A Lesson with Cesar Torrente
Cesar Torrente is an FEI 4* judge, Grand Prix rider and Corporate Lawyer by profession. Laura Hall of LH Equestrian Management did an incredible job organizing an Educate Your Eye Symposium with this gentleman.
Cesar very quickly and accurately assessed my horse and I – we were going to be riding First Level Test 2. From the beginning of my session, I felt a warmth and generosity from Cesar – he really wanted to help me become a better rider and I knew I was going to leave that lesson a more educated dressage rider. I felt privileged to be learning from an international judge and competitor. The theme of my ride revolved around impulsion and engagement of the hindquarters. Ferro’s natural tendency is to be on the forehand, he has this incredible long neck and beautiful head that I tend to help him hold up. Cesar had me ask Ferro for more impulsion but at the same time I had to lighten my hands forward – all this right from the beginning of my ride. I needed to use more leg and seat and less hand. Tap him, Tap him, Tap him Cesar repeated. Then came all the transitions – trot – walk – trot – walk – trot – walk! As I trotted around the beautiful Fairlawn Equestrian Centre indoor ring I felt moments where I knew I had achieved what Cesar was looking for – my hands got light, I felt more suspension in Ferro’s trot and for that brief moment I felt like I could do anything J and then Cesar said with his lovely Columbian accent “OK – let’s look at the canter” I thought “EEEK!” I now had Ferro going with what felt like more vigor and enthusiasm in his trot then I was used to. I wondered to myself how he would react when I asked for that same response in the canter. Would he take it as an invitation to play and perhaps leave me lying in Fairlawn’s lovely soft footing? J Would I live to write this blog that I had offered to do for Victoria-Saanich Cadora? As I asked for the canter Cesar was already asking me to ask for more. The same drill at the canter, more transitions – trot – canter – trot – canter – trot – canter, then forward and backward within the canter, I have to learn to sit more and I definitely have to learn to let go of the inside rein! Through my whole session with Cesar I really felt he was helping Ferro and I become better partners. Cesar obviously cares about the horse and helped all us riders become more effective in order that our horses could happily perform what we were asking without unnecessary interference from us.
Other demo riders felt the same warmth and caring attitude from Cesar. The feedback I received from other riders was so positive:
Cesar`s approach to each rider was calm, objective and studied. His test scoring was very helpful and reflected well all of the improvements he was focusing on for each horse and rider. I would take another clinic with him anytime
I liked how open he was with the Hunter Jumper riders. Cesar felt all hunter jumper coaches need to work with students who want to do dressage because it really improves their jumping!
The opportunity to ride with this fun and knowledgeable judge at a reasonable cost and at a beautiful facility was fantastic. I hope we can repeat it again.
What came across for me was Cesar`s love for horses and passion for teaching. It seemed like he rode every step of my lesson with me which I found inspiring. I appreciated how invested he was in each and every session that I watched to improve both horse and rider fairly and correctly using the scale of training.
As I sit here writing and reflecting on the symposium I think I can confidently say that we all hope to get more educational opportunities like this in our area. After all, Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire – William Butler Yeats and I feel so inspired to improve myself as a dressage rider, improve my horse and get out there and practice, practice, practice.
Thank you Cesar for lighting us all on fire!
Victoria Saanich Cadora Director