The pressure of a Nations Cup was dissected by one of the best on the third and final day of the George H. Morris Horsemastership Session in Wellington, Florida on January 7, 2017. The 12 participants in this year’s clinic were led by Team USA veteran Laura Kraut and coached by either Beezie Madden, Anne Kursinski, or Lauren Hough.

With mentors of that kind of caliber watching from the rail, it was nothing less than a requirement to ride your best in this mock Nations Cup competition, held at the PBIEC’s Global Dressage Festival showgrounds.

Kraut stepped into the arena to meet each rider as they pulled their horse up after their round and, microphone in hand, analyzed each approach, jump, and decision.

Read on for just a few of the highlights from Kraut’s feedback, and check out the broadcast of the 2017 GHM Horsemastership Session in its entirety on USEFNetwork.com.

1. If you have a bad warmup, go in the ring and ride like your horse is going to perform well, and don’t give up.

2. Put pressure on yourself to get rid of time faults early. Don’t be slow from fence one to two. Even if the jumps are well ridden, the time can be a killer in a Nations Cup, and that can mean the difference between winning and losing.

3. Sometimes your balance is good, you’re straight and your horse still runs out on you. If that happens, don’t lose your focus. Know that you’re running out of horse, and fight for those last few fences. Hold your horse together.

4. It’s never an option to not come back in the second round. It’s not about what you look like, it’s about getting in and learning. You don’t give up. Ride to the fence like you want to clear it.

5. Circling is never an option unless death is staring you in the face. Do not circle in front of a fence. Do not circle ever, ever.

6. You need impulsion. The distance you create from not having a lot of impulsion is a deep, dead distance. If you get that feeling, do something—kick, pony kick, yell, scream! Do something.

7. The more you are quiet and ride nicely, the better your horse jumps. You can get determined without being rough and unsympathetic.

8. Don’t ride your way into a problem. Recognize it and fix it, handle it when you can make the correction before it’s too late.

Beezie’s Building Blocks at the GHM Horsemastership Session [NF Style]

“Anne-isms” at the 2017 GHM Horsemastership Session [NF Style]