Keylee Sayler, AQHA’s international intern, and the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College horsemanship clinic team teach riders in Semily, Czech Republic.
By AQHA International Intern Keylee Sayler
The NEO team and I just finished the camp at the beautiful Aystra and Jizerou Ranch in Semily, Czech Republic. This was the first time this camp has ever been held at this ranch, and it was fantastic. There were only eight participants, but this gave the NEO team more of an opportunity to have one-on-one instruction with each participant.
As most of the camp attendees came with their Wade tree saddles and chaps, these participants wanted to learn more about the ranch horse versatility and how to become better horsemen. The NEO team did a great job. They focused on giving the camp participants a good horsemanship foundation so that, by the third day, they could have success in the ranch horse events.
The first and second day, the NEO team taught the participants the proper way to ride a horse, including basic maneuvers in order to gain control of their horses’ bodies. When teaching them this, they incorporated several fun games to help participants learn these riding skills in a fun and challenging way.
Here is one game they used that you can try at home:
There are several ways a piece of toilet paper can improve your riding, as long as you follow two simple rules: don’t rip the toilet paper and don’t drop the toilet paper.
- By placing a piece under the rider’s seat, this helps the rider become stronger in their base support and to learn how to sit.
- If riding with two hands, place a piece between your hands, as this will help make steadier and softer hands.
- Place a piece under the rider’s thigh, drop the stirrups and then post or two point. This will help the rider to learn how to balance, feel their horse and build their riding muscles.
On the third day, the camp participants were split into two groups: one group worked on roping and working cattle and the other group worked on trail obstacles. Cattle are much harder to obtain in Europe than in the States, so it was definitely a treat to be able to teach these participants with real cattle.
The camp was held out in the country and surrounded by big rolling hills with lots of trees, so after the clinic each day, we enjoyed relaxing and socializing while admiring the scenery.
Next up: I will be meeting up with the University of Wyoming team in Sweden, and the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College team will start making its way to Germany.
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