January 31st marked the first ever conference like educational event – the Winter Education Symposium. This first time event had 45 in attendance and half of those were non members. The event had guest speakers such as our own member and Para Rider Cambry Kaylor and Dr. Kate Schoenhals from South Mountain equine. Cambry gave a very inspirational talk that was many participants’ favorite of the day. We all came away uplifted and inspired. Dr. Kate Schoenhals did a fantastic job educating the group on nutrition for the equine athlete and the question to supplement or not to supplement was discussed.
The Symposium had 4 breakout sessions: Jan Lawrence ran us through various exercises to loosen tight lower backs, hips and IT bands to help with pain and to increase feel in the saddle.
We also learned exercises to strengthen the core for an improved seat and came away with great handouts and a chance to purchase one of the miracle balls. Everyone loved the exercises with the miracle ball and we all felt a loosening of our tight hips and lower back muscles.
Dallas Sweat gave a great presentation on showing 101 and had a phenomenal handout to guide those new to showing.
Next was Hicks who had a powerful video and slide presentation where we learned the most important way to bring a young horse along is learning how to read the horse’s language and interpret what they are trying to convey to us and how to handle them to gain a trusting relationship. Jim’s passion for the horse and fostering the human horse connection was very powerful and spurred a lot of great discussion.
Last we had Marlo ViVenzio presenting on intro to biomechanics which was also a well liked breakout session. There were enlightening videos that demonstrated the difference in a horse’s way of going depending on the position of the rider. Seeing the research that is being done on biomechanics at the TOSH Biomechanics Research Lab was fun and fascinating as we got to see how our skeleton looks while sitting in the saddle and how our movements affect our seat bones in the saddle. It was fun to see how the skeleton videos were made and how technology is helping us understand how our bodies affect our horses.
The most unique event of the day was the panel discussion. We had Bethany Wilhelmsen, Courtnay Gray a new eventing trainer who moved to Park City from Atlanta, Jim Hicks and Jan Lawrence. We had more questions from those that participated than we ever could have expected! There was good discussion between the panel guests and it was fun and informative to see the exchange between the trainers.
There was a lot of food, fun, laughter and everyone loved the leather bound notebooks embossed with the UDS logo. We received many words of praise and thanks for offering this event as participants learned a lot.
Thank you to all our trainers who presented or were on the expert panel – we could not of done it without your support – Educate, promote, encourage and inspire!