Karen Healey Clinic
By Nancy Brannon
Riders at the Jaeckle Centre, Thompson’s Station, TN had “a great two days with the Karen Healey clinic [on December 5-6, 2015]. She's always so much fun!” wrote Melanie Fransen, Director of Events at the Jaeckle Centre. “We had a great group of riders and Karen is always a pleasure to have at the facility.” The clinic was filled to capacity, with 18 riders for both days. Healey had given a clinic at the Jaeckle Centre back in March and folks so enjoyed her clinic that they had requested her return.
The Saturday clinic sessions began with instruction for 1.10m and above Jumpers, moving on to 3’6” Hunter Seat Equitation before lunch. Afternoon was devoted to the 2’6” – 3’ Hunter riders. Sunday’s schedule was reversed, beginning with the 2’6” – 3” Hunters first thing in the morning, then 3’6” Hunter Equitation before lunch. That left the afternoon open for the 1.10m and above Jumpers.
Fransen said that students like her format; the way she teaches really connects with the riders and the exercises help both rider and horse improve. She teaches the same foundation principles of equitation that George Morris teaches. “She provides a good foundation to get you where you want to go,” Melanie said. “The first day of the clinic was devoted to flat work and gymnastic exercises. The second day built on the first day’s work, applying it to riding a course of fences.”
Anne Brzezicki, MTSU Equestrian Team coach, brought 20 student auditors and one rider, Kelsey Sloan, to the clinic. She had praise for Karen’s teaching and the clinic: “She did a great job of articulating how good basics will impact the progress of the horse and rider through the levels. She applied exercises that advanced as the levels went up, but it was still apparent how the exercises are based on correct principles applied in early training. When you start a horse and rider correctly, it is much easier to advance through the levels. She was tough but fair, and very kind when problems with the horse arose. I think our 20 auditors got as much out of the clinic as did our rider. As a teacher, it’s always beneficial when the expert from out of town, and she’s a well-respected, top expert, verifies what we try to teach every day.”
Melanie Fransen says that Healey is focusing more on clinics lately, and that she enjoys teaching and meeting new riders. “She is our most popular clinician! And Anne Brzezicki is such a pleasure to work with. Her auditors asked lots of questions and took plenty of notes.”
Karen Healey is classically trained in the George Morris hunter/jumper methods, with whom she began her professional career in the early 1970s. She continues her professional relationship Morris, hosting an annual George H. Morris Clinic at Whitethorne Ranch, held in December each year.
In 1981 Karen moved to California where she started the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and developed many successful riders. Currently her home base is Whitethorne Ranch in Somis, California where her riders are highly successful in ASPCA Maclay National Finals and the USET Talent Search Finals. She has trained numerous champion hunters and jumpers. Healey is also a clinician with the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program.
She holds a USEF R-rated judging license and has judged some of the most prestigious shows in the country. In 1991 she was named Horsewoman of the Year by the California Professional Horseman’s Association and in 2007 the Chronicle of the Horse Person of the Year. Find more information about her at Karen Healey Stables: karenhealeystables.com.
There will be more clinics at the Jaeckle Centre throughout 2016. Clinton Anderson will bring his 2016 Road Clinic to the Centre August 19-21, 2016. Find more information about their clinics, shows, and Equine Therapy Facility at: thejaecklecentre.com or on their facebook page. The Jaeckle Centre is located at 100 Saddle Springs, Dr., Thompson’s Station, TN.
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