BY ALLYSON LAGIOVANE
Middleburg, Va. – June 4, 2019 – The lead-off event for the 2019 Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series featured an exclusive masterclass with Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde on Monday, June 3. The afternoon saw four local hunt country riders, Paige Cade, Gavin Moylan, Matthias Hollberg, and Merrill Harvey. Wylde focused the session on bringing everyone back to basics, honing in on simplicity in training to find success in the show ring.
Wylde started riders on the rail at the flat, warming up with exercises to lengthen and shorten the horses’ strides. For Wylde, the flatwork warmup was all about keeping horses soft, supple and focused. Wylde said, “In general, we’re going to keep it simple today. My goal is to learn about your horses and give my opinions on what direction you should be going when you leave here.”
Once the group was warmed up on the flat, each rider started over fences with a cross rail fence, followed by a single vertical down the center line. These two different fences allowed riders to continue focusing on remaining supple while also maintaining an organized distance, encouraging their horses to bend around the corners on the other side of the fence.
Cade said, “It was like a bucket list item [to ride with Peter Wylde]. I was really excited. I’ve watched him show over the years and I’ve always really admired his technique and it was something that I wanted to emulate. So I was really excited that I got the opportunity to ride here at Rutledge Farm!”
Following the over-fences warm up, Wylde put together a course that included bending lines and rollback turns, allowing riders to show-off the skills they just learned. Rushed distances proved to be a challenge for some, but Wylde offered key advice that quickly helped the group improve. He said, “One of the reasons that a horse will rush a fence is if you hang them in the mouth. They get stiff and hollow, which makes them go faster. Following your release at each jump, especially at home, will create a rounder fence and encourage the horse to make a rounder, softer jump.”
At the conclusion of the clinic, auditors had the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with Wylde. From how to maintain composure at competitions to the proper bit to use for your horse, Wylde was not short of advice and guidance for the audience. Wylde emphasized the importance of learning by watching, especially emulating riders that you admire.
According to Wylde, simplicity is key when it comes to training to build confidence. He said, “I think training at home gets too complicated; you think you’re accomplishing something but you aren’t making it better. If training is organized so that it becomes easy, the rider can take a breath and relax, and then the horse relaxes. The biggest thing that I find when I’m training people is to make sure that your riders are prepared, but also make sure that they feel confident about what they’re doing. If they’ve done it before and they feel positive about it, then it goes that way no matter what level you’re competing at.”
On riding at Rutledge Farm, Hollberg said, “I really like the place. We came here last year for the first [Rutledge Farm Session], so this is our second time here. I think [the series] is a great idea and I am really happy to come and support it.”
Wylde concluded, “I only do one clinic a year usually, and that’s the Emerging Athletes National Final in November. When I came to Upperville last year, Aleco [Bravo-Greenberg] invited me to come to [Rutledge Farm] and he gave me a full tour. I saw what he was doing here and I just loved the idea. When I saw everything it became a no brainer that I needed to do this clinic.”
This year’s Rutledge Farm Sessions not be possible without the generous sponsors and partners, including Salamander Resort & Spa, Taylor Harris Insurance Services, Total Equine Veterinary Associates, and Attwood Equestrian Surfaces. Registration for the series is made easy thanks to Event Clinics. For those that can’t make it Middleburg, Virginia, each clinic will be broadcast on-demand through the USEF Network. Click here to stay up-to-date with this year’s on-demand viewing schedule and re-live the Rutledge Farm Sessions!
Rutledge Farm is pleased to offer an exciting lineup for the 2019 Rutledge Farm Sessions. This year’s clinics feature Olympic and championship athletes, including Karen Healey, Boyd Martin, Will Simpson, Ali Brock, Debbie McDonald, Phillip Dutton, and Stacia Madden. For more information about how to sign up to ride or audit a Rutledge Farm Session, visit www.rutledgefarm.com/clinics