Rober Dover HorseMastership Week – Day 3. Blog by Kerrigan Gluch

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Kerrigan Gluch, 19 years old, a participant in the fifth annual Robert Dover Horsemastership clinic at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex that is the home of the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, is writing a daily report for dressage-news.com. Kerrigan, from Mount Pleasant, Michigan but based at Hampton Green Farm in Wellington and Fruitport, Michigan for the past four years was the 2015 United States Young Rider reserve champion on Vaquero HGF.

Participants at the Robert Dover HorseMastership Week riding clinic. © 2016 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Participants at the Robert Dover HorseMastership Week riding clinic. © 2016 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

I had the first lesson of the day with Robert Dover. Vaquero felt great in the warm up. Robert then got on and rode Vaquero. He wanted to work through movements such as the piaffe and passage, aiming to improve his contact. The contact must be pushing from behind into a steady hand. This will create a quiet mouth and improvements in all the movements. Since Vaquero and I are new with the piaffe and passage work, Robert wanted to give Vaquero a positive, encouraging experience in that work. In the end, I felt like I gained a lot more knowledge on what it takes to make Vaquero successful.

To start off our afternoon lectures, Ken Braddick spoke on the topic of media relations. This seemed to fit very well into the clinic because the riders are young and need as much help as we can get when it comes to the press. The time in the spotlight for many young people may be very short, so it is important to make the time that you do have, count.  Ken has traveled all over the world watching shows and talking with many different riders.  The line, “I love my horse” is something that you should stay away from in a press conference.  The viewers and writers already know that you love your horse. They want to hear how you felt the ride went, how the horse performed, and what sponsors were involved.  I thought that was really helpful because I have only heard what the press wants to hear, not what they don’t.

In the final lecture of the day we got to hear from Endel Ots, Kim Herslow, and Mary-Cameron Rollins.  They all have unique experiences that were very interesting to a group of young riders.

Endel discussed his experience traveling to the World Young Horse Finals in Germany last year. We heard the whole story, from getting the horse as a three-year-old, all the way to going down the centerline at the finals. Having never competed in Europe, it was a very intriguing discussion because everything is new.

Kim Herslow talked about her experience at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto in July. I found it to be very helpful when she discussed how she dealt with the pressure of representing the United States going into the games. She couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of a strong team. The support and encouragement from teammates goes so far!

Mary-Cameron told us her story of going from a successful young rider to a young professional. I feel like that topic of transitioning to the next level is where so many people get stuck. She gave us multiple tips that encouraged us to be determined and push for something we want. I felt like her main point that she wanted us to understand was to always have an open mind; always be looking for new opportunities because you never know what could come out of taking a small risk.

“Even when you don’t win, you still could,” she said. “It could be something as simple as the color of your coat.”

Tomorrow is a resting day for the horse, but not for the riders!  We have a full day planned, starting with a morning workout, followed by multiple lectures.