This article was published in the December 25th, 2017 edition of the Chronicle of the Horse. We have posted it in its entirety below. Due to the space constraints of the magazine, the Chronicle editors were unable to use many of the photos that support the points made in the article. The photos that made it into the original article do indeed bolster my feeling about the equitation division, but after the article you will find additional pictures that offer more visual illustrations to back up the text.
Click on the image for a full resolution article.
Jump #6 – Round One
Many horses stopped or spooked at the ASPCA skinny hurdle, jump No. 6 in the first round, which was puzzling, as competitors had the opportunity to school it beforehand.
So many of our past Equitation winners have graduated to the Grand Prix division, some going on to represent our USET with the same classic, signature American style. With today’s live streaming of major international events, one only has to tune in to watch superstars like Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Peter Wylde and many more, all maintaining the beautiful and effective riding that was fostered in them in the equitation division.
The last century produced a myriad of greats who excelled in the Equitation division, not only with their style but with their effectiveness as well. Examples such as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, George Morris, Mary Mairs Chapot, Chrystine Jones Tauber, Carol Hofmann Thompson & Conrad Homfeld, all won equitation finals and went on to be Show Jumping artists.
I personally am more interested in a supple connection and independence from the neck for balance, rather than focusing on the straightness of the line.
Gordon Wright, one of George Morris’ most influential teachers, has a diagram in his book depicting a broken line as acceptable, but a release below the straight line as unacceptable.
Illustration from Gordon Wright’s book, Horsemanship
The students are, by and large, all talented and able, some at incredibly young ages! It is up to us as trainers to bring out the best in them and never lower our standards.
Tom Boyle, age 10
Bailey Fraser, age 8
Lucas Traurig, age 11
The Dublin Horse Show
Vintage video coverage of our USET competing in Europe with Bertalan de Nemethy, coach of our USET for 25 years, that exemplifies a beautiful, quiet forward seat as well as elastic, following arms. Bert’s passion for correct riding basics was unparalleled.