So, I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that Judson College's Western Equestrian Team was going to get to go to Auburn to train with Auburn University's Equestrian Team and coaches... We FINALLY got to go.
Alright, so the trip was only delayed one week. We were supposed to go last Tuesday, February 1st, but due to frigid temperatures and torrential down pours we came to the conclusion that it would be best to postpone until the weather decided to be on our side. We were afraid that we were not going to be able to go this week, either, because the original forecast was cold with the possibility of snow. Fortunately, the weather decided to cooperate - it was sunny and only a little bit chilly.
We left Judson at about 10:30 a.m. the morning of February 8th with sack lunches aboard. It was around a two and a half hour drive, but we had plenty to do to occupy the time. Many of us had homework or studying to catch up on, others of us just had to catch up on sleep. We also discussed our upcoming show that we are hosting at Judson ( it is the only Intercollegiate HorseShow Association show in the state of Alabama) on February 19, the same day as Judson's scholarship day.
*You should really attend and support your favorite Equestrian Team,
plus take a tour of our lovely campus, and participate in the testing to
qualify for some scholarship money.*
We arrived at Auburn's barn just in time to help catch horses and get them ready to ride. The members of their team were extremely friendly and assisted us greatly in finding the right horses and tack. By 1:30 p.m., we were all mounted and in the ring beginning to warm up. The couple of hours that we had to ride with them went by so quickly. We had the opportunity to do rail work and pattern exercises, and traded horses 2-3 times. This was really important for us because we ride “strange” horses every time we show. Switching horses during a practice gives us that much more experience quickly adapting to a new horse.
One of the things I learned on this trip is that just because I am riding somewhere new with a different trainer, on a different horse, does not mean that I am going to suddenly be a different rider. I am still going to have the same strengths and weaknesses as I have always had, but I also need to be ready to apply what I already know, remember where I have had problems and work on fixing them while being ready and open for what new advice the trainer has to offer.
The second thing that really stuck out to me was something that one of the Auburn coaches said to our team after we rode and were reviewing our session. He said that one of the biggest problems that equestrians have is that they do not consider themselves athletes, but that they are athletes and they need to train like they are athletes. I guess that stuck out to me because I have never considered myself to be athletic, let alone an athlete, and I don't train like one. My riding would be much better, though, if I did.
I am very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to go on this trip and get to work with another very talented team and their coaches. This is not something that everyone gets to do and it was very insightful seeing how other people train. I would like to say thank you to The Auburn University EquestrianTeam and to their coaches for taking the time from their busy practice schedule to let us come out and work with them, to Mrs.Jennifer, our coach, for making the arrangements and taking us, and to Judson for allowing us to go.