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October 06, 2008

The Naked Truth of Riding Symposium
Two Days of Groundbreaking Information
October 25 & 26, 2008
Houston, Texas
Featuring Mary Wanless, BSc, BHSI, FRSA; Dr. Hillary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS and Heather Blitz, Grand Prix Competitor

There will be a catered lunch both days.


Dr. Hilary Clayton can only be with us on Saturday, so much of this first day will be dedicated to presentations of her findings. Dr. Clayton is well known for her research at the McPhail Centre at Michigan State University, where she investigates the factors that contribute to lameness in dressage horses. She has regularly shared her findings in the articles she writes for 'USDF Connection'. Hilary is renowned for her clear, entertaining style, and her wonderful graphics, which make complex concepts easily understandable to the concerned layman. She makes the practical implications of her findings very clear, enabling riders and owners to make more informed choices about how they buy, keep and ride their horses. Her research has ranged from the biomechanics of the stride, especially in collection and the advanced movements, to break-over, and the importance of foot balance. For good measure add saddling and saddle pressure, rein tension, rider biomechanics, and footing. Whatever your question, Hilary has the most informed and accessible answer you could wish for!

We know you will also want to see some horses, so Mary Wanless will give an introductory session in rider biomechanics, which will show you how to look at the rider/horse interaction through her eyes. By comparing the riding styles of four demonstration riders we will show how some of their patterns make the rider more or less effective. This effectiveness is based on the ability to "say it in the language 'horse?'". Horses cannot help but read - and therefore react to - the placement of your centre of gravity. Equally important are your asymmetry, your tone (stillness) or wobbliness, and all of your other quirks. In fact, the horse reads your body so well that he knows you better than you know yourself! He instinctively develops his evasive system around your weaknesses - no one has to show him how to do that - though unwittingly, of course, this is precisely what your riding has done!

A small amount of change to the riders will, we hope, show you how potent correct biomechanics can be. And if that does not convince you, international Grand Prix rider Heather Blitz will ride one or two of the horses, and show us how her exemplary biomechanics can work its magic on them. Her commentary, coupled with Mary's insights, makes a potent mix that will reveal some of the hidden secrets of the world's best riders.

Heather is the 'model' in Mary Wanless's new book 'Ride With Your Mind Clinic', and Mary has coached her for the last fourteen years. Best known for her partnerships with Arabella and her current international Grand Prix horse Otto, she has had the good fortune to be able to combine natural talent with the explicit learning of biomechanical skills. She is one of the first in a new generation of riders!


We will kick off with some easy-to-understand theory about learning, which makes it clear why we all struggle to do the things we know we ought to be doing! It also shows the way out of the traps that beset so many people as they attempt to become skilled riders. In effect we offer you a user's manual for the brain. Our most important organ is often so sadly misunderstood!

We will follow this with some exercises that demonstrate the most significant biomechanical patterns of riding, bringing them alive in your own body, and showing you what you need to go home and integrate into your own riding. Putting just one or two of the central pieces into the puzzle can make a huge difference, and whatever level you ride at, you can expect to see your strengths and weaknesses in a new light.

It will then be time to bring back our riders, and possibly to add some new ones, so that we show you more biomechanics in action. Some of Sunday morning, and also Sunday afternoon, will be dedicated to lessons in which we change the rider's sitting in order to change the horse. Mary and Heather will both be coaching, and Heather will again demonstrate how her biomechanics and thought processes can work their magic.

There will be plenty of time for questions, including the 'stupid' ones that you have never dared to ask, and the ones that few trainers have answers to! Expect some unusual and interesting answers that may come 'out of the box', but that expand and explain our conventional wisdom.

Payment by check:

Checks should be made payable to "Didi Carpenter Symposium"

And can be sent to:

Honeybrook Farm,
21409 Fm 2920
TX 77447

Didi Carpenter can be contacted via email at

Tickets For Both Days @ $250

Tickets For 25th Only @ $150

Tickets For 26th Only @ $150

For more information go to:
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