Genevieve Rohner was selected from hundreds of applicants to win a clinic with Adrienne Lyle, sponsored by Vita Flex and Dressage Today. That was in 2019—pre-COVID. The event had to be postponed until 2021, but then Adrienne went to the Olympics and then got married after that. So, nearly two years after originally winning the clinic, the event was finally held on November 13 at Sage Creek Equestrian Center in beautiful Herber City, Utah, and it was worth the wait.
Genevieve is a Grade IV para-rider, which, put in dressage level terms, is a combination of First and Second Levels. She rode two horses in the clinic—her main competition horse Donut, and a friend’s horse named Leo. There were also four other participants including Genevieve’s coach, Annie Sweet and barn owner, Jim Hicks.
Adrienne was a calm, positive influence on all the riders and horses. The focus often came back to the basics of correct aids that helped the horse achieve quality steps. While they all may have worked on different movements, there were a few major themes that ran through many of the rides.
- Maintain a consistent feel on both reins. Usually this meant less inside bending rein and more outside straightening rein.
- Improvements are made incrementally – one inch or one step at a time. It is important to notice that small attempt at improvement and reward the horse appropriately.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more expression. Even if it is just one step, take a risk and try. You just might get it.
- More isn’t necessarily better. For example, when doing a counter bend, if the horse doesn’t give right away, don’t bend him more to the outside. Stay steady and consistent with what you are doing and wait for the horse to soften.
- And possibly the most important tip Adrienne gave was to trust in your aids and in your training. Give them a chance and believe that they will work.
Adrienne was generous with her time and attention to each horse and rider pair. At the end of the day, everyone was all smiles. As for clinic winner Genevieve, this was a wonderful prep for her first CPEDI (International Para-Equestrian Dressage) in March in Wellington, Florida. Adrienne, who is back in Wellington for the season, might even stop by to watch.