The Rutledge Farm Sessions welcomed renowned equitation trainer Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables to its historic facility in Middleburg, Virginia Saturday, Nov 9-10, for a two-day clinic. Three groups of riders at various skill levels worked with Madden on correct flatwork and gymnastics exercises, all while focusing on making their horses adjustable and accurate.
Throughout the weekend, riders tackled several exercises, including work without stirrups, as well as demonstrating shoulder in, haunches in and leg yields on the flat. Madden’s goal was to make sure the horses were on the riders’ aids as they prepared for jumping. Madden used work over cavalettis and simplifying courses to help riders recognize what they each needed to focus on.
“For me, a clinic experience is just trying to introduce as many exercises as possible so that hopefully each rider can pick the one that works for them, the one that they felt was really beneficial,” explained Madden. “I tried to make each session a little bit different so that even if you were not riding in a particular group, you might pick an exercise that you feel will work for your horse and get some homework that you can take with you.”
Meghan Finlay. Photo by Phelps Media Group
Junior rider Kylan Tonizzo leveraged the opportunity to train with Madden to help her prepare for the equitation ring. “I learned a lot about how to collect a horse and get them listening in the corners,” she noted. “I also really learned how to work to get your horse lighter in the bridle and respond a lot better to the horse in general. I have a lot of exercises to take home and practice!”
Amateur rider Karly Clayton said, “I think the most important thing that I took away from this clinic was to focus on the fundamentals, because usually the exercise would be a success or a failure depending on how well you executed the basics.”
Kylan Tonizzo. Photo by Phelps Media Group
Riders enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in a clinic with a trainer of Madden’s caliber at the picturesque facility. Nicole Brown said, “It’s amazing to have someone like Stacia Madden here and to be able to be involved with someone that is at her level. The facility is very nice, and Aleco Bravo-Greenberg was a very gracious host. We really enjoyed everything!”
Madden concluded the weekend noting, “Rutledge Farm has been a great experience. I don’t do many clinics a year because of my schedule being so full, but this has been very well-run and organized. The best part about teaching a clinic is when the sessions are evenly matched and I think they did a very good job putting evenly matched riders together, so that you’re not having to change the exercises for each rider in one group. The facility is beautiful, very user friendly and has everything that you need for a top training facility.”
Stay tuned for portions of Madden’s clinic to be available on-demand through The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Network, using the code “Rutledge19” for free fan access. To find out more information about clinics offered during this year’s Rutledge Farm Sessions, visit www.rutledgefarm.com/clinics
Click here to read about the first day’s exercises, including video demonstrations of each.
Click here to read about the exercises from the second day, including video demonstrations of each.