Safety, Confidence, and Control


Riding Level 3:  Safety, Confidence, and Control of Pace

This is the final checklist item on your Riding Level 3 test.  In some ways ‘safety, confidence and control’ seem like nebulous criteria, and it is true that the final mark in the this category is based on an overall impression generated from your whole ride.  However, there are specific things which can improve or detract from your mark here.

Safety

We are keeping an eye out for safety during your whole ride, from the time you step into the arena till the end of the test.  If we notice something that is unsafe, we take a mark or half mark off in that item #15 box.  Here are a few tips to keep the toll to a minimum:

  • Check your tack, particularly your girth, before you mount.  A loose girth is an automatic 1 point deduction.
  • Make sure the horse is never out of your control on the ground.  This means you must have one hand on the reins at all times as you run up stirrups, check girth, mount and dismount.
  • Mind your ring etiquette. Allowing your horse to run up behind or cut off another horse is not just rude — it’s a safety hazard.  Always leave at least a horse length between you and other riders.
  • Plan your track effectively. Hairpin turns, crooked approaches to jumps, and running into ring furniture demonstrate a lack of planning and care in your riding.  Instead show us how round and deep you can make your turns, how you maximize your straight approaches, and how you plan your figures to avoid obstacles.

Confidence

For some, it’s tricky to appear confident when you are in a testing situation.  Nerves tend to make you tense, forgetful, and liable to do things you would never normally do.  Worse still, your horse can detect your tension and is likely to become more anxious and less responsive in turn.  The key to overcoming performance anxiety is relaxation.  There are many ways to combat nerves, including the following:

  • Breathe. Yes, people do forget to breathe!  Slow, deep breathing is one of the most effective ways of short-circuiting anxiety.  It brings more oxygen to your brain and organs to improve performance, and it relaxes you.  You will find that breathing slowly down into your belly also relaxes your horse.skyler 2
  • Practice perfection.  We don’t except perfect precision in your riding, and neither should you.  However, when you practice aim to be as precise and correct as possible in everything from tacking up to cantering a line of jumps.  By training your body to do things as well as possible, you alleviate your mind from having to think about it.  The more you can do automatically, and well, the less cause there is for anxiety.
  • Allow imperfection. Acknowledge that you are not a perfect rider (none of us are), and that you will make errors.  We expect you to.  However, if making a mistake causes you to tense up, lose focus, and make more mistakes, that will be seen as a lack of confidence.  When you make an error smile, breathe and let it go.  That is true confidence.

Control of Pace

The fields are drying nicely -- time for cross country!

This element is the easiest to pin down, both for you as a rider and for us as examiners.  As mentioned above under safety, we want you to avoid dangerous intersections with other horses and with obstacles in the ring.  This is most easily achieved by planning your path and controlling your pace.  If you are catching up to the horse in front of you, you should be able to slow down without breaking to a lower gait.  You should also be able to move your horse promptly off your leg and regulate your speed as you approach a line of jumps or begin a canter circle. We don’t expect extended or collected paces at this level, and the test doesn’t even ask you to lengthen or shorten your horse’s stride.  We just want you to be able to maintain a steady walk, trot, and canter with rhythm, control, and a modicum of adjustability.

This concludes our walk, trot, and canter through the Level 3 Riding curriculum.  Next up, Spear fundamentals for Blue Spur!

Coming up at Red Colt

Prix Fiore ClinicPrix Fiore 1

Prix Fiore is a riding test that includes jumps and sword work. In this one and a half hour clinic riders will practise pas-de-deux and quadrille dressage movements along with tandem jumps and choreographed sword work.  For more info on Prix Fiore, see this blog post from last year.

Friday 3 July, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Instructor: Jennifer Landels
Prerequisite: Riding Level 1 or equivalent
cost: $45 (own horse); $60 (school horse)
Sign up for any four Friday Clinics for only $180 (4 for the price of 3)!

Cross Country Clinicnew jump

Take your riding from the confines of the arena to the exhilaration of the open field. Work on your pace and galloping position to a variety of cross country jumps.  Riders will be required to wear cross country vests. There are some loaners available, but not in all sizes. Please enquire if you require a loaner vest.

Friday 10 July, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Instructor: Jennifer Landels
Prerequisite: Riding Level 2 or equivalent
cost: $45 (own horse); $60 (school horse)
Sign up for any four Friday Clinics for only $180 (4 for the price of 3)!

Dressage Clinic

Make your half halt well in advance of your transitionDressage is the basis of all riding, and Mounted Combat is no exception. In this one and a half hour session coach Stephanie Laversin will help you hone your half-halts, achieve better bend, and sharpen your lateral work with an eye to the movements most useful for combat.

Friday 17 July, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Instructor: Stephanie Laversin
Prerequisite: Riding Level 1 or equivalent
cost: $45 (own horse) $60 (school horse)
Sign up for any four Friday Clinics for only $180 (4 for the price of 3)!

Introduction to Classical Riding

The first of two clinics with Veli and Sherry Leväaho of Leväaho Classical Horsemanship. Details to come!

Friday 24 July, 6:00 – 7:30pmVeli
Instructors: Veli & Sherry Leväaho
Prerequisite: Riding Level 1 or equivalent
cost: $45 (own horse) $60 (school horse)
Sign up for any four Friday Clinics for only $180 (4 for the price of 3)!

Horseback Archery – Beginner

In this three hour workshop for beginners you will spend an hour and a half on the ground learning the fundamentals and body mechanics of Hungarian style horse archery.Beg HA

You will then have an opportunity to shoot from both the falsemount (wooden horse) and real horses led by experienced handlers.

This workshop is appropriate for beginner archers and riders, experienced archers who would like to learn to shoot from horseback, and experienced riders who would like to add archery to their repertoire of mounted skills.

Sunday 26 July, 10am – 1pm
Instructor: Robert Borsos
Prerequisite: none
cost: $149

Horseback Archery – Intermediate

This workshop is intended for those who have already taken Beginner Horseback Archery. We will spend about an hour on the ground refreshing our shooting skills, then move to horseback for the remainder of the workshop.

Sunday 26 July, 2pm – 5pm
Instructor: Robert Borsos
Prerequisites: Beginner Horseback Archery + Riding Level 1 or equivalent
cost: $75

Mounted Sparring

Greg vs Chris in the Green Spur TourneyEngage in drills to improve your technique and accuracy, then take those skills to slow work and full speed mounted longsword sparring under the guidance of our Maestro d’Armi, Devon Boorman.  Up your game for Carosella 2015!

Fridays 31 Jul & 14 Aug, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Prerequisite: Green Spur or permission from instructor
cost: $45 (own horse) $60 (school horse) Sign up for any four Friday Clinics for only $180 (4 for the price of 3)!

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship

groomingThis six-class course is designed to help the beginning rider achieve Horsemanship and Riding Level 1. The cost of the course includes one free riding or horsemanship assessment.  Students can expect to be ready to assess Horsemanship Level 1 at the end of the six classes.  Readiness for Riding Level 1 typically takes two iterations of the course.

Sundays 2 Aug – 6 Sep, 10am – noon
Prerequisites: none.  Intro to Mounted Combat recommended.
cost: $300 (6 classes); individual classes (space permitting): $60 each

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2

left shoulderThis six-class course is designed to help the riders achieve Horsemanship and Riding Level 2.  The cost of the course includes one free riding or horsemanship assessment.  Students can expect to be ready to assess Horsemanship Level 2 at the end of the six classes.  Readiness for Riding Level 2 typically takes two iterations of the course.

Sundays 2 Aug – 6 Sep, 10am – noon
Prerequisites: Horsemanship Level 1
cost: $300 (6 classes); individual classes (space permitting): $60 each

Horsemanship Level 3 or 4

hayTaught in separate groups, this 6 week course will cover everything you need to know for Horsemanship levels 3 or 4.

Sundays 2 Aug – 6 Sep, 10:30 – 11:30am
cost: $130 + gst; single classes: $25 space permitting

Riding Level 3+

A six-class series for riders working on Level 3 and up.  Group lessons consist of up to four riders.  Additional time slots are added as needed, and riders are grouped by level as much as possible.  Riders are expected to arrive at least half an hour before class and have their horses groomed, tacked up, and partially warmed up before the lesson starts.stirrupless canter

Sundays 2 Aug – 6 Sep, 10:30 – 11:30am
Prerequisite: Riding Level 2 or permission from the instructor
cost: $200 for six classes; single classes: $45 space permitting.

Mounted Combat Playday

Our playdays are a lot of fun, and are an opportunity to use your skills in a mini-tournament.  Plus, the winner gets free entry into the next one!  We do mounted games, horseback archery and mounted sparring.  This is the last playday before Carosella, so make sure you take the opportunity to up your game before the big event!salute

Sunday 2 Aug, 1-4pm
Prerequisites: Riding Level 1; Beginner Horseback Archery (for archery); Green Spur (for mounted sparring)
cost: $15 with own horse; $30 with school horse

Horse Day at the PNE

Join us at the PNE for Horse Day!  We will be doing a mounted combat demonstration, and have a booth and stalls in the Agrodome stables.  Volunteers needed to talk to the public and share your love of horses and swordplay!

Saturday 29 Aug, 11am till evening

Carosella 2015stick pegging 4

Our three day symposium and tournament of mounted combat, mounted archery, and mounted games.  Join us for workshops and lectures on Friday and Saturday, and stay to compete on Sunday!

Friday – Sunday, 11-13 September 2015

 

 

Jennifer Landels Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.