BY TPH INTERN EMMY DOLIN

Hosting their inaugural clinic event, Legacy River Equestrian Center in Sugar Grove, IL  created an atmosphere of learning, techniques and fun.

With the help of longtime trainer, R-rated judge and professional rider, John Berkos, clinician Matt Cyphert of Woodhill Farm in Northlake, TX delivered a two-day, action packed, clinic. Held on December 2nd – 3rd, 2017 with four classes per day, the exercises and instruction educated every level of rider, for both jumpers and hunters alike.

Photo courtesy of Abby Barkley

With two groups of 2’6” and under classes, a third group of 3’-3’3” and a final group of 3’6” and (way) higher, Cyphert demonstrated his teaching range. Cyphert focused on being straight over the fences, leads on the backside, stride work, and more. Taking an interest in both the riders and their mounts, he went on to say, “I was impressed. Everyone was very well mounted. Everyone worked hard and tackled the exercises with a lot of determination. It’s fun working with people that try so hard and have good attitudes.”

My equine partner, Harvey and I participated in the 3’-3’3” group and felt challenged, yet assured by Cyphert’s calm and collected instruction. Abygale Green of Platinum Farm took part in the 2”6” group on her mount, Impression, and “…really liked doing and jumping new things.”

Emmy Dolin and her horse Harlem Shake train with John Berkos at Legacy River Equestrian Center, Sugar Grove IL. Photo courtesy of Abby Barkley

Hosting its first ever clinic, Legacy River Equestrian Center shined. “This facility is state of the art. In fact, I’m in the process of designing my own new facility (in Texas) and Legacy River brought many new ideas to me that I can look back on,” Cyphert said of the exquisite equestrian center. He was not the only participant to notice the facility. The horses enjoyed hay filled stalls, while both riders and auditors were treated equally well by Dorothy Flisk, proprietor and rider, and her attentive staff. The event was co-sponsored by and supported with retail opportunities by a variety of equine companies; SmartPak, CWD, Unbridled Equine, LLC, The Infused Equestrian and Stanbridge Master Saddles. Each day, lunch was sponsored and catered to participants hungry from all their learning.

Legacy River Equestrian Center, Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Matt Cyphert is an accomplished rider, trainer and facilitator. A two-time “National Horse of the Year” Winner (1st year green in 2006 and Older Large Junior Hunter in 2011), Cyphert displayed all his experience and expertise throughout the 2-day event. As a long time Chef d’Equipe for Zone 7 at the North American Young Riders Championship as well as Prix des States competition at the Pennsylvania National, he was able to relate to the clinicians. Participating in the last group (and jumping well over 1.4 meters), professional rider, Rebecca Lannoye with Blue Mountain Farm in Wayne, IL, “…loved how Matt was super patient and worked on each horse.” Shae Lally, trained by John Berkos and participating in the clinic, also added “I liked how he used various techniques with the different group sessions depending on their level.”

Matt Cyphert teaches Rebecca Lannoye, Photo courtesy of Abby Barkley

This stellar clinic was an amazing experience for everyone involved, and riders of all skill levels have much to benefit from future events offered by Legacy River Equestrian Center.

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