F and I Annual Course – January 2011, Addington

As always, Kenneth Clawson delivered an informative series of coaching sessions, encouraging all participants, riders and audience alike, to think and to participate.
Emphasis was on awareness of the horses’ regular stride patterns, together with control and accuracy. The Counting of Strides, and in particular the riders being challenged to be consistent in being able to ride defined numbers of strides on circles on each rein, caused some amusement!*
Although the same basic floor pattern was used for each group each day, Kenneth varied the exercises and the degree of difficulty to match each group of horses, and a good time was had by all… even those whose horses were very jolly about being out after the recent weather interruptions.
Group discussion and Question and Answer at the end of the sessions and the end of the two days further deepened our insights into Kenneth’s coaching techniques. Discussions included topics such as the complexities of working with different personalities and preferences, where Kenneth provided fascinating insights into what we’d seen in the sessions, and also commented on the preparation work behind the scenes for team occasions internationally. Much wisdom to take home for those lucky enough to stay to the end.
Many thanks Kenneth!
[*Editor’s note : Go check it out – can you ride 20 stride circles, then 16 stride circles, then (on more advanced horses) 12 and 8 stride circles, in canter, on each rein equally? It’s a great exercise and quite revealing … try using it for dressage riders too, for teaching counting!]
Report by Mandy Luesley