Elgin’s Caraway Connemara Farms Hosts Equestrian Clinic

Ride With Your Mind coach Jennifer Derksen shared her innovative method with local riders.

Emily Southwood emily.southwood@gmail.com
Publié le 20 septembre 2016

Jennifer Derksen and Hilary Lecluse.

©Dianne Crane

Over August 20th and 21st., a group of equestrians gathered at Caraway Connemara Farms in Elgin for a two-day riding clinic with Jennifer Derksen.

Riders of different ages and riding experiences took the opportunity to learn from the accomplished instructor who is one of only two certified Ride With Your Mind (RWYM) coaches in Canada. Riders from Elgin, Godmanchester, Rigaud, Montreal and Vermont participated in (and audited) a series of lessons over two days and came away with new perspectives on their riding techniques.

Jennifer Derksen started riding as an adult and was discouraged by traditional teaching methods. “I was not a 'natural' rider,” she explains, “and although my instructors tried, they did not have the tools to break down riding skills to the point where I could understand what to do to get my body to cooperate.” She then discovered Mary Wanless of the UK who created the RWYM method of coaching in order to break down the skill of riding into manageable bite size chunks of information and rapidly improve a rider’s ability. “My skills skyrocketed,” Jennifer says. She has now studied intensively with Mary and works as an RWYM instructor, alongside her other career as an RCMP officer.

Jennifer provided participants at the Caraway Clinic with lots of visual and visceral descriptions such as, "think of your thighs feeling like wet towels contacting the saddle," or, "imagine carrying hand weights," in order to keep the proper bend in their elbows. The RWYM method focuses on the study of biomechanics, which Jennifer explains as the study of both internal and external forces acting on our body and the effects of those forces. She breaks it down:

“In horse back riding the horse, as a 1200lb animal, exerts tremendous forces on the rider’s body. In order to counteract those forces, the rider must organize her body to have the appearance of 'sitting still'. The intent is to teach a rider how to put her body in the optimum position to resist the forces exerted on her by the horse. As the rider learns to organize her body effectively, she has a positive influence on her horse and he reflects this organization and begins to lift his back and reach into the contact.”

Caraway Connemara Farms in Elgin, run by Christine Carey and Hilary Lecluse, is slotted to host another exciting Derksen clinic this coming October. For more information contact Hilary at 450-369-0735. For more information on Jennifer Derksen and the RWYM method see www.theridermechanic.com and www.mary-wanless.com/