January 2, 2013?Four-time Olympian Anne Kursinski wowed the crowd with her dressage flatwork demonstration on the opening day of the 2013 George Morris Horsemastership Training Session. As George Morris looked on from his seat in a golf cart, Anne put Udonnay Z, a 9-year-old chestnut mare owned by student Karen Polle, through her paces. She started with a little lateral work to judge the mare's reaction to the leg. Then she moved on to working, collected and extended trot and canter, lateral work at the trot including shoulder-in, haunches-in and half-pass, a "poor man's pirouette" as Anne described it, some tempi changes and even some half steps (which would lead to piaffe and passage). She would have been just as at home in a dressage arena as she was in the ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.
Anne seemed to be having a blast, playing with the mare to see what she could get from her. The fiery redhead required a balanced approach?too much leg would evoke resistance. As Anne finessed her almost-invisible cues, the mare settled in and seemed to say, "Yes, ma'am," to each of her requests. Anne likened flatwork to going to the gym?and as she worked you could see the gymnasticizing effect the lateral work had on her horse. The collection would get more balanced and the extensions more elastic. But this wasn't just a dressage exhibition. Anne demonstrated how the increased lateral and longitudinal flexion translated to the jumper ring with tighter turns, more power and greater control.
Throughout her ride, Anne cites quotes and lessons from her mentor Jimmy Williams. If you read the classic article with Jimmy in our upcoming February issue, you will certainly recognize Jimmy's influence on Anne's riding and training philosophy.
That's all for today. Thursday's session will include the two riding sessions on flatwork and gymnastics, a seminar with Dr. Deb Bennett on the biomechanics of straightening and a veterinary session with Dr. Tim Ober. All of the sessions will be available to view live beginning at 8 a.m. ET (or on demand after) on www.usefnetwork.com. Or if you're in the Wellington area, spectators are invited for all public sessions at no cost, though a donation is appreciated. The clinic is being held in Ring 9.
Watch video on demand of Anne's ride as well as of the entire 2013 George Morris Horsemastership Training Session at www.usefnetwork.com.
The 2013 George Morris Horsemastership Training Session is sponsored by Adequan and the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association and presented by Practical Horseman, SmartPak and Equestrian Sport Production.