Feb 06, 2014

Yogi Breisner Inspires at USEA ICP Symposium During Trifecta Event

Yogi Breisner coaching a rider during the Symposium. All photos by Stephen Boyer.

If one word could be used to describe Yogi Breisner, it would be ‘delightful’. But he is deserving of many more: humble, articulate, amusing, positive, insightful, brilliant, generous, disarming, visionary, and inspiring.

I was fortunate to join attendees from Chicago, Utah, Arizona, all over California and the Pacific Northwest for the Trifecta Event at Galway Downs, January 17-19, which hosted the USEA ICP Interactive Symposium with Yogi Breisner. Those of us who attended were so fortunate to be treated to his wealth of knowledge, both in theory and in practice, in all three phases of our sport.

Yogi started the day with his power point presentation which provided a mental ‘file box,’ as Judy Klus described it, in which to put all that we observed for the remainder of the weekend. He began his lecture with his coaching philosophy, acknowledging that everyone develops their own over time and experience.

His vision is to see a horse and rider combination that work together so that the horse can utilize his natural ability through the rider’s balance, seat, and feel. He views the pair as one athlete, with six legs, two arms, two brains and four eyes, and each part of the combination must be trained for the mental and physical requirements for the sport.

The riding sessions followed, he emphasized rideability: riding on a loose rein and maintaining rhythm, building a foundation by making sure the horse responds to the aids, varying the strides in all gaits, bending inside and outside. He equated dressage work to going to the gym. Riders should work on different parts of the body to create the big picture.

The jumping groups followed the building blocks of the flat work. Yogi talked about the evolution of the show jumping phase of our sport and how the modern courses require more rideability; the rider must always be able to go, stop, and turn and adjust the canter stride between short, medium and long.

He wanted the horses to be able to learn from their own mistakes, always remaining calm in the face of a problem. More than emphasizing looking for distances, he stressed that if the rider presents the horse to the jump with the proper canter, straight through its body, and stays out of its way, the horse can handle the jump.

As the cross-country session began, Yogi likened the cross-country horse to a race car with 5 gears, using the fifth gear for galloping and simple single fences. Gearing down is needed for combinations and ‘problem’ fences, but always keep the engine revved. He explained why the departure from fences is as important as the approach, as that will set the horse up for the next question.

At day’s end, when we gathered for a question and answer session, Yogi was honest and amusing but also self-critical. Even though he coaches the British Eventing Team, steeplechase riders and flat racing trainers, he was willing to tell us that he felt nervous and excited the morning of the Symposium.

The Symposium was only a part of an amazing weekend, which followed David O’Connor’s High Performance training session with the 25 and under Developing Riders. The Trifecta Event also hosted the 16th annual Galway Downs Fundraiser Eventing clinic, in which 20 Area VI instructors and 240 horses participated, taught by Pippa Funnel and Ian Stark.

The third portion of the Trifecta was the Area VI Annual Awards Banquet, which was attended by a record breaking 300 people. In addition to Silent and Live Auctions, the keynote speakers were Yogi, Pippa and Ian. It might as well have been billed The Brit’s Comedy Hour. Aside from being amusing, they were very receptive to everyone’s questions.

An enormous thank you goes to Robert Kellerhouse for making Galway Downs available for such a unique opportunity. Also, thanks to Wendy Wergeles, Bea Di Grazia, and Beth Cannon and their helpers for bringing the Symposium to the West Coast. Thanks also to the demo riders, and David O’Connor for speaking with us at the end of the day on Friday. And lastly, a huge thank you to Yogi Breisner, Pippa Funnel and Ian Stark for a weekend long to be remembered.

Sep 22, 2023 Young Event Horse

The Dutta Corporation Returns as Title Sponsor of the USEA Young Event Horse Championships

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is humbled to announce the return of long-time partner The Dutta Corporation as the “Title Sponsor of the 2023 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships,” which include the East Coast Championships at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in Elkton, Maryland, on Oct. 19-20 and the West Coast Championships at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, on Oct. 27-28.

Sep 20, 2023 Sponsor

How a Helmet Saved Silva Martin

When Team SmartPak Rider Silva Martin saddles up, it’s always with a helmet. Silva’s riding career has taken her from Germany all across the world before she settled in the United States in 2007—well before helmets were popular in dressage. When the traditional top hat ruled the dressage ring, riders often schooled in baseball caps or nothing at all.

Sep 20, 2023 Area Championships

Meet the 11 New Champions from the Area VII Championships at Aspen Farms

Aspen Farms in Yelm, Washington, served as the beautiful backdrop for this year’s USEA Area VII Championships. In total, there were 11 championship divisions offered from the Beginner Novice level through Intermediate, in addition to the event’s regular horse trial divisions. USEA President Lou Leslie was onsite to lend a helping hand and help issue awards during the prize-giving ceremonies. Meet the 11 new USEA Area VII Champions below!

Sep 19, 2023 Eventing News

In Memoriam: Mr. Medicott

The USEA is sad to report that Mr. Medicott (Cruising x Slieveluachra) passed away on September 17 at Ms. Jacqueline Mars’ Stonehall Farm in Virginia where he has enjoyed his retirement since 2019. The Irish Sport Horse gelding made quite the mark on the sport of eventing in the U.S., completing more than 50 FEI events over the course of his career with five different riders and finishing in the top 10 at 30 of those competitions. Mr. Medicott attended two Olympic Games and one World Equestrian Games for two different countries over the course of his career. “Cave,” as he was known around the barn, was 24 years old at the time of his death.

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