|Koa enjoying some well deserved turnout|
The last week of the 2016 Winter Intensive Training Program was filled with wonderful lectures, insightful lessons from Lendon, and an exciting field trip. We traveled to watch Mikala Gundersen school two young horses. She and Janne Rumbough had wonderful commentary that made it a great learning experience. They both emphasized not going too fast with a young horses training. Mikala worked very well with both horses playing to their individual needs. The First horse had a naturally expressive trot. Instead of pushing the horse more forward focusing more on the expression of the front, she focused more on engaging the hind legs creating better balanced gaits. The second horse was owned by Janne, he was older and had a better balance over his hind legs. Mikala was working on starting to tap into more expression without compromising the engagement. Janne also explained what she did in earlier stages of training to help prepare the flying change. Janne worked on lots of quick transitions, specifically the canter-walk and walk-canter transitions. She eventually reached the point where she could get prompt, supple, transitions between all gaits. Once they introduced the flying change he understood it immediately. Mikala really focused on developing the gaits gradually so the horses can peak in their Grand Prix career, and not get burnt out or injured in their younger years. She saw good future for both horses. It will be interesting to see what they are doing in a few years.
The Winter Intensive Training Program is a great learning experience. If you plan on traveling to Florida during the winters I suggest participating in this program your first year. It gives you good exposure to the area and some of the top trainers in the world. The program is Located at Hampton Green Farm, conveniently located near to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. You can easily walk or bike to the show grounds and watch some of the top in the world compete. By being responsible for your horse, and keeping the barn clean you learn a lot about horse care and barn management. I was fortunately able to work with my trainer on our “day off” as well. It takes a lot of hard work, time management, and dedication to get the most out of this program. Here are some helpful tips for future participants:
- Pack like you are going to a horse show; buckets, broom, pitchfork, etc.· Make sure to plan with your school well ahead of time. I suggest taking summer classes, geting a reduced scheduled or semester off if possible, and seeing if you can get PE credit. The program schedule can be busy at times, with a lighter school work load it takes off a lot of stress.· If your horse is very messy in his stall and goes through a large amount of shavings, I suggest setting money aside to supplement what is provided by the program.· Beware of the skin issues. Many people had trouble with scratches and hives during the program. I would get an antifungal shampoo and scratches cream from your veterinarian before you come down so you are prepared.· I strongly suggest arriving at HGF a week or few days before the program starts. The day before the program can be very hectic because a majority of the participants come in that day. It is nice to have your horse settle in a quiet environment.· Bring clothes and blankest for all types of weather, it can get cold!· Also when packing plan to come home with more than you came with.· Try and make it so everything minus tack can fit in a trunk/drawers. If loose items are out of place and left out they are subject to be stolen by Lendon. :)· Always get on fifteen minutes before your lesson and be five minutes early for all lectures and field trips.· Bring extra money for going out to dinner. We made many group trips out to eat. I also suggest making at least one visit to the Thursday Food Truck Invasion, City place, American Equestrians Got Talent, Saturday night Grand Prix jumping, and of course the Friday night Grand Prix Freestyles.· Have your vet do a thorough examination of your horse before you head down to Florida, and start a maintenance plan if needed.· Get in contact with past participants that you know for more advice.
I would like to thank Lendon Gray, Dressage4kids, Karen Clark, Alexa Perkins, and Kim Boyer. Lendon Gray gave us lessons almost every day, including multiple lectures. Dressage4Kids gave many of the participants, including me, scholarships to help pay for the WIT Program. Karen Clark was our wonderful barn manager that helped keep the barn and our horses in tip top shape. Alexa Perkins was Lendon assistant and helped plan many of the lectures and field trips, she also leads fitness every morning. Kim Boyer Owns the beautiful Hampton Green Farm where the program was located. Thank you Hampton Green staff for doing all the maintenance at the facility. Also, a huge thank you to Koa's owner for allowing me to ride him during program. It was a truly amazing learning experience, and I am so grateful for the opportunity! Thank you to all the lecturers, guest instructors, and everyone who helped make this amazing program possible.
|Picture by Allyssia Bryant|