Monday, 28 April 2008

The bits and their action

A rather bad attempt at sorting out a different bitting for show-jumping for Hamlet prompted me to re-visit an excellent site which gives a very informative explanation on action of various bits:

http://www.sustainabledressage.com/tack/bridle.php

I tried Hamlet in a two ring gag today and to say he hated to jump in it is an understatement. All the work I have done on his rhythm and approach to the jump seemed to be gone and only after we moved the reins to the bit ring had he regained the composure. Poor man, I won't try to show-jump in that one again!
I am very much a snaffle person and am very wary of any changes of bits unless absolutely necessary. I am glad we tried as at least we know it is a no-no and the way to go is just concentrate on schooling the canter, balance and rhythm. I would, however, consider that bit going XC as it was definitely offering much more speed control in comparison to Hamlet's everyday snaffle.
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Friday, 25 April 2008

If you are getting behind your abilities, work harder...

I made last few days my riding boot camp to get me back on track. This included riding three horses in plenty of sitting trot, without stirrups and some decent amount of canter work. It payed off today as I had a very good ride on Hamlet.
Thanks to Nicker Network I was able to watch some interesting videos from Richard Davison's and Carl Hester's clinics aimed at improving dressage seat and after putting it into practise I must say it works!
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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Next event is...

After giving it a bit of a thought I decided to go to Mattingley ODE and give Borde Hill ODE a miss. I can only afford to do one event a month and I have been hearing very superlative opinions on Mattingley so that is where Hamlet and I will be going next. Our entry is in so now we just have to wait and see if we aren't balloted (we used super ballot stickers which are basically codes you get from British Eventing and which can be used for events you really want to do - the code is a bit like a priority sticker which should guarantee getting in).
The ballot is on the 25th of April.
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Spring is back :)


Spring is finally back to London - even if just for the day! It was such a glorious day today. The plants and wildlife definitely think it's time to bloom.
The panoramic photo by Ricky shows views a short walk away from our house.
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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Not quite as I would wish...

This morning I had a lesson on Hamlet and I just don't know what happened - I couldn't ride him at all. Everything I asked him resulted in him resisting and I felt like we have moved 10 steps backwards instead of at least half-step forwards.
Mariana sat on him and concluded he was escaping the aids (setting himself against the bit and shooting off away from legs) so she rode him though it and he relaxed finally. It's the same thing over and over - the tightness in the back - but while I seemed to have some nice results a week ago it went to pots today.
To be fair I only jumped him on Friday and his last schooling session was on Tuesday last week but he was worked and it wasn't as if he spent all that time without exercise.
I know this is just horses and I really shouldn't be so down about it but I am. My next ride on him isn't before Friday so I now have to wait to give it a go again.
It's annoying how the things that make you feel low seem to happen all in the same time as if to make sure getting up is properly difficult.
I am looking forward to a positive session and apologise for all this negativity. I am pretty talented worrier and due to various everyday life problems I think I just have too much on my head and not enough focus.
Anyway, hope to be positing something more upbeat soon and I am off to teach now.
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Sunday, 20 April 2008

'Life lesson' found online ;)

"When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the jar and the 2 cups of coffee......

A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him.When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes".

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now" said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are important things- your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions - and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car".

"The sand is everything else- the small stuff. if you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you."

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children and pets. Go out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house .

Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Hmm, and I arranged for a day free of horses tomorrow to catch up with my housework...;))
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Thursday, 17 April 2008

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Wednesday Whereabouts

It was an interesting day today. I started with a group jumping lesson with my regular clients which I really enjoy and seeing them improve is fantastic. That was followed by yet another jumping lesson, this time with someone training towards her BHS Stage 2.
My third lesson of the day was one of the most peculiar of all for some time! It was with a beginner (4th-5th lesson) 19 year old who told me has had a bad day and she wasn't really up for riding. She works at the centre (but not with horses) so I suggested that she re-book for another day but for many reasons that wasn't an option. Hmm. We continued in a very low key manner but every now and then she just kept repeating she didn't feel like riding. This for me is a recipe for total boredom as there is nothing more brain numbing as teaching someone who couldn't care less.
We somehow managed to get to three quarters of an hour when we attempted one of a few changes of rein. Due to the rider being a novice the horse didn't quite obey and they continued walking straight instead of turning. At this point the girl announced she has had enough and started getting off the horse in walk onto the right side of the horse...I asked what was she doing and she said she really didn't want to ride and proceeded to jump off and walked out of the arena. Nice. Those stroppy teenagers these days!

The second part of my day was rather interesting with two hours training with the FBHS Patrick Print. This man is like a walking equestrian encyclopedia! For the ridden part I got to work a rather overgrown Connemara (15.1hh-15.2hh) who started off so lazy I thought I would loose my legs. He woke up nicely though and I definitely need to ride more horses that need pushing as I am getting complacent on all the hot demons I seem to have been riding recently. The little horse made me work hard but it was rewarding to ride him once he softened and started yielding to the pressure.

The theory section was on various topics on jumping training and was geared towards the BHSI Equitation & Teaching exam which I am still way away from taking but found it much more engaging than the training to my current exams.

I am feeling so impatient and knowledge greedy at the moment. I wish I could train more and take those exams sooner.
Oh, well.
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Saturday, 12 April 2008

More training videos...

Candace, my dear friend from US sent me this link ( yes, do get excited because it's a free online equestrian TV): http://www.nickernetwork.com/cs_welcome.htm.

Thanks Candy!!

Pic.: Candace at a local show testing her skills on a 'serial stopper'... It's only a tiny fence but I am sure it will go up as soon as she has a more capable equine partner! During Candy's visits in the UK I drill her into sitting up a bit in front of the fences. Although she has a great, light, American show-jumper seat, sitting up really does help if you have a refusing machine underneath you ;)
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Friday, 11 April 2008

After long week in the "office"...

...it's the day off time! It was a hard week for me and I am feeling well and truly tired. It's a nice tiredness though, not the one you get from long hours at an office's desk. For some reason I ended up riding a lot of strong horses this week (do they just really have to get strong in the same time!?;) and ended up with a lot of muscle pain and strained thumb. Good job I am hacking Hamlet out today as I plan to just relax and work long and low.

After a nice lie-in this morning and a bowl of some exciting fruity weetabix I sat down to Ricky's computer in an attempt to watch some instructional videos on You Tube. There happened to be quite a few that drew my attention but after clicking in between the videos I started loosing the ones I wanted to watch again. So that is how I came up with an idea of EQUESTRIAN TRAINING VIDEOS BLOG :) At first I was going to keep it as my private blog but thought some of you may also like to have those videos grouped together. I will be adding whatever I find helpful either for teaching or just schooling on my own and the videos will illustrate training/competing in Dressage, Show-Jumping and Eventing.
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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Outside Rein Dressage Training Video

As many riders don't understand how to use the reins when directing the horse I decided to find some good training videos online which I could then pass on to my clients. What you see can be so much stronger a message than what you just listen to. I think this one is pretty good (by Jane Savoie):

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Monday, 7 April 2008

FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final - videos

FEI World Cup Dressage

RESULTS FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final FREESTYLE and final placing

1. IPS SALINERO Anky van Grunsven NED 85,20%
2. WARUM NICHT FRH Isabell Werth GER 82,60%
3. MAX Kyra Kyrklund FIN 78,15%
4. HUNTER DOUGLAS SUNRISE Imke Schellekens-Bartels NED 77,40%
5. BRIAR 899 Jan Brink SWE 76,50%
6. HEXAGON’S OLLRIGHT Laurens van Lieren NED 76,10%
7. GREDSTEDGARDS CASMIR Andreas Helgstrand DEN 75,20%
8. DIGBY 2 Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein DEN 73,45%
9. PAGANINI Jeroen Devroe BEL 72,90%
10. AFRIKKA Anders Dahl DEN 71,55%
11. DONNA CARRERA Rozzy Ryan AUS 69,60%
12. MAKSYMILIAN Janer Hannigan USA 69,45%
13. RANDON Michal Rapcewicz POL 69,05%%
12. ISIDOR 46 Louise Nathhorst SWE 68,00%
7. IDOCUS Courtney King USA 63,40%


Anky Van Grunsven & IPS Salinero




Kyra Kyrklund & Max



Andreas Helgstrand & Casmir



Imke Schellekens'Bartels & Sunrise



Isabell Werth & Warum Nicht



Jan Brink & Briar


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New interesting book for inquisitive minds

Mary Wanless published her new book. I haven't read it but if I do get it I will get back to you with my feedback: The New Ride with Your Mind Clinic: Rider Biomechanics-Basics to Brillance.
Has anyone read it? If so, let me know what you think and whether it is worth getting it. I thought Mary's previous books were rather interesting!
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Friday, 4 April 2008

Spring clean

On my days off from teaching I always ride Hamlet and we had an interesting session today ;) More on it on Hamlet's training blog: 'Who is more patient' schooling session ;)

Just so it doesn't look as if I am only out and about doing horses 24/7 I actually did a lot of tidying up in our house! It was such a glorious day that I couldn't help but put myself through 'spring clean' paces. I started with the patio and did a little assessment on my plants...Sadly not all of them survived the winter. Their death has more to do with the visiting squirrels than cold though! For some reason, little grey monsters like the taste of my Phormium tenax!

The ivy is doing well but that is to be expected, that plant is just non destroyable ;) Don't get me wrong, I really like it.

Now, the one on the picture left is my little mystery. It was given to me by my dad who is a passionate gardener (meaning he grows everything everywhere driving my mum nuts as the pots take every available space in their house). So this little plant, Hydrangea macrophylla, sort of dies in winter and gets re-born in the spring. Last year, I thought that was it, I killed it. I couldn't make myself to throw it away so it stayed in the pot looking stupid but it grew lovely green leafs last April.
This year, little plant is going to get some special food (supplied by dad!) and I will see if it grows the flowers as well as the leafs...which has just started to show.

Since I have been so good with all this cleaning I decided to be a good housewife and catch up with washing Ricky's clothes.
That went so well that I even managed to wash his mobile phone which he left in his jeans...OOOPS!
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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Meet Arty

Arty is a 17.1hh ex-advanced eventer who is my schooling project at Hall-Place. I am very fond of him although he has after-career problems with stiffness and needs good management. He gets back massages for his muscular tension and a lot of TLC from me of course :)
He battled a bit with lameness a couple of weeks ago which he compensated through the back and became really uncomfortable. Thankfully the lameness is gone and after the latest massage session he is working in a decent way.

I ride him three times a week, mostly long and low as prescribed by his physio and today was the first day I was truly happy with the feel he gave me.
Although he loves to stretch and will do most of the times I haven't had him evenly in both reins until today. His trot work was much freer and canter work very reasonable.
Arty is not for faint-hearted though as he can be VERY forward going with gears to die for and you have to be careful what you are asking for ;)
He is very much my type of horse though.

The Humongous Cat still amazes me every time I see him so I snapped a couple of photos while I sat with him on the sofa. He promptly moved onto my lap and started purring and making 'claw sharpening' movements against my chest!! I quickly departed from our cozy spot ;)

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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

My audience...

This little fox comes every Tuesday night to watch my 8pm lesson with Pauline - he sits on top of the pile of shavings next to the arena and watches us intensely :)
The picture isn't great but you can just make out the shape of him - I drew a circle around it ;)

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