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Q. I plan to show this season for the first time in trail, but the courses are so complicated I’m afraid I’ll get lost! I have a hard time remembering showmanship and equitation patterns. I write them down accurately and memorize them, but when it’s my turn, I often forget what comes next. Please help.

A. I have struggled with the same thing myself, so I know where you’re coming from. I’ve gone off- course on count- less hunter courses as a teenager. It feels like getting lost in a jungle when you don’t know where to go after an obstacle!

Lindsay Grice

auditory (responding to descriptions, word pictures, rhymes). Others are kinaes- thetic (learning my movement and experience). Knowing your learning style is helpful. Try a number of memorization styles in each of these cate- gories and see what works. I’ll give you a few suggestions. Memorize the middle. Often we get the first part of a pattern, poem or song down, but get stuck in the middle of the second verse. Start at the middle rather than rehearsing from the beginning over and over. Get to the point where you can start at obstacle three or five and pick it up from there.

ment. I used to fall into the trap of jumping a fence and assessing how it looked on the following strides. By the time you’re leaving the obstacle or landing from the jump, it’s too late to analyze it – forget it, pitch your thoughts to the next destination and leave the assessment until later. Walk it. I have my stu- dents set up pylons in the barn area and walk through patterns on foot. Jumper and trail riders can walk the actual course before the class. Actually putting yourself into the situa- tion appeals to kinaesthetic learners.

Everyone memorizes material in a different way – some are visual learners (learning through diagrams, demonstrations) and some

Rhyme it. Word associa- tion, rhyme, or alliteration appeals to auditory learners. For example “Lope left after logs.” or “Keep right a smidge after the bridge.” Perhaps a green obstacle will remind you to go faster, like a traffic light (ie. Pick up a lope.) Give word pictures to the obstacles based on their shape and put them together in groups, or clusters of three. For example gate, fan, wagon wheel. You can do the same thing with a sequence of jumps of move- ments in an equitation pattern. Use colour On your pat- tern, use coloured markers to illustrate where you walk, trot or lope. This works for equi- tation and horsemanship pat- terns as well.

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Where next? Visualize exiting each obstacle and turn- ing toward the next one. I remind my students to silently say the words “What’s next” as they’re crossing the last ele-

Put it in perspective. When memorizing a pattern, imagine where the in gate is. Where are the judges sitting? Mentally put yourself in the ring. If possible, watch the competitors in the class before you, preferably from a few dif- ferent locations at ringside – not just the gate. By all means, get into the ring and ride or walk around the obsta- cles if show management per- mits.

Give yourself time. If possible, pick up your pattern the day before your class – don’t cram. The more hurried you get, the more you’ll for- get! And what can it hurt to slip that pattern diagram under your pillow the night before…

Lindsay Grice Bio

Coach, trainer, equine behaviour lecturer and judge, Lindsay Grice, has prepared horses and riders for wins at major horse shows in the US and Canada for over 20 years. Starting her career on the

Foundation Reining Training Centre

Specializing in Natural Horsemanship & Body Control Foundation/Western Dressage

Body control/western dressage, reining training, colt starting, lessons, coaching, tune ups, ‘train the trainer’ teachings

Certified Professional Horse Trainer “Putting my spin on things!”

Susan Dahl

Durham, On • 519-369-6767 • Blog/Website:

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hunter A circuit, she continues to actively compete in both english and western events, specializing now in the AQHA circuit.

Lindsay teaches Equine Behaviour for the University of Guelph Performance Horse Handler course. In clinics and coaching, she uses the science of how horses think and learn – behavioural theory- to bridge the communication gap between horses and riders, explains both the “hows” and “whys” of training and show- ing.

Lindsay is an Equine Canada judge and AQHA spe-

cialized judge, as well as a certified Equine Canada and NCCP (multi event) coach. When asked what she loves about her job, Lindsay responds, “I love putting com- plex principles of riding into a language that riders can under- stand. As someone who’s been there – forgotten courses, made training mistakes, lis- tened to hollering coaches and still made it to the winner’s circle, I share with my stu- dents the keys I wish I’d known.”

For more training and showing tips, visit her site

Matthew Hudson, QEF 2011

Trainer of the Year!

‘Mr. Normand Caron, on behalf of the Board of Directors of “la Fédération équestre du Québec”, presents Matthew Hudson, the 2011 FEQ Trainer of the Year Trophy’

At the Party of Champions held by the Quebec Rein- ing Association (AQR) on January 21 last in Drum- mondville (QC), Matthew Hudson was presented the ‘Trophée FEQ de l’Entraîneur de l’année 2011 AQR’ (QEF 2011 Trainer of the Year trophy) by Normand Caron representing the Board of Directors of “La Fédération équestre du Québec”.

The 25-year old athlete clinches his name besides those of Alain Allard, Réjean Lévesque, Dany Tremblay, Pierre-Luc Phaneuf and other Quebec’s renowned Reining riders.

Matthew Hudson, born in New Brunswick, already holds an exceptional reining show record although his young age. His family has always been involved in Cut- ting and Team Penning but Matt discovers, in 2003, the sport of Reining in Quebec.

He was then coached by experienced Sophie Laverdière and competed everywhere throughout Québec and out of the province in “Youth”, “Non Pro” and “Open”. He was a member of the Reining section of Youth Team Canada at 2004 AQHA Youth World Cup in Aus- tralia. He was then 16 years old. He was the 2003 Youth 14-18 Champion with AQR and the 2004 Novice Horse Non Pro Champion.

Matthew Hudson moves to USA in 2006 and, from 2007 to 2010, he trains Reining horses in Italy. In 2011, he comes back to Québec and becomes the home trainer at Excalibur Farm in St-Basile-le-Grand (QC), owned by André de Bellefeuille.

His very good 2011 show season has emphasized his Reining comeback in Québec. He has earned over $64,000 (total 2011 NRHA earnings), the second best earning per- formance in AQR history. He was the NRHA Open Reserve Champion and the NRHA Intermediate Open Champion with Its All About Dillon at the end of the 2011 AQR show season. He has also shined in Texas, Ohio and Oklahoma with Its All About Smart, Its All About Dillon, Its All About Spark, Revolutionary Cash and Ima Easy Whiz.

At only 25, Matthew Hudson has raised himself in the Quebec Reining Elite Club.

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