Olympic Gold Medalist Will Simpson Showcases Flatwork and Gymnastics for Show Jumping Success at Rutledge Farm Sessions

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BY REBECCA WALTON, PHELPS MEDIA GROUP

Middleburg, Va. – October 14, 2019 – The Rutledge Farm Sessions welcomed Olympic gold medalist Will Simpson of California to its historic facility in Middleburg, Virginia Saturday, Oct. 12, for a one-day clinic focused on building solid flatwork and gymnastics for success in show jumping. Simpson, an American show jumping icon and long-time friend of Bravo-Greenberg, kicked off the inaugural clinic series in August of 2017 and has been a staple of the groundbreaking clinic series since.

The clinic featured four sections of riders in which Simpson focused on a series of exercises on the flat as well as several gymnastics to help athletes develop their skills for show jumping. The flatwork was utilized to help engage the horse’s hind end as well as develop eye control and effective distance selection. The gymnastics encouraged the horses to control their body and jump in good form. Click here to check out the five essential exercises Simpson introduced, including video demonstrations of each.

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“The most important thing in my teaching is eye control,” explained Simpson. “I think we got that going, and then one of my students enlightened me on the fact that her horse was more responsive and fought less. So we took the fight out of the horse and made him more responsive, so that to me made the clinic.”

Joanna Hagen, a local professional based at Clairvaux, participated with her 5-year-old Dutch Warmblood Jenuine Legacy MF. The rider saw great progress with her horse, and Simpson was the first person other than Hagen to ride the horse, one that she started herself. 

“I love hearing things said in a different way,” Hagen commented. “It’s always good to know, as a pro and for teaching, sometimes you say it five million times, and you need that five million and oneth time to be able to translate it to someone else, so that was really awesome. It solidified that something is not actually that hard, if you follow certain basics then it all should be easy.”

Photo © Phelps Media

Hagen added, “I think the opportunity to ride with Will was awesome, being that he’s based in the west coast I think that sometimes the way that they train may be different than a lot of the east coast trainers. Maybe it’s the California vibe, but it’s a little bit more relaxed, so even though you think, ‘Oh my gosh he’s an Olympic gold medalist,’ he’s very easy going, so you don’t feel much pressure, which is nice. You can really just concentrate on what is going on in the moment instead of feeling, ‘I can’t mess up,’ because it’s okay to make mistakes.”

Simpson concluded, “It’s always great coming here to Rutledge Farm. This is the third time now, and it’s wonderful to see all of the activity here. The place is growing and becoming such a great influence on so many people. It’s a great place for people to bring horses and learn and it’s a fantastic place to ride.”

The Rutledge Farm Sessions brings exclusive educational opportunities to riders and professionals in Middleburg, Virginia. Drawing from a pool of Olympic medalists and International Champion clinicians, Rutledge Farm offers monthly clinics for riders at all levels and of all disciplines, including dressage, show jumping, eventing, and equitation.  

The 2019 Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series will continue Olympic dressage bronze-medalist Ali Brock, two-time Olympic eventing gold-medalist Phillip Dutton, and renowned champion equitation trainer Stacia Madden.

To find out more information about clinics offered during this year’s Rutledge Farm Sessions, visit www.rutledgefarm.com/clinics