Riding for Christian Kennedy, Part 2

Emily Gill and dressage student

Another couple of days in the sun for the books and I am working hard on my farmers tan (sorry northern friends). I have been able to keep teaching the WIT girls and they are working hard on improving their seats. I am really impressed with this group and I have enjoyed helping them study for their quizzes that they take every Friday. It’s fun for me to teach anatomy, or talk about the skeleton of the horse and things of that matter. I have been making them Quizlets to help them study more and use that as a tool to help them. I have really enjoyed that, and my position in the WIT program.

Another activity I enjoy is watching my horse improve and get stronger! He has been doing amazing under the wings of Lendon and Oded. Sometimes I have to look down and wonder if I am riding Totilas or Kahlua ;). The piaffe is underway and he is actually taking steps that are not stepping on himself! I am so excited about all this, and I have been perfecting my way of riding along the way. The other day we were working on the half pass zig zag (for the grand prix) and for some reason, the timing of counting the strides and straightening then sideways was not clicking in my head until the end. Thank goodness Kahlua is a good sport and stuck with me along the way.

I also had a very special moment when I got to meet Christian’s mom Anne Barber Wallis and what a special lady she is. She was so kind and came to watch Kahlua and me at our lesson with Oded. I am looking forward to seeing her again this month when she returns for some sunshine.
Since I am involved with the WIT program, I had the opportunity to attend the USDF Trainers Conference! The girls and I were able to watch the whole thing, as well as do some volunteer work before and during the event to help out. So we also got to be a little behind the scenes! We got to watch George Williams, Charlotte Bredahl, Christine Traurig and Debbie McDonald work with two riders each day and watch them work through and progress in those two days. There were some amazing horse and rider pairs who rode with these experts. It was great to see them first hand work the horses and riders of all levels and ages. I personally was attracted to the young horse section with Christine, just because I have a soft spot for young ones. They are different every day, and there is nothing more rewarding than watching a young horse become the best they can be, or cherry on top they make it to Grand Prix!

Most recently I attended the first workshop in the process of competing the USDF Instructors Certification. The first workshop was the riding workshop, and thanks to Laura Ashley Killian who provided all the horses for us to ride. We rode two unfamiliar horses, my first horse; Shana a black Arabian/Oldenburg mare schooling third level who was quite the dream! Our task was to ride the horse and asses their strengths and weaknesses and how we will progress the rest of the workout. The first day I went through the motions and found out I needed to focus on using the correct terms. Such as impulsion and not “I squeezed her like a tube of toothpaste”. By the second day of the workshop, I felt I was more confident in my examination of the horse and proceeded with an adorable Arabian/Lusitano palomino mare that was going Grand Prix. She was such a great ride and we had a nice ride and I had a better idea of how to prepare my thoughts. It’s one thing to ride the horse and make it successful but it puts a good challenging twist on it. When you have to stop and explain. I am looking forward to the teaching and lounging workshops to come. Then the exam at the end of March, I have a goal to pass that so I can advance to the higher levels to get certified. I also found out there is going to be the first section of the L program in my area of Ohio! So I am also looking forward to that in the summertime!

That’s all for now, I will keep everyone updated and cannot wait to see what else is in store!