“Bend. Don’t over-bend. Now straight.”
“Drop your stirrups.”
“Down the centerline.”
Improving the horse and rider through clinics with masters of their sport never fails to offer valuable lessons that lead to growth. Yesterday, Sweet Briar riders took advantage of the opportunity to learn from two-time Olympian and Sweet Briar ’71 graduate Lendon Gray. She spent the day at the Rogers Riding Center for an in-house clinic with riders of various levels and with the NCEA team. A renowned dressage rider, trainer and instructor, Lendon shared her extensive knowledge of the art and execution of working on the flat. No matter the equestrian discipline, correct and quality flat work is a vital part of foundational training.
Lendon’s experience at Sweet Briar with the forward riding system is evident in her training, schooling and teaching. As she works with horse and rider, you see how she emphasizes self-carriage, connection and being one with the horse. You often hear her say how the most important thing you can do is nothing (along with many other catch phrases and unique teaching techniques that make clinicians both fun and challenging).
The morning began with several group sessions of recreational and competitive riders of various levels. In the afternoon, the NCEA team worked with Lendon in two groups. Practicing with an Olympian right before NCEA Nationals next week is certainly not something most teams can say they did!