The Foundation for Classical Horsemanship
A 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization
Pas de Deux: Susannah Cord on the grey Lusitano Loxley and Holly Hansen on the bay PRE Amarante perform at the Foundation's Third Classical Symposium.
Foundation President Holly Hansen presents a classic half pass on her Lusitano stallion Obtuso (above) and shows a progression of lateral exercises including shoulder-in and haunches-in on the bay PRE Amarante (below).
Loxley performs piaffe in hand (above) while Talento shows work on the caveson in long lines before demonstrating the importance of correct saddle fit under Sue Ann Then (below).
EMT Susan Gasperson demonstrates equine body work with the bay Lusitano gelding Adonis (below). Susannah Cord reflects on a session well done in her first official performance as a rider for the Foundation (above), while veterans Holly Hansen and Obtuso share an appreciative moment together (below right).
Celebrating its five-year anniversary, The Foundation for Classical Horsemanship presented its third Classical Symposium May 20, 2012 at its new headquarters in Columbus, North Carolina.
Generously sponsored this year by HH Classical Training, the symposium took place in the lovely covered arena with magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Classical guitarist Amy Brucksch accompanied the festivities throughout the day, which began with a lecture on the history of classical equitation, with emphasis on the French tradition and the prevalence of Spanish and Portuguese horses, by Master of Ceremonies Stephanie Millham. After the lecture, mounted work began with the four-year-old Lusitano filly Distinta who had been under saddle a little over a month.
The filly, owned by Theresa Knippel, gave a demonstration of quiet longeing and beginning free, forward movement under saddle with Foundation President Holly Hansen. Following her work, Holly returned with the six-year-old buckskin Lusitano stallion Caramuru, owned by Elsie Woodward, showing slightly more advanced work with a young horse both in hand and under saddle, also focusing on balance and lightness at this stage.
Three horses demonstrating various stages of work in hand and on long lines followed, and shortly afterward the horse used for the long-lining demo returned for a saddle-fitting explanation with Larry Large of the Lauriche Saddle & Bridle Co. The importance of a correctly fitting saddle for both horse and rider became obviously apparent as Larry worked with the Lusitano gelding Talento and his owner Sue Ann Then.
Holly and another volunteer rider for the Foundation, Susannah Cord, then presented a pas de deux schooling session showing more advanced exercises. Riding Sandy Cooper's eight-year-old bay PRE, Amarante, Holly presented the daily program of lateral work and canter exercises used to advance a mid-level horse. Susannah, who flew in from Texas at the last minute, demonstrated that a well-trained classical horse and rider really do speak the same language of the aids. Riding the 21-year-old Lusitano Loxley, a horse she had never ridden before the weekend, she demonstrated most of the same lateral movements used to keep an older schoolmaster supple, interspersed with stretching exercises and more collected school trot and canter, including soft passage. As Loxley had already wowed the crowd with his classic piaffe in hand, it was a banner day for the Foundation's beloved old "Professeur."
Next on the agenda was a session of body work for the horse presented by a certified equine sports massage therapist. Susan Gasperson gave an in-depth lecture on therapies for sports injuries as well as a fascinating hands-on demo with Nichole Charlton's seven-year-old Lusitano gelding Adonis. Mounted demonstrations concluded with Holly presenting her 18-year-old Lusitano stallion Obtuso in an FEI level solo ride, followed by a wine and cheese reception. Thanks to all the volunteers, riders and presenters, especially Sharon Packer, whose lovely photographs captured the ambiance of the day, and Nancy Young and helpers, whose hospitality booth kept everything flowing smoothly.