Wellington, FL - Being chosen as one of the elite demonstration riders in the 2014 Succeed/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Symposium was quite an honor. Mette Larsen was thrilled. “I’ve never ridden in this symposium, and it was really special,” she said. The Trainers Conference allows FEI-Level trainers, and other individuals who meet the attendee criteria, to observe training techniques and interact with two world-class dressage trainers as they analyze each horse, determine training problems, and analyze ways to solve them.
This year’s Conference was held January 20-21, 2014, at Mary Anne McPhail's High Meadow Farm in Loxahatchee, Florida and featured Olympian Steffen Peters and USEF National Young Dressage Horse Coach Scott Hassler. Peters and Hassler focused on the critical stages of development and training. Peters was hands-on, spending time in the saddle to identify where riders 'get in trouble', and working through 'real life' issues as they relate to the Pyramid of Training. Peters and Hassler also engaged attendees in peer–to–peer discussion throughout the conference, evaluating each situation.
Mette Larsen rode Deklan, a 6-year-old, 18 hand Dutch Warmblood bred by Toine Hoefs.
“Steffen worked with me and Deklan on finding the right carriage so that he was soft and light,” Larsen said. “I reward him immediately when he is correct and in balance. Scott (Hassler) shared with me that when he saw the video he chose Deklan because he has such an amazing canter.
“Participating in a conference like this is extremely important. Here you have two of the best trainers, and they talk about cooperation, relationship, softness of aids, and using no gimmicks. The most important thing I learned watching Steffen was the clarity in his aids and the picture of what he wanted. His relationship to the horse is that it is cooperative, you cooperate with the horse and he cooperates with you, so there is a relationship. Scott shared with me how to make sure to complete every aid and every movement, and to continue to ask my horse questions. He said to teach the horse. Don’t just do a transition and canter a circle and stop. Do a transition then ask him three or for questions and then do another transition. This keeps him engaged.”
Communication is everything between a horse and a rider. Neue Schule Bits are ergonomically-designed to facilitate the communication between horses and riders at all levels. They are available through North American distributor Mette Larsen, of Metlar Saddlery, in Riverhead at the “fork” of New York’s Long Island.