Tori Colvin Clinic — Adjustability on Course

© Rebecca Walton: Tori Colvin Clinic - teaching group 2Tori Colvin Teaching During Day Two of Clinic

The Plains, Va. – Nov. 20, 2016 – The second day of the Tori Colvin clinic at the Beverly Equestrian Center kicked off at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning as the first group of riders returned to learn what makes the young phenom so successful in the show ring. To get to the highest levels of the sport, riders must have solid basics on the flat and over fences. On Sunday, Colvin focused on helping the riders achieve adjustability with their mounts during the flat section and over the day’s fun but challenging course.

The first thing Colvin did after greeting the riders was ask them to drop their stirrups at the walk, where they worked on learning the haunches in. After warming up at the walk, the riders continued without their irons in the sitting trot, where Colvin once again took time to help riders perfect their hand carriage. She also asked riders to maintain energy during their sitting trot – staying slow without losing impulsion.

© Rebecca Walton: Tori Colvin Clinic - teaching
As riders returned to the walk, Colvin once again stressed the importance of making successful transitions and asked riders to keep their leg on while making the downward transition. They then picked up their irons to begin working at the posting trot, where they focused on keeping their mounts supple by lengthening their stride on the long side and collecting their stride on the short side.

The next exercise was a four-loop serpentine at the trot. While making the loops through the ring, riders had to sit the trot through the middle and post while making the bend through the turn. After making a serpentine in both directions, riders once again focused on transitions, picking up the trot, and then halting for six seconds, backing up four strides and moving right into the walk. Riders then had to work on picking up the canter directly from the walk without trotting.

© Rebecca Walton: Tori Colvin Clinic - serpentine Riders completing the serpentine with Tori Colvin’s guidance

Once the riders were working in the canter, they had to once again showcase lengthening and collecting of stride, before moving on to lead changes. During the lead changes, Colvin wanted each rider to focus on making their mounts wait for their signal, rather than anticipating and getting the lead change too early. Colvin was quick to point out that a horse that gets its changes too early will often ending up swapping in front of the fences later on.

After everyone successfully completed lead changes on both leads, riders had to make circles at the canter, giving and taking with their inside rein to improve their horses suppleness, which would be key as they advanced to the jumping portion of the day.

To warm-up, riders began over a single vertical set on the diagonal, beginning with an inside turn off of the right lead, before turning left and making another inside turn to jump the same vertical the same direction, eventually making a small figure eight. Riders were encouraged to look for the deep distance over the small fence from a short turn, keeping their horses collected, and then landing and looking through the next turn.

© Rebecca Walton: Tori Colvin Clinic - course

Riders began practicing over the course next, which Colvin wanted to “make it fun, but still pretty hard.” Riders had to focus on keeping a strong connection with their horses so they could make adjustments throughout as the striding for each line changed. The transitions from the flatwork were key to successfully completing the course.

The course began with a single vertical  off the right lead and riders then cantered to the end of the ring before jumping a fence set at the end of the ring off a short turn from the left lead. They then had to collect for a six stride bending line, jumping into a direct six stride line that could get short if riders came in too forward. They then came around to the most difficult line of the course – a long five stride line to a very tight four stride line. Finally, riders hand galloped an oxer set diagonally through the middle of the ring before collecting for the final vertical on the short side of the ring and halting directly after the fence.

During the hand gallop, riders had to get the pace but keep the connection, and then collect but keep leg for the final fence. The second line proved to be the most difficult for the riders, as they had to keep enough impulsion to the first fence to make the long five strides to the oxer, before very quickly collecting their mounts again to make the four strides fit. The course forced riders to use their eyes, and use the adjustability they worked on during the flat phase to their advantage.

After working through the challenges of the track, all of the riders successfully completed the course, leaving the clinic with a better understanding of how to keep their mounts focused and supple and better prepared for the adjustability that many courses require.

Colvin gave an excellent first clinic of her career, leaving riders and auditors with a better understanding of how she tackles the different courses she shows over and how she deals with different horses’ personalities. She carefully explained the importance of each exercise and helped riders learn from their mistakes and improve their skills in the ring, leaving everyone with a sense of accomplishment.

© Rebecca Walton: Tori Colvin Clinic - AutographTori Colvin signing autographs for auditors


© Rebecca Walton: Tori Colvin ClinicTori Colvin teaching her first clinic.

The Plains, Va. – Nov. 19, 2016 – During her time as a junior rider, Tori Colvin’s name became synonymous with winning. In 2016, Colvin made the move from junior to professional, and this weekend Colvin began passing along her knowledge to the next generation of riders. At just 19 years old, she hosted the first clinic of her career at the Beverly Equestrian Center in The Plains, Virginia, where she taught three sections of riders.

© Rebecca Walton: Tori Colvin ClinicHaving ridden with many of the very best in the sport including George Morris, Andre Dignelli and Scott Stewart, Colvin processes a solid foundation in the fundamentals of equitation and horsemanship. She began each section with a focus on flatwork and transitions, stressing the importance of keeping a connection with the horse.

Riders began at the walk, and even at the more relaxed gait Colvin discussed the importance of energy, impulsion and straightness. For horses that wanted to resist their riders, Colvin explained “the higher his head, the higher your hands are.”

Colvin also remarked on the importance of using leg in every transition, whether it’s downward or upward, “leg is everything.” During the sitting trot, Colvin required riders to sit deep in the saddle with a strong back. As the riders continued trotting they added circles at intervals.

In regards to position, riders were often asked to focus on their hand carriage, which was consistently too low, and one rider was asked to sit forward in the saddle as Colvin added, “I want you to feel like you look ridiculous,” as she stressed the importance of different feeling.

For horses that wanted to root or rush transitions, Colvin noted that the horse needs to be listening to the rider at all times. She also did not want the riders rushing the transition stating, “Don’t do it until you know are going to do it right.”

A gymnastic was setup next with a bounce followed by five strides to another bounce. The bounce began as poles and riders were asked to do the add six strides, and once the poles were done correctly the bounces were small verticals.

The next exercise was two bending lines set as an S, which would normally ride as a six stride to a five stride, where the first group of riders was asked to add one stride, and the second group needed to added two strides.

Colvin explained that the importance of this exercise to prepare the riders for the course they will ride on Sunday. It requires them to lengthen and shorten, keeping the horse ready and listening to the aids. Colvin added, “It tunes your eye up to find the jump and get the job done.” At the end of the first section, Colvin then added two single verticals set in the middle of the ring. As they worked through the exercise riders had to focus on collecting themselves and their horses to make the lines ride correctly as the jumps came up quickly.

Each rider completed the exercise successfully and are prepared for Sunday’s clinic, where there will once again be a focus on developing the skills that were worked on Saturday and transitioning to completing a full course.

For more information about the Beverly Equestrian Center and the clinic with Tori Colvin please visit

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