Mar 022018

By Patty Wilber

First off, thanks to Dr. Stacie Boswell for her help on last week’s blog!


So, I get to coach a drill team out at 4 Winds Equestrian!

We have only had one introductory meeting so our first real practice is coming up!

I have been checking out videos and this one

was pretty amazing.  What an intricate pattern!

They are young, so maybe they have longer attention spans than we that are longer in the teeth!  Our initial patterns are going to be shorter and mostly walk trot.

In addition to these speedy flowing patterns, I think it will also be fun to do some things that look more like precision marching. I could not find any precision marching horse videos, so hey, we could be the first!

Imagine something like this, only with horses…and easier… to start with.

To that end, we will work on body control basics like move the shoulder, move the hip, stop, back, and sideways and then start to combine movements and patterns in groups of riders!

A big side benefit of focussing on the group maneuvers on horseback is that it can sharpen the horse and rider skill set without anyone really “working” on it.

This should be a fun! 

And who knows, maybe we will even do an exhibition sometime!

  • EMoonTX

    When I was sort of an assistant teacher at one stable, one summer, when the main instructor was out with an emergency, I found that a beginner kids’ class enjoyed–and learned from–riding simple “drill” patterns (start out in a single line, make pairs coming down the center, split into two shorter lines, come back together in pairs. Suddenly they weren’t just looking at their horses’ ears–they were noticing if they were even with the kid on the opposite side of the ring, looking where they wanted to turn, etc. They began to grasp *why* it was important to keep an even contact on the reins (this was a beginner hunt seat class), why you needed to think ahead for turns and not just depend on the rail and the school horse. IIRC it was all at a walk, but then I wasn’t needed very long, maybe a week.

    There were always jumps set up in the ring, so I also had them riding patterns around the jumps…half of each pair to the left of a jump, half to the right, come back together smoothly as a pair. A friend and I tried some of the same things on horses whose stride length didn’t match–we both had to sharpen up our perception of pace, steering, etc. to stay together. Depending on arena size and how many others are using it, you can also cut back to half (or more or less) and work on pattern details there. If there were jump standards set up but no (or a step-over rail) in them, I’d have the kids ride through, while looking ahead to me–they had to tell me how many fingers I was holding up in one hand, to learn not to stare down at the jump but ahead.

  • Patty

    And that is precisely why it works so well on riders and horses!! Thanks! Reminds me of my summers of teaching at a horse camp. At the end of the two week session, we put on a show for the parents. Each class has its own performance and drill teams one of the things we did! One of those summers was the best summer ever. The other, well, not as much!

  • Tammy Eldred

    So much fun. Thanks for sharing the Drill Team Video. When I was a 4-H Horse Project Leader back in the day, I put together a drill team of 20 4-H riders. They ranged in age from 9-19. I initially started the drill to get the younger riders to look up and across the arena, and follow-the-leader. It led to an amazing drill that we performed at the State Fair Rodeos following the Grand Entry and also State Fair Parades. Eventually we got sponsors and were able to purchase matching jackets and saddle pads. We did maneuvers such as thread-the-needle, pin wheels, synchronized circles, and many moves that were in the drill video. Brings back fond memories. An excellent way to teach beginners in a group.

  • Patty

    That sounds like a lot of fun and very successful!