Notebook: What I Learned from William Fox-Pitt

Strides for Equality Equestrians Ever So Sweet scholarship winner Sierra Lesny has been busy this winter! While basing in Florida with Sara Kozumplik, Sierra has dipped her toe into the eventing waters and found herself hooked. Today she brings us her observations from a recent clinic with William Fox-Pitt. Don’t forget: applications are now open for the next round of the Ever So Sweet scholarship! Click here to learn more and apply.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Madren Photography.

Learning opportunities galore here in Florida! I was given the remarkable opportunity to ride with William Fox-Pitt. We focused not only on our own riding but training the horse every time we sit on them. By trotting fences we allowed the horses to figure out their own footwork. This bled into our cross country when the perfect distance didn’t appear but we knew we had an athletic, honest horse.

I love that William focuses not on jumping at a perfect distance every time, but instead training the horse to be adaptable to short and long distances because that is realistically what happens on course. You won’t always get that perfect distance and the horse needs to be able to still jump honest and clean.

We as riders like that perfect distance but at the end of the day in eventing, you want a clear round and sometimes you get there by finding different take-off spots. And a true athletic horse that is well-trained will help cover us when things go differently than you planned. By focusing heavily on this footwork and quick thinking, William helps create better and more prepared horses as well as riders.

I really found it refreshing that someone with his accomplishments was interested in teaching all levels. He was genuinely interested in every horse and rider and their progress no matter what level they were at.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Madren Photography.

And as if training under William wasn’t enough, we had a beautiful cocktail party at Overlook Farm. How awesome to take off our boots and helmets and enjoy the company of all the hardworking people involved. It’s so eye opening to see the behind the scenes of what all goes into events like this but it is worth every moment! I am so thankful to Strides for Equality Equestrians for making all of this possible for me.

Many thanks to Lisa Madren for generously providing a few shots from the clinic — if you rode with William, check out Lisa’s website to purchase your photos!