We are all familiar with Brody Robertson’s successful show jump design business, but did you know he’s also a well accomplished rider and effective clinician to boot? Area IV riders got to experience a Brody clinic first hand when he visited West End Farm in Kansas City, Kansas earlier this month.
Brody has many years of experience in the show jump ring and brings a hearty focus on rider position and effectiveness to his clinics. His teaching style immediately reminded me of George Morris, whom Brody has also learned from over the years, from the delivery of his instructions to the basic yet integral position fixes that are so important for all styles of riding.
The riders in this clinic ranged from younger children on their ponies to Training level eventers, and all walked away with a few new tools to utilize in the upcoming winter season. Using a simple, equitation-style course, Brody emphasized the importance of straightness and the intent with which you must deliver your instructions to your horse.
He started each group off with at least 10 minutes of simply walking on the buckle with feet out of the irons. This allows both horse and rider to relax and stretch before starting work, he explained. It was interesting to see a few of the typically keyed up horses visibly relaxing when they weren’t put immediately to work. This also provided the opportunity for Brody to explain his teaching methods, which he peppered with entertaining anecdotes and analogies to make them relatable.
From the walk, riders were put through each respective gait, with Brody immediately honing in on leg and seat position and how this translates over into jumping. Another thing I was very impressed with was his knack for remembering names! The first group contained seven riders, and he did not once forget a name. I suppose I am impressed with this due to my complete ineptitude for remembering names.
While not every rider in this clinic was an eventer, I think that the concepts taught were applicable for any discipline. Brody kept using the analogy of asking his math teacher why he had to learn certain things. “When am I ever going to use this in the real world?” he asked. He then explained that even something as simple as honing your jumping position would pay off over time through both physical fitness as well as effectiveness as the jumps increased in size.
Brody was quick to let a rider know if they’d done something incorrectly, throwing out a few George Morris worthy quips, but he was equally quick to offer helpful advice on how to improve on that mistake the next time through.
My personal theory with clinics is that if you can come away with just one new tool to use in the future, it is a success. Not every clinician will instruct the same way or focus on the same things, but there is always something to learn. No matter what discipline you choose, there is always a new concept to wrap your mind around. Even the reining riders who share the barn watched several sessions, asking questions and subsequently expanding their knowledge base.
Brody was a very approachable clinician who instilled confidence in the riders with his quiet approach and systematic teaching. He did not over face anyone but made his exercises challenging for even the most advanced rider. We definitely plan to invite him back, and would highly recommend taking the opportunity to participate in a clinic near you!