Betsy Steiner Clinic a Huge Success!
Betsy Steiner Clinic: Moving Up the Levels
If you ask the average American what they did on the 4th of July, they will answer, “went to a BBQ and watched some fireworks.” Not 12 lucky riders and 25 auditors from Southern California!
On this gorgeous holiday weekend, we attended a dressage clinic with World Cup rider and member of the US Olympic Committee, Betsy Steiner. The Clinic was hosted by the Pomona Chapter of California Dressage Society and my own Azure Farms in Norco, California. Yes, believe it or not – Norco. Better known for rodeos and cowboys riding to the Saddle Sore Saloon, Norco has a thriving, if private, dressage community. And, why not? Norco is, after all, Horsetown USA and will soon be the host of the long awaited Silverlakes Equestrian Park. Who knows . . . maybe Norco will one day host a CDI.
Betsy is well known for her well balanced, effortless Grand Prix rides. The harmony she displays comes largely from the work she has done developing core muscle groups to assist the rider in subtle and effective communication with the horse. Rider Stephanie Field commented, “Betsy's background in Pilates helped me find a more secure position on my horse when he wasn't keen on keeping all four feet on the ground.”
Betsy helped each rider obtain better responsiveness from her horse through more effective use of her seat and leg while at the same time, rewarding the horse with the use of less hand. “In our lessons, Betsy gave us helpful exercises to work on straightening, strengthening and suppleness which will improve our scores as we move up the levels. Over the course of the weekend my horse became straighter and more balanced due to Betsy's constant reminder about using the outside rein effectively.” said Field. Rider Sonia Regenfuss, who is bringing her Holstein mare back from an injury, said, “Betsy reconfirmed [for me] that solid basics are the foundation for all of dressage. During the clinic, Betsy focused on quieting my hands, reestablishing my contact and enlightening me to how my upper knee to hip can be used effectively. In turn, Fabiola showed us just what she could still do!”
Proving that dressage riders do their homework, Elizabeth Giles relayed that she was happy that she had read Betsy’s book in advance of the clinic and that Betsy was then able to help her apply the principles she had read. Betsy graciously shared her time and knowledge with riders and auditors alike. She was careful to point out the correct aid or movement when demonstrated properly so that the auditors could really learn what we strive to achieve. Mid Hoppenrath, who audited the clinic and purchased Betsy’s book wrote, “I started reading her book last night, and this morning, I tried the first exercises (counting the footfalls in each gait). I had a lot of work to do to keep my horse in an even rhythm at the walk. He had suffered an injury to his sacroiliac joint years ago, and other trainers had told me he would likely never be consistent. To my delight, when I asked for the trot, he started in an even rhythm! First time ever! I had just never realized that I could set the rhythm!”
“Both my lessons with Betsy were just fabulous. Not only did I enjoy riding in my own lesson but I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the other lessons during the clinic,” said Field. At the end of the three day clinic, it seemed as if even the horses wanted to give Betsy a grateful nuzzle for improving the communication between the rider and the horse, making each ride a more harmonious and pleasant ride. For me, there were two highlights of the clinic. The first was the enormous smile on Suzette Kallen’s face when she finally got clean changes on her horse – she nearly lit up the sky with pure happiness. The second was watching my mare, Phoebe, passage with lightness and effortless grace. This was especially rewarding as she had been resistant and quite heavy before. But, I could tell that she was enjoying the work and she was relaxed and supple. That is, after all, what we strive for – a harmonious relationship for horse and rider.
Betsy’s positive attitude was infectious. Riders and auditors commented that this was one of the most upbeat, positive and productive clinics they’d seen and they couldn’t wait for Betsy to come back. Well, the good news is . . . she’ll be back on October 10 – 12, 2009. For more info on participating in the next clinic, please see www.azurefarms.net or e-mail email@example.com.