Instructors from around Ireland attended a training day with Yogi Breisner focusing on assimilated cross country coaching hosted at Gurteen Agricultural College and organised by the Irish Pony Club.
In the morning classroom session there were three speakers. Irish Pony Club instructor and chief-examiner Derval Diamond discussed the changes which have taken place in eventing since the sport began. Diamond touched on a number of relevant issues for instructors including safety within the sport. This was also something mentioned by Breisner when he spoke at the end of the morning session. Breisner’s presentation focused on horse and rider fitness. A key point he highlighted was the need to plan for the individual.
Local secondary school teacher and deputy principle Dermot Brislane was the second speaker of the day. Brislane drew on his own experiences in dealing with young people and talked through a number of the issues facing both coaches and young people in todays society. He emphasised the importance of young people making their own decisions and taking responsibility for themselves.
Yogi Breisner gave four practical sessions in the afternoon and evening. The sessions were very well attended with over 60 coaches filling the gallery of the indoor arena. In each of the sessions there was a variety of horses giving the audience a very real idea of how to coach a more mixed group.
The sessions linked very well together. The aim of the first two sessions was to improve the riders position and balance riding cross country, and in the second two sessions the focus was on jumping more technical cross country fences in an assimilated environment. Through-out all of the practical session Breisner gave the audience a number of exercises that are suitable for teaching pony club groups.
The day was very well received and the instructors were delighted to learn from Breisner’s expertise and all left feeling ready for the bust season of coaching ahead.
Jennifer Micklem Diamond