Clinic with William Fox-Pitt
The day after William Fox-Pitt competed at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, he was teaching a 1 day clinic held in King, Ontario presented by Stringer Equestrian and Albion Saddle makers. The second I heard about this clinic, I signed up to audit. As expected, William did not disappoint.
I’m hoping to write a 2nd (more comprehensive) article in the near future, but here are some of my key takeaways:
Riders have 2 hands and you should have equal pressure in both. Same with your legs.
William also had several exercises for riders that tended to be busy with their hands. These included holding the reins “backwards” (demonstrated below) and holding both reins in your outside hand and letting your inside rein just hang.
Riding with one hand was also used by a couple riders in the 3rd group to slow down their upper body on take-off. I was most impressed with Selena O’Hanlon’s young horse who jumped a course while Selena rode with one hand. What a neat green horse that was!
William also focused on the importance of being relaxed in the saddle. Here he was working with Selena O’Hanlon on relaxing her core. Over fences, he reminded several riders to breathe out on takeoff to help relax the upper body and release tension.
The riders also worked on several narrow fences, being reminded the narrower the fence, the wider your hands to be to help channel the horse.
One exercise all 3 groups did in the afternoon was jump from a walk. They started with a cross rail and also did 3 narrower fences from walk. William feels this teaches horses to engage their brain, but the fences are small and it puts minimal wear and tear on the horse. I think everyone felt this was a beneficial exercise.
A follow-up (hopefully with video!) and far more tidbits from one of the world’s best event riders will be coming up in the next couple of days after I recover from a weekend of the Royal Winter Fair, meetings and one of the best clinics I have attended in a long time.
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