On Sunday November 7, thirteen participants ranging in ages from 10 to mature attended Dressage4kids, Inc’s first "Young Sport Horse Breeders" In Hand Clinic at Phil and Orintha Silva's Ten Broeck Farm in Pepperell, MA. The clinicians were Britta Johnston, who showed an incredible depth of knowledge about many aspects of showing in hand, and Phil Silva who demonstrated his talent handling all the horses used in the clinic.
Britta Johnston of Britta Johnston International Sporthorses was born in Germany and starts young horses and trains them to the FEI levels. Through her childhood years in the breeding regions of Germany, Britta also gained a wealth of knowledge in the science of breeding excellent sport horses. In 2009 she was chosen by the WBFSH and the German Trakehner Verband to be a coach for the Young Breeders World Championship.
Phil Silva, owner of Ten Broeck Farm, has many years of experience training horses for and handling them in Breed Shows and breed selections. Phil has developed an excellent reputation for analyzing a horse’s capabilities, and helping it to realize its greatest potential.
Conformation was the first subject addressed. The "young breeders" learned how judges score the conformation classes, using live horses as examples. After conformation it was on to how handlers show the horses in hand. Some participants got to try it with a challenging Chincoteague pony. A very interactive clinic, Britta and Phil were full of motivation and everyone was encouraged to get involved. Participants, auditors, parents and trainers all had to run the triangle to get an idea of how much running is involved (a lot).
A delicious lunch was generously donated by Renee Isler, a long time supporter of young people in dressage. It was followed by an exciting afternoon of free-jumping! Kathy Hickerson of Majestic Gait Farms provided some wonderful and talented young horses to demonstrate for the "young breeders" so they could learn how to judge the free-jumping.
Thirteen-year-old Robert Leuck from Long Island, NY, said "I cannot wait for the next clinic. I think more kids should get involved in this program." The clinic was organized by Marie Banks of Blue Ribbon Farm with the help of the Dressage4kids young breeders committee. This committee has come together to bring education to all about showing in hand, breeding, and evaluating young horses. The committee members are Marie Banks, Alice Petersen, Lendon Gray, Britta Johnston, Phil and Orintha Silva.
The participants were Corie Bannon of Yaphank NY, Ailish Bengal of Center Moriches NY, Rachel Chowanec of Columbia CT, Chandra Chowanec of Columbia, Sarah Deitch of Woodbury NY, Jaclyn DiCarlo of Stony Brook NY, Taylor Flanagan of Shoreham NY, Yasmine Kocan of Riverhead NY, Robert Leuck of Miller Place NY, Alyxe Perry of Castleton NY, Marta Priebe of East Setauket NY, Meg Sweeney of Stony Brook NY, and Caitlin Wischermann of Honeoye Falls NY.
Even though we have focused on the future "young breeders" everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities to learn about breeding, conformation, and showing in hand. At the 2011 Youth Dressage Festival there will be a Sport Horse Handling and Judging competition for the first time. As part of the D4K Weekend Educational Program (Jan. 29/30 in Woodbury, CT), there will be a day-long session on judging conformation and showing horses in hand. All future clinics will be posted on www.dressage4Kids.com and the Dressage4kids Facebook page. So join us next time!