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St Jacques, Hankins Share Expertise with Grier Riders

Rebecca Woolfrey
This April, Grier riders participated in an array of clinics, across multiple competitive divisions and featuring two special guest equestrians: Pierre St Jacques and Cynthia Hankins. 
The month included a Western Clinic with Andrew Wolf of Delaware Valley University at Eagle Valley Farm in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania, followed by a Dressage Clinic at Pink Ribbon Farm in Oxford, Pennsylvania, capped off with four days of clinics at Grier with highly esteemed equestrians Pierre St Jacques and Cynthia Hankins.  

Grier’s Riding Director Chrystal Coffelt Wood invited dressage phenom, Pierre St Jacques, to come join us for a two-day clinic. Fourteen riders and as many horses, plus two riding instructors, attended one or two sessions with the expert clinician. St Jacques helped the riders and horses increase confidence and communication with each other to enhance their performance.  

St Jacques is a native of Montreal, Canada, with over thirty years of experience training dressage horses and riders. He and the horse Lucky Tiger possess a long list of accolades. Among the highlights, they hold a team gold medal from the 2003 Pan American Games and were shortlisted for the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2012 Olympic Games. Lucky Tiger and St Jacques competed at the Grand Prix level for nearly a decade, winning a Reserve Champion title at the 2009 National Grand Prix Festival of Champions. In 2009 alone, they also won the Lamplight CDI, placed second at the Raleigh CDI, and placed second in the Grand Prix for the Special at Devon. In 2010, they competed among the world’s best horses and riders in the Equis World Dressage Masters, placing eighth.  

In addition to his success in competitive dressage, St Jacques is an excellent trainer of horses and riders who brings out the best in every horse, no matter the type, temperament, or level. He believes in a positive learning environment and helps riders meet their personal goals while remaining engaged with the joy of horsemanship. As one Grier rider stated, "I liked how he started with a whole different mindset and explained very well how to [...] improve. He took the time to explain everything before and after the exercise. He gave me the feeling of improvement and helped me in little steps."

Following St Jacques' visit, former junior equitation star Cynthia Hankins led a two-day clinic where she shared her knowledge and expertise with over 18 Grier riders and horses, plus four riding instructors, who attended one or two of her sessions. Hankins has visited Grier previously and she delivered the same high impact training as before, helping Grier Hunt/Seat riders and horses develop skills and incorporate training exercises to improve technique.  
In addition to several top ten placements during her competitive career, Hankins won the American Horse Show Association Medal Finals in 1975 and the Doylestown, Pennsylvania, native is now a top clinician affiliated with the US Hunter Jumper Association’s Emerging Athletes Program. Many of her students have become successful professionals within the hunter/jumper industry. 

In addition to her junior equestrian accolades, Hankins holds a USEF R-rated judge's license in both Hunter and Hunter Seat Equitation, has judged numerous shows in the U.S. and France, including several equitation finals. She also contributes to publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse and Practical Horseman. 

Grier is honored to host the renowned equestrians Pierre St Jacques and Cynthia Hankins join the Grier equestrian at our own excellent indoor and outdoor riding facilities and beautiful mountainside campus. Introducing special guest clinicians is one of the many ways our champion Riding Department helps Grier riders of all levels grow, explore new horizons, and achieve their best.  

Photos: RW
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Grier School

2522 Grier School Rd. | P.O. Box 308; Birmingham, PA 16686-0308
Phone: 814-684-3000 | Fax: 814-684-2177