Clemson University: Kim Severson Clinic Recap

Collegiate eventing is a growing sport among college athletes, offering an alternative to the traditional hunter/jumper, saddleseat and western options typically seen in athletic programs. The Clemson University Eventing Team recently hosted a clinic with Kim Severson and kindly sent us this recap. Do you have a tip about a college team or rider? Email [email protected]

Clemson riders learning from the best. Clemson riders learning from the best.

From Christina Kearse, Leigh Casaceli, and Sarah Rains:

Last month the Clemson Intercollegiate Eventing Team hosted a clinic with three time Rolex winner and Olympic Silver medalist Kim Severson at Stoneridge Equestrian Center in Liberty, SC. We had seventeen riders ranging from the Beginner Novice to Intermediate level.

The first day of the clinic focused on show jumping. Kim set up several exercises including a line of three bounces, an angled one stride, and a two stride to two stride oxer line. Each exercise demanded accuracy, straightness, and often repetition in order for horse and rider to correctly achieve the task at hand. Kim created a desire within each rider to strive for perfection when completing the exercise, but also demonstrated the importance of making mistakes to find our weaknesses and to better our riding. For those riding lazier horses, Kim stressed forwardness from the second we ask the horse to canter, as we travel through the turn, and right up to the base of the jump. Kim demonstrated the importance of the rider correctly supporting and guiding the horse through these exercises, which helped form a strong foundation for our cross country ride the following day.

Practicing exercises laid out by Kim Severson.

Practicing exercises laid out by Kim Severson.

The second day of the clinic was spent on the cross country course. Before going over any jumps, riders were first tested on their feel of their horse’s speed. Kim set up a pre-metered track and asked riders to travel at a set speed until they reached the one-minute marker. The rider was not allowed to use a watch and therefore had to determine their horse’s pace by feel. We then began jumping four or five jumps in mini courses to again practice pace and moving forward in between fences.  Kim added technical elements by using stadium jumps around the ditch and water complex, which utilized the same skills we practiced in the ring and enforced accuracy and precision. One of the key points that Kim stressed was the importance of practice. Both the repetition and versatility of the exercises allowed the riders to give their horses the tools to perform at the best of their ability.

Cross country day with Kim Severson.

Cross country day with Kim Severson. 

Kim knew when to push and challenge a horse and rider pair, and she knew when to give them a mental brake and praise them for the small accomplishments and progress they made. There were many pats for each horse as well as smiles for each rider. Everyone was tested mentally and physically in their abilities, but Kim also used each situation as a positive learning experience. Thank you Kim for spending the weekend with the Clemson Intercollegiate Eventing Team and for sharing your abundant knowledge and love of the sport with us!

Here is some footage from the clinic for your viewing pleasure:

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