View Full Version : USHJA Trainers Symposium...what did you think?

May. 3, 2009, 07:30 PM
Overall it was grand. SCAD did a beautiful job and I thank them for hosting it.

May. 4, 2009, 12:35 AM
Oh you got to go. Can someone let us know what happened? Was the idea of putting it on the internet brought up and if so what was their thoughts on it?

May. 4, 2009, 10:14 AM
The USHJA Symposium was an incredible opportunity riders and trainers. I grew up riding hunters through the A circuit back in the ‘90s, switched to dressage and eventing for the past decade, and I am now leaning back towards jumpers for my young greenies. I attended the symposium with the intention of using it as a general learning experience, as well as to catch up on current standards and expectations, and I must say that I was thrilled with the entire weekend. After being infuriated and nearly homicidal from the USEA ICP (eventing) workshops, I was ecstatic to feel reinspired, refreshed, and invigorated from the USHJA TCP. Yes, invigorated. :D

First, to answer the other poster’s question, the test will be put on the internet later in the year. Individuals who have submitted the trainer application will receive a manual to study, and they will take the online test when ready. The test questions will consist of true/false, fill-in-the-blank, etc, and one must receive an 85% to pass. Each trainer must pass through the levels, and no one will be grandfathered in (so yes, even George Morris will begin at category 1).

SCAD did an incredible job hosting this symposium. The facilities, organization, catering (yum!), and overall atmosphere and friendliness created a wonderful weekend escape. It was a great networking opportunity, and I was quite pleased to meet some wonderful individuals. (And I may have found a buyer for my "Blue Rain" daughter, so I’m happy. :yes:)

For anyone not familiar with the format, three trainers taught over the weekend: Candice King for jumpers on Friday, Patricia Griffith for hunters on Saturday, and Val Renihan for equitation on Sunday. Each trainer was professional and articulate, covered level-appropriate material/topics, and did a very nice job improving their riders’ performance. The American forward style was properly integrated into the methods and focused on all weekend.

While riders warmed up, the trainers explained what they wanted to correct or improve with each rider. It was a very good way for each audience member to assess the riders, come up with one’s own improvements and ideas, and then compare/contrast them with the opinions of such renowned trainers. With a series of symposiums like this, one could very much sharpen his eye to a highly refined degree.

Each trainer brought something different to the table with exercises and explanations, but all kept a strong focus on rhythm, balance, and connection. Candice strongly emphasized the vital nature of the horse’s immediate response to the rider’s leg. She expressed that a majority of issues come from the horse falling behind the leg, rhythm breaking down, and the rider losing the overall connection. She repeatedly stressed that “There is no such thing as a distance, so don’t look for one.” In other words, keep rhythm, balance, and connection, and one will arrive at the fence at the right moment; don’t try to pick at the stride. It was wonderful to hear her principles of letting the horse think and learn for itself, and for the rider and horse to work together.

Patricia also did a lovely job, but I personally did not get as much out of her session. She didn’t teach as much to the audience as Candice and Val, and didn’t provide a clear explanation of some of the exercises to the riders or audience. Her exercise and explanation of “half pass” really bothered me; the riders were barely schooling sub-par leg-yields, and I believe that they did not understand the method, purpose, or principle of what they were trying to accomplish.

Val was my favorite of the weekend, and won major points with me when she emphasized the need for riders to safely adjust their stirrups, as well as letting horses work through scary situations and not making it worse. Her exercises were primarily jumping on circles and serpentines to enhance lead changes and proper balance adjustments, and she expected the riders and horses focused, connected, and effectively making it happen. The advanced group stands out in my mind because they did a very nice job with the haunches-out and counter-canter work, which Val explained the purpose and execution of very well.

In short, it was an amazing weekend, and I recommend that everyone participates in the symposiums, particularly with these specific trainers. The fact that the program has an underlying method of the American style (which, to me, equates forward, rhythmical, soft, and balanced) allows for great consistency while still providing the flexibility of individual methods and ideas. I believe other certification programs could learn quite a bit from following the hard work and guiding principles that have created the TCP. For a program that is just getting off the ground, I believe it is VERY much on the correct path, and it will present a wonderful service to the industry.

May. 4, 2009, 01:29 PM
wow...what glenbaer said...only I was too tired to write all that down. :winkgrin:
I had several kids riding in the clinics, and with the exception of saturday, they truly loved every minute of it.

Sing Mia Song
May. 4, 2009, 01:36 PM
Wow, this sounds really great. I'm not a trainer, nor do I want to be one, but I would love to attend just for the learning opportunity.

May. 4, 2009, 08:32 PM
interesting comment from my kids today...they said you couldnt see anything with the glare from the footing...I wondered about that.

Brydelle Farm
May. 4, 2009, 10:41 PM
BIG thanks to SCAD for hosting, they did a great job and of course, USHJA, very organized and everyone was kind and helpful! :)

It was a great weekend. I will get working on typing my notes soon, and will be happy to share. Candice and Val were stellar, I am already working on getting Candice up to VA for a 3day clinic with a fellow trainer, very impressed.

May. 6, 2009, 01:56 PM
I had the opportunity to ride in the Saturday session and was thrilled by the experience. The exercises she gave for the green horses had an immediate impact on my boy and helped me as well. They were simple enough that I should be able to easily repeat them at home. I would encourage anyone who was interested, to volunteer to be a demonstration rider at future symposiums. SCAD did a wonderful job with the facility, logistics and hospitality.

May. 6, 2009, 08:48 PM
First, let me say this was my third trainers symposium, I was at two in Wellington.One year Candice was there as well.She was awesome then and she is awesome now. When she returns to Wellington we hope to get a few lessons in. She interacted very well with the riders and the auditors. I hope she keeps coming to these events. I love this format.

Saturday was a bust for us. Sorry, I know. Patricia really sparkled at the end with the handy hunter work. They really made it hard for her because short stirrup, was not short stirrup.The riders were all older and could steer to the jumps, knew diagonals perfectly, etc. So it just went ok for me. I was sick of the same riders and nothing being said about all the upper body/hip tossing for changes!Otherwise she gave a great clinic to the riders but forgot the "trainers symposium part". A comment she made at the end, I'm not here to share my secrets really put that in perspective for me.

Sun was excellent.Got to see some new riders!Yeah! Val had some great exercises.I love the swinging arm, have done circles but never swinging arm, even while jumping I love it! I loved her getting after the riders about acually hand galloping.
I have to say, sometimes it was frustrating that riders wouldn't listen sometimes and at least take a chance at trying to.You are there to learn. We are there to learn.The ones that did listen really stuck out the best.

I really do love this clinic format.
SCAD was awesome. Hoping to see them at the College Bound invitational with a couple of our students! Can't wait.

Brydelle Farm
May. 6, 2009, 10:00 PM
I was sick of the same riders and nothing being said about all the upper body/hip tossing for changes!Otherwise she gave a great clinic to the riders but forgot the "trainers symposium part".

Amen sister or brother! ;) LOL

A comment she made at the end, I'm not here to share my secrets really put that in perspective for me.

Very interesting, didn't hear her say that, but clears alot up for me. :)

May. 7, 2009, 01:44 PM
I thought SCAD did a great job & the facility is truly gorgeous. The Derby Reception was sooooo nice & thoughtful of them, too!

I liked the excersises [I **always** spell that word wrong...] on Friday with Candice, but I was put off that it was mostly trainers riding and that we saw many of them more than once. And when she commented that she didn't want to change much on Daniel, my frustrations were confirmed. WHY have someone ride that we won't be able to learn from in the Symposium format? Also, the question was asked about helmet fit -- and it annoyed me that more wasn't done about grossly loose helmets. I thought safety should be a key concern. And if the rider isn't happy with it, tough cookies. You're riding as an example and if you walk in with a poorly adjusted helmet, be prepared to used as an example of proper helmet fit & safety. Josh Dolan, I must say, is a beautiful rider.

Personally, I *LOVED* Saturday with Pat. I liked the progression of excersises for different levels of riders. Clearly, what's good for a beginner is good for an advanced rider, and honestly gets boring to watch 5 riders x 5 session x however many attempts to watch. So, I liked that each group had a different excersise suitable for their level. Once again, I had a beef with riders. Short Stirrup was def. not short stirrup riders. No adults in the Ch/Adult section... and a trainer in the Jr/Amateur section. I want to see the STUDENTS ride the section, and see how a top trainer would work with them. It was nice to see the jumps go up to their fence height, and see how what they had learned could be brought into effect.

Sunday was a bit of a bore for me. I didn't need to see the circle jump 5 kajillion times. I get that it works for every group. I would have liked to have seen more discussion of the Equitation tests -- I found Sunday got a bit "huntery"... most of those courses were inside/outside/inside/outside... with just a modified "inside" throught that S-line. Refreshing to have new riders!

Overall, the facility was great, the clinicians were great, and I would like to see the format adjusted slightly.

Also, out of curiosity, how does one get invited/asked/involved as a rider at these things?

May. 7, 2009, 01:45 PM
Ohh -- also -- found Danny Robertshaw's "Judge's Perspective" and Hunter Breeding session quite informative and entertaining!

And I also appreciated Pat taking the time to explain the differences in movement on the flat in the 3'6" division

May. 7, 2009, 02:29 PM
TDR if Daniel hadnt come down, it would have only been Josh and Jen....Its tough to find ANY jumpers down here. As far as adults, it was on a friday.

And those were my kids with the "sail" helmets....I was grateful for that critique, I guess when you see them all the time, some details get missed. They told me afterwards that it hurts their heads to lower the helmets....they have both already purchased new hats.

Again overall great, I would do it again.

TDR, We were asked by one of the trainers at SCAD to be demo riders, I would think as soon as you have a date and a location, you could contact someone about riding asap.

May. 7, 2009, 02:38 PM
MRhodes -- I wasn't actually thinking of your kids! I hadn't noticed the "sail" helmets until something was said about pulling the visor down to look like a serious competitor. And only then did I think, gee that's a sign that those don't fit right! I was more concerned with the obviously loose harnesses, where the harness was close to touching the polo shirt collar!

It is good then, that Daniel was able to come -- but surely he has students that ride the jumpers? Also, I noticed some riders were from o/o state.. It was only a 4 hour drive from Atlanta. As for adults -- I was thinking more of the Hunters on Sat for the 3' section -- with 4 riders it would be nice to see 2 adults & 2 juniors, rather than 4 juniors, or 3 juniors and a trainer. Jumpers was just all trainers or young pros in my eyes, save for your rider and maybe one other. Perhaps in the future, they could send announcements to surrounding HJ associations asking for applications? It might help get a more diverse sampling of riders than just going off of the contact list of the host facility?

May. 7, 2009, 11:06 PM
Yes, one of the things I am working on as a liason from the grass roots to the USHJA is how to better inform and include the membership.
Hope next time they have one a more diverse group of folks will get to participate.

I didnt think you were picking on me with the helmet thing :D
It is just funny how once someone calls attention to something...wow, I noticed it then!