A Show-Jumping Clinic took place recently at Cordova Stud in Ruretse.
The visiting instructor was Chad Cunningham from Johannesburg. It was another warm weekend in Botswana with afternoon temperatures ranging between 32 and 34 degrees.
The cost of one lesson to the rider was P400.00 and the times varied between forty-five minutes and one hour and fifteen minutes depending on the size of the group.
Chad Cunningham has a very long and impressive list of equestrian qualifications and achievements. He is an FEI Accredited Level 1 and Level 2 Coach and has attended the Level 3 Coach’s workshop. He is currently a Level 1 International Qualified Coach, has an International Licensed Coach’s Passport (IGEQ) and is a National A Panel Equitation Master Judge. He currently holds regular clinics and some FEI solidarity youth camps in Cape Town, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius. He is currently competing at the dizzy height if 1M30 and upwards. He runs his own stables from the London Lane Stud with forty-eight horses at livery.
Chad warmed up the horses and riders insisting on correct hand, body and leg position at all times in halt, walk, trot and canter and the transitions between the paces. He encouraged the riders to break bad riding habits and to concentrate on “looking” at the jump they are about to jump, whilst “seeing” all the obstacles around them in the arena.
Chad built a bounce exercise of an upright to an upright with a rustic trot pole in front and two rustic guiding poles to keep the horses straight after landing. This was jumped in one direction. He also built nine jumps consisting of six uprights and three parallels all of which could be jumped in either direction. Across the length of the arena he built three uprights which could be jumped as a serpentine. He built an upright with a plank filler which was four strides from a parallel, five strides from an upright and five strides from the middle upright of the serpentine. He built a double combination of an upright and two strides to a parallel and he built another rustic parallel with hay bale fillers. All these jumps could be jumped singly or as exercises in innumerable interesting, technical and challenging courses which Chad designed according to the capabilities of each rider and horse in each lesson.
The riders were grateful for their experience.
“I had a really good first clinic with Chad. I really enjoy the time he spends on each rider explaining exactly what he wants us to perform and letting us know where we could do better. He gave me a better feeling of how to ride my horse into jumps which I am very happy with,” one said.
Another declared: “I loved every single minute of the clinic. When everything is broken down into basics, it makes so much sense. What a difference 5degrees in your seat makes to the horse. I could feel how much freer his movements were when I sat correctly. Many thanks to Adele for bringing Chad to Botswana and for hosting the clinic!”
“Chad is a very knowledgeable and experienced instructor. He really takes a holistic approach to the improvement of riders. Always a pleasure to work with him,” yet another chipped.