Ever wonder what the pros see when they're out walking cross-country? In the Ride Between the Flags series, riders walk us through their approach to tackling different cross-country questions. Area IX rider, coach, and trainer Lindsay Wagner walks us through the Preliminary level coffin at the Golden Spike Horse Trials.
A combination that can be found on almost every cross-country course starting at the Novice level is the coffin combination. As the levels go up, so does the difficulty of the coffin question. The distances become shorter, coffins become bigger, and the terrain becomes steeper - even the name itself sounds intimidating. At the Golden Spike Horse Trials in Ogden, Utah, Lindsay Wagner describes how to ride between the flags for the Preliminary coffin combination, 18abc.
“When riding coffin combinations, riders should think about compressing the horse and changing the balance from an open gallop to a bouncy, uphill canter,” said Wagner.
For the Preliminary coffin at the Golden Spike Horse Trials, Wagner explained, “You come across the racetrack into the infield and you have to really balance your horse and get them back to a coffin canter. The A element is a hanging log, B is the ditch, and C is another hanging log. It’s a punchy one stride to a forward two stride,” said Wagner. For Wagner, she describes ‘punchy’ as an uphill, shorter, more compressed, bouncy canter.
“The bright color of the ditch could potentially startle some horses. Ditches already pull horses and riders eye down to it, so make sure you’re looking at your line, staying a little behind the motion, and down in your seat.”
Terrain is seen on every cross-country course and Wagner explained the terrain on 18abc. “It’s an uphill approach but after you jump the first log, it’s downhill to the one stride and then you climb back up to a nice 36 foot, uphill two stride.”
A ‘coffin canter’ or what Wagner considers a ‘punchy canter’ is a canter well-known to eventers and helps make coffin combinations ride smoothly and safely. Watch Wagner’s student, Rosie Smith expertly guide her horse, Seamus, through the Preliminary coffin combination at Golden Spike Horse Trials.
About Lindsay Wagner
The Area IX eventer, Lindsay Wagner is an experienced upper level eventer, trainer, and coach. Spending years on the East Coast competing at the Advanced level, Wagner has learned from some of the greatest names in the sport including Torrance Watkins and Karen and David O’Connor. Moving back to her home state in 2006, Wagner bases her program out of Park City, Utah where she rides, teaches, and trains horses and students of all levels.
Five-star eventer Kim Severson taught a show jumping clinic in January at Milestone Sport Horses in Lovettsville, Virginia where she instructed riders on the importance of forward riding for successful jumping. In this exercise, which Severson progressively adds additional pieces to, riders are instructed to focus on the quality of their canter.
On Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Central time, join Eric Dierks for a live stream interview with David O'Connor. David was an alternate for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and riding Wilton Fair, was part of the U.S. team at the 1990 World Equestrian Games, where he placed 35th individually and the team finished fourth.
Billy Jackson was introduced to horses at a young age through his local 4-H program. “One of my mom's close friends was a large animal vet and she really encouraged me to stay with it,” Jackson said. As an adult, he is a Marketing Project Manager, and when he’s not at work, he’s a lower level eventer based at Poplar Place Farm.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.