Sport Horse Versatility Clinic/Competition at Loch Hurst
Paula Johnson's scenic Loch Hurst Farm on Lakebay Road was the setting for a Sport Horse Versatility Clinic and Competition on March 21-22.
The clinic, which included an introductory session and one for more advanced riders, focused on the obstacle phase of Sport Horse Versatility. It was conducted by SHV founder Linda Hoover.
Horses and riders worked together over a course of obstacles designed to develop a thinking, sensitive rider and a confident horse. Riders found that good horsemanship was required with their horses to work even relatively simple-looking obstacles with accuracy. Hoover also wanted riders to understand how to assist their horses in exercises that were emotionally challenging. She explained that these challenges give riders an opportunity to build partnership or destroy it.
"The process of making a refined riding horse starts with helping the horse become well adjusted to life," Hoover said. "Working obstacles give riders a path to this end while refining their own responses. Done correctly, riders must develop the same skills needed in the upper levels of any discipline."
Hoover raised the bar for advanced participants by encouraging them to work the obstacles with the reins in one hand. This approach showed a rider how responsive the horse needs to be to the seat and leg.
"My horse arrived a little distracted but ended up being very sensible and willing to try, which is a major milestone for him," said clinic participant Diana Hoberecht. "I think every horse in any discipline can benefit from this work. I plan to continue working with Linda to bring this horse along."
The competition on Sunday offered an In-Hand Obstacle Class, SHV Two-Phase, which includes a dressage test and an obstacle course and SHV Suitability Class.
Local riders made their presence known with Kriestin Kleinschmidt placing second in the In-Hand class with her young warmblood Hy Court Due Process followed by Danielle Veasy in third with Noble Reign and Taryn Garrett in fifth with Diva. Paula Johnson won the Suitability Class with Osado and Kathryn Saunders was fourth with Ellie in the Two-Phase.
Sport Horse Versatility is the competitive path of the newly formed United States Refined Horsemanship Association, Inc. The US-RHA promotes stewardship, horsemanship and versatility. For future dates locally and more information go to www. SportHorseVersatility.com.
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