Lynne Jones - Stillmeadow Dressage
Dressage = Progressive Training with Compassion
Article by Ingrid Edisen

Lynne Jones riding Del Rio, a 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding.
Photo: Equigraphix

In June, Lynne Jones, who is a hands-on, experience-crafted master of dressage, conducted a clinic at the K Bar M Equestrian Center in Waring, TX, near Boerne. Jones returns to K Bar M on August 13th for another clinic.

On the day I attended, she coached a slate of riders who included Cynthia Greenwood, Jan Wrede, Pam Gouger, Helen Mehan, and Pat Parker. She held true to the dressage format that by the end of the lesson each horse should be on its way to having a new set of tools installed and be able to carry itself in better balance. Here’s some of the pithy pointers I picked up just by auditing. “Feel the back of the collar of your shirt,” she told one rider who had a tendency as almost of all of us do to slouch and hold our heads out in a sort of tortoise position. This particular rider’s horse had a tendency to run through the bridle, so she had her leg yield to the quarterline in trot (from the center line), then halt on that quarterline and turn on the forehand, and leg yield back to the centerline. In fact, the clinician had all sorts of skillful exercises up her sleeve to help riders deal with issues. She was adept at making the pairs move all over the ring in various patterns to solve any given problem. Perhaps the horse stiffened when picking up the canter on a certain side, then she advised the rider to include a pattern that made them come from a certain direction specifically designed to encourage the horse to use a particular hind leg more effectively. A couple of times she told riders that their horses were “window shopping” which meant the horse was lollygagging around the ring, not paying attention. Jones would use a diplomatic means to regain the horse’s focus. It was, I believe, her first time to work with this group of people. Wisely, she stressed regularity and rhythm.

In canter, use upwards half halts, sit a bit stronger, use your back, and think upwards with thumbs she advised at one

Lynne Jones

point. During a long line lesson, she told the owner to break segments up with periods of walk to reward the horse. Long lining is an art unto itself and Lynne obviously is well versed in the subject. During the day, she ended up handling four of the horses under long lining and explained that if done correctly, it can tune up a horse even in a matter of a couple of days so that suddenly it’s as if you have power steering and brakes on your steed. Within less than a couple of minutes she had one horse understanding that if she simply raised her arm with the long line connected to the outside of the bit ring, he was to canter. She mentioned that by doing so as the inside hind leg went forward, the horse would step under more. This encourages better balance in and of itself. While long lining the person on the ground can briefly jog more or less in place as the horse travels on a circle Later the handler can segue this jogging in place to running along with the horse as more sophisticated exercises are requested of the horse. By then the horse will not be so anxious about such behavior from the trainer and horses learn better if they are not tense, Lynne reminded us.

Karen Kott explained that she and Pam Gouger had trailered over and taken annual weeklong training “vacations” at Lynne’s facility in Carrizo Springs, TX. Karen asked Lynne to onduct a clinic at K Bar M to introduce more hill country riders to the high quality of Lynne’s instruction. It turns out that Lynne and her husband have chosen Carrizo Springs as their base and home for the sixteen horses she currently owns, including her retired FEI horse. However, none of these are lesson horses but mostly horses Lynne has in various stages of training.

Lynne on Illustrious, a 6-year-old Trakehner gelding.

When asked how she got involved with horses in the first place, Lynne, who hails from the Miami area, explained that she was “infected” with the horse bug very early after a pony ride as a child. From there she began taking lessons as a six year old from a neighbor who just happened to have a Saddlebred gelding and a wide breadth of knowledge that the older teacher imparted on her young student. As a child, Lynne had to learn which footfalls sequences the horse used to make the gaits of walk, trot, canter and other fairly sophisticated information—including the then American Horse Show Association (AHSA) rules.

She turned pro in 1977, she said, and became involved in “what was the USDF’s Instructors’ Training Program at the time and the AHSA’s Dressage Judges training program as well.” She credits Karin Schluter, the German National Champion back in the ‘70’s and Olympic Gold Medalist, as one big influence on her dressage training. Sweden’s Major Anders Lindgren was another.

Before she retired one of her FEI horses, Atlanta, he gave her the ride of a lifetime in the show ring towards the end of his career. After years of partnering with the horse, Lynne discovered that “When we ‘danced’ together, he knew what I thought and I knew what he thought.”

Lynne maintains a sense of focused humor while giving lessons. To witness her teaching, with her slim frame, blond hair

 

Lynne on her now retired, TB gelding, Atlanta practicing two-tempis.

and twinkling eyes, one wonders if she is able to “handle” any moments of roughness. One participant’s horse did become a bit of a brute during the day’s lesson so Lynne showed the owner how to deal with the problem with a safe measure of long lining. She discussed quite knowledgeably what the person should do in the future with the horse. Never once did she lose her temper or raise her voice.

To learn more about participating or auditing Lynne’s clinics, such as the August 13th clinic at K Bar M Equestrian Center, call her at (830) 374-9691 or email her at lynne@hilconet.com. Her farm’s website is www.stillmeadowdressage.com. Karen Kott offers clinics and seminars in many different disciplines at K Bar M Equestrian Center - to view the facility’s calendar, refer to www.kbarmequestrian.com.


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