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COVID-19 Schooling Survival Guide- Showmanship

Filed under: Featured,Health & Training |     

By: Brittany Bevis

For this edition of the COVID-19 Schooling Survival Guide, we’re focusing on a Showmanship exercise with trainer and Showmanship expert, Jenny Frid.

Within this lesson, Jenny focuses on the Serpentine Exercise, a drill that can be performed while backing, walking, or trotting. The goal of the Serpentine Exercise is to gain total control of the back up and to increase confidence and maneuvering capability while trotting.

In order to set up the drill, you will need four to five cones placed an equal distance apart, in a straight line. Depending on the skill of the handler attempting this drill, Jenny will adjust the stride length to increase or decrease the level of difficulty. “When I place those cones, it’s dependent upon how advanced the student is. Five long strides is challenging for advanced clients, but a beginner can do seven strides. When I count off strides, I walk as if I’m walking a Trail course.”

There are a few important aspects to focus on within the drill, whether you’re backing, walking, or trotting the line. “Think of it as a Western Riding pattern. Most people start to curve the line around the cones. You want to stay close to the cones down the line. You need to have a plan of attack and keep straight to the cones, if possible.”

Another tip is not to look directly at the cone in front of you, because it will cause your line to wiggle. Teach the horse how to keep the same stride throughout and plan for a circle loop at the end, if desired.”

One thing to keep in mind is to maintain the same distance to your horse throughout. Don’t let your partner surge or lag. He should respect your space at all times. And don’t neglect your stops. Each stop should be square and complete.

If you would like to increase the level of difficulty of this drill, make a loop at the end of the cones and go back through without stopping. This is especially tricky while backing the line. This exercise not only helps to streamline your handling skills, the serpentine is often a maneuver that’s included in many Showmanship patterns at horse shows.

This may seem like a simple drill, but there is a lot of thought that goes into navigating it successfully. If you can master doing it forwards and backwards, at different gaits, you will increase your confidence level and be able to excel at your next horse show.

“Have a plan of attack and know how to control your horse’s body. This exercise creates control, fluidity, and confidence. It takes time and practice.”

EC TV- COVID-19 Schooling Survival Guide- Showmanship

In our next edition of the COVID-19 Schooling Survival Guide, we rely on the expert Showmanship guidance of Jenny Jordan to assist with the Serpentine Exercise. Click here to view the article that accompanys this video with tips and tricks about how to perform it properly. you attempt this drill, DM a video to The Equine Chronicle! We want to see your progress.#TheEquineChronicle#QuarantineFun

Posted by The Equine Chronicle on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Stay tuned to for more COVID-19 Schooling Survival Guides in other disciplines coming soon! Also, if you’d like more practice ideas while in isolation, check out for more teaching videos.

Click on the links below to view the other COVID-19 Schooling Survival Guides.

EC TV- Video- Jumping

Jumping with Lainie DeBoer

EC TV- Video- Horsemanship

Horsemanship with Arturo Maestas

EC TV- Equitation

Equitation with Lainie DeBoer

Trail with Carson Griggs

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