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Responsible Riding

Kimmie Lull, Staff Writer

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Head Trainer Jim Hagman always strives to promote not only excellence inside the arena, teaching the correct principles of riding and showing, but also advanced knowledge of the complete sport of horseback riding. Jim is part of many horse committees including the United States Equestrian Federation Breed and Discipline member board. He wants to continue to influence and help shape the sport we all love, so he continues to be involved as much as possible.

“Riders today don’t know the rules,” he began. “It’s up to them to know and remember what tack is and isn’t allowed in what classes and to be on top of it.” Even though many competitive riders are members of several horseshow associations, it’s important to know the basic tack rules for hunter and equitation classes and to be sure your own horse is outfitted properly for the class you will be competing in. It’s these simple little details like checking your tack before you mount up that make a huge difference. “Every rider has to be responsible for themselves and getting into the arena with the correct equipment. If you don’t know the rules, just ask,” says Jim.

“I was surprised with the riding I saw at these top Equitation Finals. Some of the kids were struggling to even get their horses to canter properly,” Jim continued. He stressed the importance of drive and passion. “That’s the root of all successful athletes. It’s so much easier for people to learn now. You have access to more information than you know what to do with and it’s all at your fingertips.” Jim would love to see more motivated riders using the resources that we are so privileged to have access to and watch videos of top competitors. “I’m an excellent student because I never stopped learning.” Jim wants to inspire all his students to take their riding education into their own hands and absorb as much information as they can from trainers, other riders, and independent research.

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