Pic. left: A fun, easy day fence judging at Mini-Badminton Event for Reading University Riding Club.
Days go by rather quick recently and there is so much to do I find it difficult to put aside some time for blogging. Nevertheless, a huge update is due so here we go.
The Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy is now officially on the road. The launch is coming in stages though so not all of our services are available yet. We are starting with running Case Studies for each of the Academy's Programme. I had a great response from riders and in the end had to limit the amount of Case Studies we took on as it would be impossible to heavily discount the services for too many riders. All the riders on the yards I teach had the priority to become Case Studies but good few places were offered to riders new to me.
Two Case Studies has already begun: the first one is on the Performance Programme for a 13 year Emily, an ambitious Pony Club event rider who is very focused, talented and a pleasure to work with. She has some successes at the Pony Club Championships and BE90 events but had sadly lost her fabulous pony in March this year, whom she brought on herself with lessons, to a very rapid onset of joint disease.
She now has a couple of on-off rides and two own horses but can't afford a great super star horse to take her up the levels. This means she needs to rely on horses that need a lot of initial work and have one or two issues. I hope that many riders will be able to identify with Emily's ambitions to climb the ladder of British Eventing, the struggles with horse power and the aiming to go as far as possible...
We've filmed Emilys Assessment Day which consisted of 4 hours of riding on 4 different horses and included: flatwork/Dressage, Show-jumping, XC and seat training on the lunge. I thought she dealt very well with the horses chosen for her and I am looking forward to the day when we put all videos online for you all to watch too!
Emily will now start the 5 weeks Training Plan, her ridden lessons, Rider's Fitness & Performance sessions, the management of the horses and their training & care (inluding Equine Body Work massage) will be videoed regularly so future Academy riders can see what it's in store.
Another part of the Performance Programme is helping ambitious, driven and talented riders to become known to wider public and to hopefully eventually gain any sort of sponsorship to take them closer to achieving their dreams. For this reason we will spread the news of all the big and small successes on Emily's training journey.
The second Case Study is on the Foundation Programme and involves two teenage riders who are passionate about ponies but are still very much at a pure fun end. They have been riding all sorts of naughty ponies with me for the last couple of years and are currently learning to jump. The Case Study follows their progress for 4 weeks. The ponies they ride are no point-and-jump types! There are thrills & spills so should be entertaining as well as educational.
The next case Studies to start shortly are:
Starting 19th June: Development Programme: An experienced leisure/low level show rider who have just imported a stunning young PRE (Pura Rasa Espanola) black gelding...she will be aiming at low levels dressage to start with and then...the dreams are the limit..:) This will be worth watching just to see this gorgeous horse! We are currently waiting for him to have his saddle custom made as the shape of his back didn't suit anything off the shelf. The rider will juggle work and full on training.
Starting 26th June: Development Programme: one of my regular riders and Kingsley's owner. An interesting Case Study of a very passionate, dedicated leisure rider who wants to get to know the sport and immerse herself in the world of training. Her favourite discipline is Dressage but she will go for multi choice as she enjoys jumping too. However, Pauline also holds a demanding full-time job and travels a lot so will have to be very committed to meet her training aims...She is a great friend of mine but this won't help her avoiding the hard work ;)
Starting 7th July: Development Programme: Suzanne, an enthusiastic, always eager to learn rider with over 30 years experience in the saddle but only several years of formal riding school training. She's been riding with me for 3 years and apart from full-time non-horsey job she also volunteers her time at a riding school managing Sundays for the owner. In return she receives free lessons once a week. She also regularly hacks out on a Cleveland Bay who belongs to her friend. Suzanne has wonderful personality and is one of the most positive, optimistic and committed riders I've ever met. She is Dressage focused through and through.
Starting: July: Performance Programme: a young eventer in her last Junior year who has a lovable little Polish warmblood event mare. They've had a mix of good & bad seasons but are now consistently double clear at BE100 level and aiming at Novice at the end of the season. However, there are some issues with Dressage and the rider's planning of the training so again it will hopefully be a great one to follow. There are many riders out there who are reasonably successful but are looking for some coaching support to organise their training with an aim to progress further. The combination have just qualified for the BE100 Eventer Challenge at Blenheim and as they are both great characters I think they will be an interesting addition to the Case Studies bunch.
A few more riders will follow, including a rather exciting Case Study for the Start Programme but I will introduce them at a later date:)
I have also received a first batch of brochures and once the website goes live it will be the time to start spreading the news to wider audience...
Now, onto horses. Kingsley is doing his hacking in walk and is more or less happy with that. Frank is mentally coping with some walking with my weight on it too.
I have also started riding the most wonderful ex-race horse and although it would certainly not be my type of horse to go for by description I absolutely love riding him! He had about a year off due to injury (a kick in the hock but no soft tissue/ligament or tendon damage) and is now sound and coming back to work. From time to time we come across horses we sit on and don't want to get off of. He is one of them for me...
So meet Rakaman aka Casper, 9 year old TB gelding by Rakaposhi King
If he stays sound and happy and well behaved enough for P. he might become employed...
On a downside I'm very tired of my commuting but feel like I shouldn't really complain about it. There are worse things I guess.
On a lighter note, we run a fun yearly event for Reading University Riding Club Riders who I've been teaching for the last 3 years. Some of them have finished their degrees and this was their last Mini-Badminton. Sad.
Here are a few photos from the day:
Very busy next few weeks ahead. I need to meet several other instructors I got involved in the Academy and fill them in on the progress. The Case Studies behind the scenes work is taking up lion share of my after work time too.
It's all very exciting though and I will try to come back with more news soon!