Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching a clinic taught by Arthur Kottas at Contessa Riding Centre. I had never seen Kottas teach before but having read his books I was really looking forward to the chance to see him so close to home. I was not disappointed. It was such an interesting clinic. There were a real variety of horses and riders, all of whom showed an improvement during their lesson. Non of the horse and rider combinations were known to me so I do not know how their lesson yesterday compared to their usual work but they all improved from the start of the lesson.
Kottas emphasised throughout the clinic that the most important thing was to be a thinking rider. To feel what your horse needed you to do and then work with him as your partner. If you made a bad transition for example then it was of course the riders fault and the horse should not be punished for this but rather just corrected by the rider redoing the transition more thoughtfully. He encouraged all of the riders to keep working on themselves to improve their seats as a well balanced and controlled seat is the key to good riding. Kottas worked on getting the riders to feel the correct moment to ask for a transition and correcting the placement of the aids to achieve smoother transitions, especially with the canter. There were many other things Kottas worked on with his riders and I could go on all day about how much I enjoyed watching him teach! I hope I will get to watch another one of his clinics soon.