Monday, 30 October 2017

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017






4 year old QT growing up so nicely. Such a gorgeous baby horse, I love riding him so much. I only sit on him for 10 minutes every now and again as I'm a bit heavy for him really until he has developed a bit more back muscle. And I'm not brave anymore. He has not put a foot wrong but I don't want my old lady nerves to make him nervous when he is currently a brave boy. And if he is ever scared he needs someone up top to reassure him, not me pooing my Bridget Jones pants. In his 5 year old summer next year we will crack on a bit more. Cant wait! Fortunately I'm so busy with teaching and Alfie, it means QT has time to just grow and strengthen slowly. No rush, he is so talented and so trainable but we are in it for the long term, no quick fixes or rushing.
Take time but don't waste time.
He goes hacking around the hills a few times a week, a stretchy lunge, some pole work and so many kisses and cuddles I'm surprised I have time to do anything else!



Alfie!!!



Well you all know how much I love a before and after photo!
Here is a very talented young lady Annabelle Howie and her lovely young event horse Herbie. Annabelle has worked so hard to develop her position so that it becomes functional i.e. having a direct influence over her horses posture and engagement.
The first job of the riders seat is to balance.
Then to harmonise with the horse.
Then to influence the horse.
As the photo shows, young Annabelle is having a huge improvement over Herbie's posture and therefore he is now developing and building his beautiful top line. 


Another young lady working hard on her position and correct posture carriage and deportment is El Sayers and her very gorgeous Haflinger gelding Loki. Look at the improvement in her dressage position and therefore the difference in Loki's frame and muscle development. Wow. Well done El!




Ella Phillips January 2017....



Ella Phillips August 2017..... No words needed!



I was over the bloody moon to see Claire Edwards getting an 8 for both her Novice long side canter give and retakes recently from a listed judge. Not just because this means Bugsy was in self carriage, but because it means Bugsy was STRAIGHT! Its been a long time coming, but its arrived!!! Lots and lots and lots of exercises like shoulder in, counter canter, canter leg yields, counter positioning. Haaaaaaaaa. We did it. The horse who thought canter across the diagonal meant half pass across the diagonal......is now straight. Super job Claire. So very pleased for you.


 Clever Alfie won his first Advanced Medium and got himself another mention in H&H.



Michaela Doberman and Ratino have recently made some seriously huge breakthroughs. The use of Shoulder In and Travers (to help equally supple, straighten and strengthen)both horse and rider, for me, are invaluable tools. All humans load one leg/seat bone more, have a strong/weak side and strong/weak parts of their body, have some bits of the body that are too far forward, too up, too down, too far back.
Its not until your trainer identifies these that you can start to improve them and become more ambidextrous throughout your whole body.
The shoulder in, shoulder out, haunches in, haunches out highlights many many many strengths and weaknesses in both horse and rider. When you have all four of these movements you will have a more equally supple and engaged horse.
When I start a lesson I will ask my rider if there is anything particularly they want my help with today. 
Michaela wont mind me telling you that the most common sentence she says to me is 'Please can you help me get him in front of the leg.'.
What is that?
A horse willingly taking your forwards.....
Can a horse take you forwards if its crooked? Could I push a wheelbarrow very forward with one arm?
A horse pushing itself forwards instead of the rider having to continuously push the horse forwards.... 
If a horses hind legs are out behind, how can it push itself forwards?
That's like being in a swimming pool with your feet a few inches away from the edge. There is nothing to push off from. All you can do is doggy paddle at the front end. Or sink ha ha.
Of course a horse MUST react to the leg. Of course. But if it was just a simple as making the horse GO, wouldn't we all be regional champions? Of course a horse must go, of course a horse must react.
But it does often go an awful lot deeper as to WHY is the horse not going for free. WHY is the horse not in front of the leg. WHY is the horse not able to maintain that forward momentum. WHY. If its because the horse isn't reacting then you will have that sorted tomorrow yes? And if you cant sort it tomorrow, once and for all, then you need to find out WHY.
That's what clever Michaela has done.
Ratino now reacts beautifully in the In Hand lateral work. He is now supple and strong and obedient and willing and engaged in his core and both his hind legs. His engine is now plugged in. Cant turn a light on unless its plugged in eh.
Michaela and Ratino are now following the In Hand work with the ridden work.
They are becoming more engaged, more beautiful, more connected.
Oh yes and therefore Ratino is also taking Michaela forwards with impulsion from behind through the back to the bit with hind legs forward under. That's  'in front of the leg'. 
Michaela has worked incredibly hard on her dressage position, her core, her weaker parts and her symmetry. She is now a much easier rucksack for her beautiful horse to carry as well as a much more effective dressage rider.
Well done Michaela.