International eventer Daryl Kinney has produced several horses from unbroke to Advanced through patient, systematic training with an emphasis on education. With a commitment to a positive, confidence-building approach, Kinney demonstrates that with horses, hard work and patience go a long way towards achieving one’s goals.
Shortly after she earned the final scores for her USDF Bronze Medal aboard her Advanced partner Rosie’s Girl, Kinney carved out some time to chat with STRIDER about the value of experience and confidence, invaluable a-ha moments, and more.
Three years ago, Kinney struck out on her own in North Carolina after 10 years at Tamarack Hill Farm working alongside famed eventer and former USEA President Denny Emerson. A sought-after clinician, Kinney travels frequently to teach horses and riders of all levels nationwide.
“My clinic schedule has built and built, and my regular lessons have done the same. I really like the feedback, it gives me the confidence to keep going and trying.”
“It’s been really fun to see the quality of riding all over the country. Seeing different horses and riders is always interesting, and getting to know different trainers in different states- the networking aspect of teaching clinics is really cool,” Kinney tells STRIDER.
“I hope that my students leave a clinic with at least one thing: it might be a small piece of the puzzle, or an a-ha moment. I know in my own riding I’ve had those moments where someone has said something to me a million times, and then I hear it from a different voice in slightly different terms and suddenly it makes sense.”
“I try very hard to make sure everybody learns something, and I am communicating in a way that makes it so that they can learn. It’s all well and good to jump big jumps and have fun, but more important to provide a piece of information riders can take and work on in the future. I like my students to leave with something they can recreate.”
Positive experiences and exercises that build confidence are paramount to Kinney’s teaching philosophy, as is an open dialogue between instructor and student.
“Communication is so important, that way I can really break down certain concepts and then we can build up confidence.”
“I tell people right at the beginning: if there is something I tell you to do that you’re not comfortable with you have to tell me. If it’s my first time teaching you in a clinic I don’t know you or your horse and I want to create comfortable situations.”
Students in Kinney’s clinics are exposed to the key building blocks of her training program that she has carefully developed over time through her own experiences and with the guidance of a great village.
Kinney attended Johnson & Wales University, during which time she balanced three jobs and rode with Tom and Joan Davis at Flatlands Equestrian Center.
“I have always been someone who takes on more than I should,” Kinney admits. “I’ve never been very worried about how many hours of the day I am working or putting in the extra work… for better or for worse!”
“[Tom and Joan] were really incredible to me, they connected me with Denny [Emerson] and really helped my education for eventing. Growing up in Michigan I had mostly done dressage, but they helped me to get going and competing more than I was before.”
Patience and diligence have paid off for Kinney. Her commitment to learning has provided a solid foundation for her teaching and training program.
“My time with Denny was an education in every piece of horsemanship and life in general,” Kinney says.
“People want fresh and new all the time, and that little bit of immediate gratification. But that’s not horses at all.”
“You get it in your head that you need to go out on your own a lot sooner than you should. I’m not sure that everyone would have supported the decision to stay with Denny for so long, they might have suggested that I needed to go somewhere else and get other experiences but being there for 10 years, I really learned Denny’s whole program. How he operates and trains horses and people. I know that so well because I stuck with it.”
“It’s important to know a system and feel really confident in that system. The years I spent with Denny, my experience in college; everything set me up with confidence- I understood the system I was familiar with to train a horse.”
“I am always open to other opinions and insights and will always ask for help if I can’t figure something out . . . it’s important to have people to ask questions of, or to bounce ideas off of.”
A believer in setting goals at any level, Kinney believes that a little bit of try can go a long way with horses.
“There’s no guarantee you’ll make it in this industry. But if you don’t try- you guarantee you won’t.”
Find & easily click-to-enter opportunities to learn from Daryl Kinney in an upcoming clinic at www.striderpro.com/calendar. For more details on Daryl Kinney Eventing, connect with her program on Facebook.
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