I decided I needed a system to get on with my teaching on Sundays...You see my Sunday office is full of very sour workers (i.e. horses) who are as fed up with their work as my clients eager to learn more.
To keep me sane I need a very strong yet simple system.
1) I rely on Wendy to feed me loads of sweets. Loads of glucose te he. Meet Wendy (attempting a Charlie Chaplin expression;):
2) Together with Suzanne and Pip, Wendy also makes sure I stay wide awake - they mass produce cups full of coffee which magically appear next to my chair in regular intervals.
Suzanne's training plan at the moment is full of no-stirrups-sitting-trot-malarkey; she loves it really...;) A. on Tessie in the background - I think I have just managed to convince her to do one of my Intensive Training days. Hope she knows what she's letting herself into!
A. said today: "Someone asked me how do I make the horse change direction. Half an hour later I was done with the answer". Well, at least I know none of my riders will ever say: "I just pull on left rein and kick with right leg".
3) I topped up the riding game in general and am making all the riders work double, if not triple, hard. There is no way they can ride those horses well if they don't improve on a larger scale so significant improvement is on the agenda first and foremost.
Below: Pip (sorry Pip I seemed to have cut your head off) on Ada and K. on Sienna - girls did a fab job today as those ponies are NOT show-jumpers (having said that Sienna jumps poles on the ground as if there were 3ft off the ground which yes, does send the rider flying and onto their knees!)
4) The basics are The Most Important. I believe in lunge lessons. They are integral part of my system because I truly do think nobody should be allowed to touch horse's mouth via the reins without having decent balanced position worked on first.
Meet Mr.Z who had his first lesson with me on 6th October last year. Here is him having a little feel in walk for what learning to ride will be all about:
And today (after many hours without the reins, lots of cups full of water poured over horse and rider - hands seem stiller now though;) - plenty of stretching, some spectacular falls etc etc) - think you can slowly see a rider there!
About Intensive Training site
I am in the process of constructing this little site: Intensive Training Days at www.trainingdays-equestrian.blogspot.com ,so keep checking for updates as well as photos and videos of the riders who took part...
I had this chat with one of my riders on a Training Day yesterday who asked me how are the horses taught to understand what people want from them. Sure enough there will be as many answers as trainers and as many ways as books ever written on the subject. There is one thing the riders will usually agree on though. You have to make the horse trust you. How? You apply highest integrity to everything you do, the way you behave, the way you speak, even the way you walk around the horse. You build the horse's confidence in you by being consistent in your demands, rewards and general discipline.
And you are careful not to lose that trust as it's one of those funny things that are hardest to find and easiest to loose.
Exactly the same as in between people...
And a little trust story:
A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.
The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter:
"Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river." The little girl said:
"No, Dad. You hold my hand."
"What's the difference?" Asked the puzzled father.
"There's a big difference," replied the little girl.
"If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go."
In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. So hold the hand of the person whom you love rather than expecting them to hold yours...