Review of Lecture/Demonstration on Musical Freestyles: Expression and Design

The weather could not have been better. There was bright sun, a light breeze, and 72 degrees for our first lecture demo of the year. We broke the afternoon into three sections. In the first section, Paul gave a brief overview of the history of riding to music. Ashley Booher (clarinet and bass clarinet of the Washington National Orchstra and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra) then brought out her clarinet  and played Bach and Mozart as Rose rode her Grand Prix horse Sparrow. The sound was incredibly beautiful in the indoor arena. We had choreographed some simple routines showing the difference between riding interpretively with music versus riding simply to the beat of the music. There was plenty of time for audience questions and feedback.

In the next section, Rose rode a younger horse. We used a metronome to show the rider’s responsibility to be able to stay on tempo through patterns, extensions and collections. We then discussed creative possibilities, degrees of difficulty, and possible patterns.

After a short intermission with refreshments in the barn, we presented the third and final segment which consisted of advice for preparing a complete freestyle, costs, and various arrangements in design and selecting music. Erin Bonneville kindly presented her finished musical freestyle with her FEI horse Nigel whom she competed at Intermediare 1 and 2 last year. There were lots of good questions and feedback with many eager to return for our next lecture/demo on May 19, Developing An Effective Practice.We now have online sign-up available at on this page.