s weather was gorgeous at the Schweiss family’s Magister Equitum Stables in Hector, Minn. Though I was just there over the weekend for Roebke’s Run Horse Trials, I was once more taken by the scenery. The facilities and grounds are picturesque and welcoming, with a rolling cross-country course that offered many schooling opportunities for riders and horses of all levels. Becky Holder worked with four separate groups of riders throughout the day, and I had the privilege of learning by watching a Starter/Beginner Novice group ride in the morning and a Novice/Training group in the afternoon.
Becky gave her groups sets of questions to navigate and tailored each pair’s rides based on their individual challenges. For instance, some riders who were hesitant to their fences were instructed to “send the horse away” upon landing, driving them forward to gain momentum. Others were given instruction on adopting more defensive riding positions to combat sticky ditch descents. “Longer rein, not looser rein!” Becky told one rider, reminding the importance of not throwing away the contact.
I was able to capture a few videos from the clinic sessions. Please excuse the audio quality and choppy camerawork — the gnats thought that I smelled delicious and were very persistent.
The Starter/Beginner Novice group schools in the hollow:
The Novice/Training group encounters the bank, part 1:
All in all, it was a fun and full day brimming with educational opportunities for horses, riders and spectators alike. I enjoyed Becky’s thorough feedback and ability to instantaneously pinpoint each horse and rider pair’s needs. Thank you for organizing this wonderful clinic, Ann Bower Weber, and thanks to the Schweiss family for hosting everyone at your facility. And of course, thanks to Becky for her time, expertise and enthusiasm for the sport. Go Becky. Go Eventing.