Seminar designed to help riders meet 2019 goals Saturday

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Many riders find themselves challenged when it comes to setting and succeeding at their riding goals.

On Saturday, ReRide Consignment Tack in Columbus will host a free New Year’s Riding Resolutions seminar to help riders succeed in their 2019 goals. While it is easy to say, “I want to take my dressage ride to the next level,” “get out on the trails” or simply want to feel safe riding outside the ring, often making such goals happen can be difficult and challenging, seminar organizers said.

Saturday’s seminar will address three areas in which riders can find support toward realizing their goals.

Seminar presenters will include nationally qualified instructor, licensed trainer, author and equine consultant Catherine Hunter and certified advanced equine structural integrator and nationally certified equine massage therapist Kelly Snyder, of Equine Freedom Solutions. Wellness movement specialist and performance enhancement trainer Brian Schwager will join in the presentation to show riders a comprehensive program of readying themselves and their horses for the coming year.

As a former police horse trainer, who also served as a professional whipper-in and is the “Peace Rider” who rode from South Carolina to ground zero in New York City, Hunter will speak about the changes in riding and training techniques during the last 40 to 50 years. She said these significant changes in our horsemanship have become so geared toward the show ring, many instructors have lost touch with traditional training techniques designed for successful riding outside the ring.

“The show ring has become our measure of success,” Hunter said. “The focus of our riding and training techniques have shifted from preserving the horse’s health, soundness and well-being above all, to winning at all costs.”

Snyder, who is also an North Carolina licensed massage and bodywork therapist and a saddle fitter for Pegasus Saddles, said, “as we rush our horses to the show ring, essential training steps can easily be overlooked causing pain, dysfunction and decreased performance.”

“If the horse is in pain, he cannot hear the rider, much less respond correctly or safely,” she said. She added that proper massage and structural body work helps bring the horse back into alignment so it experiences less pain, more mobility, increased health and is better capable of performing.

Schwager, who founded the Wellness Movement Center in Asheville, said equestrians are athletes and need to care for their bodies as such.

“Any pain, restricted movement or imbalances the rider is experiencing will immediately transfer to the horse,” he said.

In addition to helping riders become more functional, Schwager can also help riders reduce the risk of injury either from a former injury or from an imbalance.

The free seminar is from 1 to 5 p.m. at ReRide Consignment Tack, 6431 North Carolina Highway 9, Columbus. Those interested in learning more may call Catherine Hunter, 828-505-9221, or Kelly Snyder, 828-665-2589.

– Submitted by Catherine Hunter