An emphasis on fun, safety and education. Those are the tenets Above Standard Equestrian’s Gini Quade conveys to her students. The professional trainer is based at Huspah Plantation, Sheldon, S.C., and she brought six students this weekend to the Riding Better Clinic at Lellie Ward’s Paradise Farm.

Ward had conducted a clinic this past fall at Huspah Plantation, said Quade.

“She did a clinic with the kids, and they absolutely loved it,” said Quade. “She has such a way of sparking that fire. We saw it today out on cross country. They didn’t want to quit. They just kept going.”

Horsemen that ride with Quade don’t have to compete or own a six figure horse, however, they must have fun, learn, and enjoy their time with their horses while forging a bond as rider and horse.

“They have to realize the discipline it takes to care for a live animal, and to nuture that bond,” said Quade. “We do a lot of fox hunting, we do Pony club, we have an IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) team, and we’re kind of multi-disciplined. We do some hunter/jumpers and some dressage. I don’t do the cross country side, so that’s why we’re here. It’s a real asset to have them here.”

The professional has a strong hunter/jumper and dressage background, and places a great emphasis on flatwork.

“My thought is that the jumps are just a very small part of actual jumping,” said Quade. “Your jumps are a dressage course. Your jumping course is a dressage course with jumps in the middle. It’s important to have control over your horse, have the correct balance, and have that consistency before you start jumping. We do a lot of that, on the trail and out in the field, not just in the arena.”

Time and patience are among the key variables in the equation for those riders interested in moving up the levels, said Quade.

“You can’t rush it,” said Quade. “The fundamentals and the foundation have to be correct before you can start to progress.”

Education is extremely important, and having the opportunity to ride a number of different horses, challenges the horseman in knowing each horse is going to require a different ride, and that they’ll have to use the resources they have in their tool box, applying different principles, in order to be a more effective and thoughtful rider, not just a passenger, said Quade.