Beyond the Barn

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When I was in school I opted out of many extracurricular activities to spend time at the barn. This time at the farm and in the saddle was my only form of exercise and for years it was enough. But as I grew older, entered a full-time job, got married and had children, I found that my level of riding wasn’t enough to keep me fit and my riding position was suffering. I needed to look beyond my time in the saddle and adopt other forms of exercise. Today I enjoy walking 15 to 20 miles a week and have started light weight training—both of which have helped me stay healthy and improved my position.

Shannon and Steffen Peters Dressage Today

Going beyond the barn to exercise or enjoy other hobbies can be a foreign concept to many horsepeople. But in this month’s special flip issue we explore that notion with international dressage competitor Shannon Peters and her husband, Steffen, U.S. dressage Olympian and 2015 Pan American Games double-gold winner. First we hear from Shannon on the importance of position and the benefits of having correct posture as a way of life. “Many of my students work at desk jobs or drive long distances to get to the barn and it affects their position on the horse. Awareness of proper spinal alignment throughout the day is so important.” Shannon offers four exercises to help improve your position and also recommends Pilates or yoga to help strengthen the core. Read “Position 101” on p. 28.

While we’re on the topic of position, don’t miss this month’s “Tips From Trainers Who Teach,” in which FEI-level rider Volker Brommann says, “If you ride well, your horsemanship and your basics are correct and the test is accurate, then you’re going to be rewarded and be competitive.” Read more on p. 36.

As I mentioned, this is a special issue. In fact, this will be our third flip book and perhaps my favorite since it features one of our sport’s most beloved couples. In “At Home in San Diego with Shannon and Steffen Peters,” this dynamic dressage duo opens their home to Dressage Today, giving us a look into how they spend their time at Arroyo Del Mar, their Califonia-based home and training business. From training and teaching to baking, biking and “flying,” this unique couple shows how they stay grounded amid a whirlwind of high-performance competition. You can read more about the Peters on p. F2.

Finally, we have two exciting opportunities for you this month. First is our Outfit My Ride contest (p. 16), which gives you a chance to win new tack and apparel. You also have a chance to win a cross-training clinic with two of equestrian sport’s most well-known riders—U.S. eventing Olympian Boyd Martin and his wife, Silva, a renowned Grand Prix dressage rider and instructor (p. 50). Be sure to enter both!

Until next time,

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