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 Bob On The Lesson Program

Bob Wood Teaching

Bob on the lesson program 
Our riding program at the Triple Creek Farm is carried on in the military equestrian tradition.  We teach according to dressage sportif principles that originated at the French Cavalry School at Saumur France after the introduction of Caprilli’s Forward Seat concepts. These methods were later refined and applied at the U.S. Cavalry School at Fort Riley, KS.
In this traditional approach to riding instruction, classical dressage principles were applied to combat field riding, and today they are the principles of the Balanced Seat used in contemporary polo, foxhunting, mounted police work, and eventing. 

Riding in America in the 1970s saw a huge shift in emphasis toward horse shows and toward the Hunter/Jumper show seat. This show seat, while initially derived from the traditional Balanced Seat, is an abbreviated specific method of riding. The show ring is a flat surface with even footing, containing jumps that fall away when struck. In this context, the more demanding aspects of the Balanced Seat are not required. It was therefore practical for instructors like George Morris to create changes and remove elements of the full scope of the Balanced or Military Seat that was the American equestrian standard prior to the specialization of show riders.

In the more traditional equestrian sports, horses and riders face far greater requirements than show riders because of the greater variation in the challenges encountered in these sports.  For example, the show rider is required to ride and balance only on the flat plane of the show ring with its evenly raked footing. Eventers and foxhunters must, in contrast, negotiate terrain with intense slopes, with footing changes that include mud, rock, wet grass, granular shale, water and pavement, to name a few. Also, they must jump from these varied footings over solid obstacles like fences, walls, timbers, and ditches that are far less forgiving than a show jump that will break away and fall down when there is an error or accident. 


In short, the traditional equestrian sports require a greater number of skills and a wider range of techniques than are necessary for showing. Because of these differences in the required skills the Hunter/Jumper Seat is inadequate for the more challenging traditional equestrian sports, and therefore the riding student must make a greater commitment to the learning process in order to learn the full scope of the Balanced Seat.

That is why at Triple Creek Farm we say, "Riding is a sport, not a hobby."

The commitment to the traditional Balance Seat requires a higher level of physical fitness than the show seat. Riding using the Balanced Seat method is a more physical athletic activity, not a hobby. Also, because of the inherent demands and tradition, the rider must develop a mindset that is more athletic or martial in nature.

For example, at the Saumur Cavalry School there is a sign that reads, “There are no bad horses, only bad riders.” In other words, blaming the horse for failure is not permitted. The words “My Horse won’t …”, which are so commonly heard today at so many stables, are not spoken at Triple Creek Farm. Instead, the first person, “I cannot get my horse to…” are the standard.

There are other student requirements at Triple Creek Farm, like putting the horse’s well being first, cleaning up after one’s self, clear respectful communication and a constant emphasis on safety of the riders and horses in the more challenging equestrian sports. These and other standards and requirements have been established to develop riders of the highest quality with the kind of character that is part of traditional old school horsemanship.


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Triple Creek Farm
Bob Wood    941 Longs Gap Road    Carlisle PA  17013    717/243-8178    triplecreekfarm@gmail.com

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Last updated 09/03/09