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2012 International Equestrian Masters Symposium A Success

Bristol, WI - First Class Horse Complex, owned by Carolyn Kakuska, hosted the inaugural International Equestrian Masters Symposium on September 8 - 9, 2012. Carolyn Kakuska, one of the Master Coaches, had decided it was time to make this dream of hers a reality, bringing the Master Coaches from all disciplines together under one roof to help teach and guide all levels of riders. Having Tribute Equine Nutrition sponsor the event, Carolyn was then able to collaborate two days’ worth of demonstrations in Western, 3 Day Eventing, Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat and Dressage. On the last day after the demonstrations were concluded, all of the Master Coaches were inducted into the International Master Equestrian Symposiums Hall of Fame.

            The Symposium kicked off with a bang with about 50 audience members and their notebooks posing ready to obtain as much information and wisdom they could as the five Master Coaches analyzed the first Western rider. Though each Master Coach stated this concept in different ways, they still had the same initial message come across: Educating riders, whether they are professionals or working moms, is important to help the rider obtain maximum potential with their horse.

            Each Master Coach had great wisdom tidbits that were explained and communicated thoroughly. The audience was not afraid to ask questions and feedback was great; the only barrier was time and needing to move on to the next demonstration. One impressive aspect of the Symposium was that not one Master Coach outshined the rest; they worked together to explain their thoughts, which in the end benefited everyone present. The Master Coaches were as follows: Carolyn Kakuska, Richard Shrake, Lynn Palm, Gayle Lampe and Denny Emerson.

            With these five Master Coaches present, everyone was able to learn something relative to their riding and riding style. A major topic that was discussed was how to fight nerves from riding both at home and in the show arena. Gayle quoted George Morris, “by figuring out if it is mental fear or physical fear; then determining which one it is will help”. Lynn suggested different breathing exercises and controlling those negative thoughts. She stated to get rid of the “I’ll try” and only think about “I’ll do”. Denny chimed in stating that “when you get nervous, you either chase or choke your eye” and the hardest thing to do is to ride in front of a crowd, which is why the latter occurs. Denny reminded the auditors that to be a good rider, from their stubby knees to under their short ribs belongs to the horse and everything else belongs to you for a good seat. Having a good seat is an essential and being part of your horse’s stride and rhythm, being separate is harmful. 

            Moving through the demonstration, the Master Coaches discussed a rule of thumb. It takes 10,000 hours to attain the master level of understanding and thought process to be a successful professional rider. When you attain this level you instead of blaming your horse for the mistake, you think of what you did wrong and how to respond to your horses need to fix the mistake. Thinking through the past action to determine how to redo your actions to get a better outcome and to understand why your horse reacted the way they did is vital for the learning process. This concept lead to the conversation that preparation is key. “Controlling the horse’s direction and speed before, during and after the obstacle allows your horse to do their job much easier”, stated by Richard. This type of preparation will allow you to go and move where you please. Lastly, Lynn chimed in with “balance is from your seat not your feet”. These topics barely brush the surface of the wisdom and information that happened at the Symposium. This is an event to attend, so continue to look out on the website for next year’s date.

The Master Coaches:

            Carolyn Kakuska is owner of First Class Horse Complex and the creator of this Symposium. She has coached numerous equitation champions, trained World and National Champion horses, has a professional appreciation for each of her students, is extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, encouraging horsewoman and has a lifetime of experience as a Coach that is time tested.

            Richard Shrake is the creator of Resistance Free® Riding and Training methods and Resistance Free® Certified Coach Program. He is a licensed judge and approved for five major horse breeds which include 16 World Championship shows. He was the number one pick by the Lexington Harold Newspaper of all Demonstrators and Lectures at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. He has done demonstrations and lectures at over 100 horse exposes in five countries.

            Lynn Palm has been teaching at clinics since 1970 and has proven since then as an all-around trainer, showman, exhibitor and entrepreneur with a first-class reputation. She has 34 Reserve and World Championships combined. She has judged AQHA World Championship Show for 1990, 2000 and 2006. She was also named 2000 AQHA Female Equestrian of the Year, 2006 AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year and 2003 Equine Affaire Exceptional Equestrian Educator. Lastly, she was also a Clinician and Entertainer at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

            Gayle Lampe for more than four decades has been the saddle seat program director at William Woods University. She holds judges’ card in nine equestrian disciplines and has judged competitions in over 40 states and over 4 countries. She has coached the U.S. Saddle Seat equitation team to a gold medal at the World Cup Competition. She is the recipient of the United Professional Horseman’s Association Equitation Instructor of the Year Award, the Missouri-Kansas Horse Person of the Year, the Distinguished Professor Award and the Audrey Gutridge Award. 

            Denny Emerson is on the 50 most influential horsemen of the Twentieth Century and is the only rider to have ever won both a gold medal in Eventing and a Tevis Buckle in Endurance. In 2006 he was inducted into the United States Eventing Association Hall of Fame. He was presented the Lifetime Master Instructor Award by the American Riding Instructor Certification Program in 1991. He was recognized by his contributions to promote safer horsemanship by receiving the inaugural Ayers-Hammett Award by the American Medical Equestrian Association.