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  1. #1
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    Default Peter Atkins clinic in EN

    How many people caught Amy Lopez' write up on her Peter Atkins clinic experience? It's currently in the November archives in EN. I found it very interesting in it's unorthodoxy. Specifically,lengthening stirrups for XC and not folding over the jumps XC. Seems to go against a lot of conventional wisdom.



  2. #2
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    I caught it and thought it was interesting. I also liked Amy's attitude to give the clinician's ideas a try.



  3. #3
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    I did. It was interesting. I thought it may seem "unconventional" because riders that come from the American hunter/jumper style of riding probably have more fold than necessary, especially for x-c. It's sometimes a bit stylized and for the size of jumps, it really isn't necessary. I know I am regularly guilty of jumping up my horses neck (let's see, I'll jump first and then my horse can catch up with me on the other side.) So if I am told to stay upright, I am not so ridiculous about my motion over the jump.

    I would want to audit a clinic to see if he is advocating "no fold" or just "let the horses motion move up towards your upper body" and allow it.

    I take lessons from someone who is British and she definitely wants my shoulders back and in a more defensive position for x-c. However, I have never been told to lower my stirrups, she has always asked me to make mine (what feels like) crazy short!



  4. #4
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    I agree about the "no fold" interpretation -- I've been following a couple different blogs raving about Peter's clinics and watching with much interest. I'm not going to be lengthening my stirrups by any means, but I agree with slp that he may just be trying to get people not to lay on their horse's necks. When I cliniced with Ian Stark a few years ago, he did the same thing, getting me to sit up far more than I was to stay more defensive in the back seat instead of jumping ahead.



  5. #5
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    And Jimmy would tell you that (i.e. not to fold so much)...

    Most riders do not need to "fold" much at all over a 3' fence. Your hips should close only as much as needed...and over 3'...it is usually not much at all. So that is really nothing new. As to stirrups...well if you are riding too short I could see lengthening...but if you ride too long, that can cause issues too. I'd rather just ride at the correct length for me

    I rode with Peter a couple of times many years ago...he was ok. He is a very up beat charmer sort and that appeals to some. I wouldn't put him at the top of my list for people to ride with but he isn't bad either.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  6. #6
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    I think he may be using this is fix some rider/position errors. If you shorten your stirrups but haven't been taught how to jumper properly if can be super easy to jump ahead & creep too far over the horses neck - lengthening the stirrup, and 'standing up' will get the weight in your heels and maybe quit the jumping ahead.

    But surely he can't mean doing this over bigger jumps. And a big 'no' to galloping xc with longer stirrups. If so, I'm all set. Having heard positive reviews from h/j friends who have seen him compete in the jumper ring, he can't be doing anything that unorthodox.



  7. #7
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    Not to hijack, but does anyone have some video of a PA clinic that they would like to share? I read the write-up too but I would really be interested in seeing him teach this concept.
    "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."

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  8. #8
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    I rode in the clinic with Amy and thought her blog was fabulous. “Unconventional” was the word I used most to describe the clinic to anyone who asked. Peter is not a fan of the American hunter/jumper style of riding & that, of course is what I’ve done most of my life. At one point he asked me why I keep my stirrup angled across the ball of my foot, perpendicular to the horse with my heel down & my response was because George Morris says to! Peter wants you on that longer stirrup, with your foot almost home in the stirrup, a flat foot and knee turned out (so you are using the back of your leg more) & wanted me to use my leg more forward – actually in front of the girth. I heard things from him that go against everything I have grown up with but he had good reasoning and proof behind it so I was willing to try it & I’m glad I did, I would definitely go back. I’m not going to do these things all the time but I have all these new tools to use & that’s what clinics are about – the value is to get a few new things to take home to play with.
    The shoulder back lesson really made the entire trip worth it for me – he took it to an extreme where he had me leaning back on the approach but I needed to take it to that extreme to get the feel and start changing my position – I need to learn to keep my shoulder back (all the time but especially on xc) if I want to move up, it is a much more effective & safe position & makes my horse so much more confident when I am there to support him all the time.

    So we’ve got the before: http://s1129.photobucket.com/albums/...11NcabinKO.jpg

    & the after: http://s1129.photobucket.com/albums/...nt=barrels.jpg



  9. #9
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    Hi everyone (Amy Lopez here). I was excited and honored to have my clinic report published on EN.

    As a student of riding theory (I read everything I can get my hands on be it French, German, American equitation,etc) I wanted to share with others theories I had not yet experienced. I found Peter Atkin's style of riding new and unique (at least to me). And despite my initial skepticism it really did improve my riding and even more so my horse.

    I hope you enjoyed the report and hope that at the very least it got you thinking



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mustangsal85 View Post
    Not to hijack, but does anyone have some video of a PA clinic that they would like to share? I read the write-up too but I would really be interested in seeing him teach this concept.
    Mustangsal -check out http://slowandsteadysmilerwinstherace.blogspot.com/
    The author was at this clinic and did a fantastic job doing video. She is also super nice so if you comment or message her I am sure she could link you to more of her videos.



  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=slp2;5936606] I would want to audit a clinic to see if he is advocating "no fold" or just "let the horses motion move up towards your upper body" and allow it.QUOTE]

    Correct! I rode in the clinic @ The Beahive that Amy's write-up is about and also rode with Peter over the summer at LAZ's event camp. Peter wants the horse to come to you - not for you to lay your body over the front end, therefore making the horse's job harder. He says that the American style of folding is what causes a lot of front-end lameness. And if you are going to have a fault, Peter would rather that you be behind the motion than too far forward - he uses the example of rotational falls to explain why this is better and why the leg should be more forward. And this isn't to say that Peter wants you yanking your horse in the mouth either - he also advocates longer reins with your elbows back so that you can give with your arms/elbows over a fence instead of tipping your body forward to give a release.

    As to the idea of lengthening your stirrups - it does seem counter intuitive at first. I thought I was going to have a lot of issues with it XC because I ride with pretty short stirrups. However, what I took from it is that when your stirrups are too short, you are sort of "teetering" on top of the horse's back. By lengthening the stirrups and "standing up" over your fences, you're more able to stay in the center of balance. And, when you lengthen your stirrups, you put your foot all the way "home" in the stirrup and ride with your leg forward. Unconventional, yes.. but it sure seems to work! I actually feel like I have a base to ride from when I do this.

    Riding with Peter has made a huge difference in both my jumping AND flat work. Plus, he makes things very easy to remember - everything always comes in 3s - "slower, deeper, rounder" & "look up, stand up, kick up" are the two I am always thinking.
    I have Higher Standards... do you?

    "For the love of my horse, I know who I am."



  12. #12
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    I think the problem with the stirrup lengthening is that I already see WAY too much banging around on the horses backs out there. This ideology of longer stirrups will work for people with strong cores and sense of independant balance, but realistically there are a lot of riders out there without this. I picture long stirrups and people just "sitting" the canter around the courses. This is not good.

    Sinead taught a corss country position that got you out of tack AND off the neck., not interferring. Have you ever seen Andrew Hoy ride around Badminton or the Olympics? He is the master of allowing the horse to jump under him.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jealoushe View Post
    I think the problem with the stirrup lengthening is that I already see WAY too much banging around on the horses backs out there. This ideology of longer stirrups will work for people with strong cores and sense of independant balance, but realistically there are a lot of riders out there without this. I picture long stirrups and people just "sitting" the canter around the courses. This is not good.

    Sinead taught a corss country position that got you out of tack AND off the neck., not interferring. Have you ever seen Andrew Hoy ride around Badminton or the Olympics? He is the master of allowing the horse to jump under him.
    Exactly...and it is NOT unorthodox. I've watch Jimmy correct riders over and over and OVER again about over folding and doing too much. Jumping a 2'9" fence like it is 4'! Being quiet in your position, chest up and shoulders open...letting the horse jump up under you...is classic teaching. Not cranking your heels down...having the stirrup slighty more home for xc...is also normal.

    As I said...I've ridden with Peter and seen him ride a bunch. Not a bad teacher...he brings a lot of energy and is entertaining. But as a rider....I got a lot more out of riding with Jimmy and L. Law. Also had a good clinic with Kim Severson. I'd like to ride with Sinead. But basically they don't get much smarter and more well read than Jimmy and L. Law. I prefer people who have studied the theory...as well as ridden it. And can really explain the theory...one that is adaptive to each horse and rider (not trying to make us all go in the same cookie cutter).
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Nov. 4, 2011 at 11:56 AM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive
    But as a rider....I got a lot more out of riding with
    And there you go! I think it is important as riders that we find instructors that work well with our individual learning styles, goals and horses.

    It just so happens that Peter's teaching style is easier for me to process and the methods work well for my horse.

    I have also ridden with several of the coaches mentioned in this thread and I learned something from each of them as well but seem to get more from my lessons with Peter.

    What's that quote "The horse world. Two people. Three opinions" or something to that effect...but it is also what keeps us all learning-something I love about riding!



  15. #15
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    I found the article very useful. I might hear the same thing taught in lessons or clinics over and over again. My problem is that I don't LISTEN! I really liked the excercise with the rider jumping without a horse, folded and unfolded and comparing the two. A good teacher will make you learn. I typically require a near disaster before I get the "aHa!" moment.



  16. #16
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    All clinicians that travel and are faced with teaching a number of unknown riders/horses have a program that they present (and keep repeating). The good ones that teach numerous clinics, I have to say, they have seen everything, every style and type of riding, so they have to develop something that will reach everyone so folks can take new ideas and exercises as homework, and hopefully learn a new feel that they had not experienced before.

    Peter's ideas may seem extreme but sometimes exaggeration can create a feel and a memory. Once you practice his exercises enough you will create those new tools that Chouteau mentioned. And believe me, you could SEE her position change happen that weekend and see her become a far more effective rider, in a better balance with her horse that allowed the horse the freedom to tackle the terrain changes and speeds involved with xc riding. Edited to add: she already is a excellent kind caring very balanced rider, but it helped to change the style from hunter to xc.

    There is a sequence photography by one of the bystanders that shows the before and after control that she had dropping down the banks complex - which is set on a hillside - then as she progressed down the hill with her 'back in the saddle' balance she could slow and control her horse's speed and balance down the hill without tipping forward or using her hands in his face. Her shoulders stayed back and she looked relaxed and calm, her horse was safe from slipping or falling, and it had been raining that day. Bingo.

    Peter's grid exercises are preparation for his xc lesson. You may have different position needs in sj so as not to pull rails behind esp at the higher levels of competition, it truly is 3 phases, 3 seats. I do agree that the horses need to be allowed to land lighter and rebalance themselves with the rider needing to stay off their front ends.

    And Peter certainly gives 200% of his attention to the riders during their time. He takes great care to be sure to turn to see each ride, even if he's still talking to another rider. And he coaches while you're riding to a fence. He NEVER just points and says 'go jump that' and does not teach. I have to give him cudos for his energy and enthusiasm for teaching.

    Next time Riderboy!
    Last edited by pony grandma; Nov. 7, 2011 at 10:05 AM. Reason: clarifiation about chouteau
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  17. #17
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    I wonder how much of Peter's position and technique is due to him being a very tall lanky man. He has a lot of body to get out of the way of a horse or to use to his advantage.
    Last edited by enjoytheride; Nov. 4, 2011 at 11:16 PM.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjoytheride View Post
    I wonder how much of Peter's position and technique is due to him being a very tall lanky man.
    This is exactly why I would like to clinic with him! I love riding with Denny for the same reason.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pony grandma View Post

    Next time Riderboy!
    That's what all the pretty ladies used to tell me! Until I met Gryhrs!



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjoytheride View Post
    I wonder how much of Peter's position and technique is due to him being a very tall lanky man. He has a lot of body to get out of the way of a horse or to use to his advantage.
    Peter is thin but he certainly isn't tall. I'm 5'10" and am taller than he is (I've ridden with him a few times so I've been up close and personal). Perhaps his thin legs present the illusion that he's taller than he is, but he's actually a pretty small dude.

    Different strokes for different folks, but his technique works amazingly well for me, while others struggle with it for various reasons; i.e. physical back or hip issues. The idea of "look up, kick up, stand up" allows me to stay with the motion and travel in balance with my horse over the fence, while not literally standing straight up. You're thinking "stand up" but really, it just reminds you not to jump ahead of your horse or lie on their neck.
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham



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