I love my Alfie with a passion and I am over the moon with all his dressage achievements, he really has quite surpassed the %'s I ever thought he could get. So when the lady who owns his very very talented half brother contacted me to help her train 'Casper', I jumped at the chance.
Here's a pic of Casper winning the Elementary at the Isis Championship. I just love him.
Kate Matthews and DC went to their BE Regional Finals looking to qualify for Badminton. They are sooooooooo good enough to get to Badders but they sadly missed a few months of summer training and competing due to a giant hoof crack. Kate had a fab lesson the week before and the clever chick went out to her Regionals and got her best BE dressage score of 23! As Simon Cowell would say 'she smashed it!' One pole down in the SJ meant finishing on 27 and 11th place. Its on my 2015 'to do' list to get Kate to Badminton!
What a difference a few months good training has made to Nemos topline and bum! The first pic in March, the second two at a recent comp where Nemo got over 69% in his prelim and over 62% in his first ever Novice!
I have always liked this horse from the first time I set eyes on him. He is only a baby so his owner KJ Turner is taking it slowly yet adhering to Arthur Kottas brilliant saying 'take time but don't waste time'.
It is a difficult balance knowing how much to work/ride/train a young horse. When I lived at The TTT, Mrs Sewell would put amazing laminated posters up everywhere to remind us (the young horse is a precious stone, take care with how you carve it'!)
I would say out of 10 young horses I see a year, 2 I think 'crikey if you keep doing that your going to break him.' 4 out of 10 that I think the owners are so frightened of breaking them that they don't train the horse correctly (they think they are being nice by not asking the young horse to do anything when they ride him, so hes just learning bad habits not good habits, your work with the horse is either correctly building him up, or breaking him down.)
So I always advise people to ride the young horse correctly, from day 1, for short periods. You need to ask the young horse to use the right muscles because if not he will use the WRONG muscles! If you lifted 20 straw bales using the wrong muscles wouldnt you bugger your back?!
By asking the young horse to carry you correctly (for short periods) you will strengthen the bridge of the back muscles. Look how healthy the Spanish Riding School of Viennas horses are well into their 20's (still performing!) . Gerd Heuschmann has taught me that those first few ridden years are vital to strengthen the hind leg suspensories in the 'pushing forward' phase, years before they are ever asked to 'carry'. Then they dont break so easily.
KJ is one of those i believe is bringing her young horse on absolutely brilliantly. He lunges, he hacks , he jumps, he works in an uphill frame for short periods and he stretches to the floor for short periods, 4/5 times a week. Then, as Arthur Kottas says, all we need is 'luck'! Luck that he doesn't slip in the filed, luck that the wind doesn't blow real strong just at the moment hes in full trot stretch etc etc! (Ha ha which KJ calls riding by the seat of your pants ha ha!)
KJ teaches at Hall Place in Tilehurst Reading if you know anyone in need! I feel really lucky to teach at two Riding Estableshments (Hall Place and Cloud Stables) where the teaching they all pass on to all their clients is classical and correct.