Unbelievably it's only 4 more days until our departure for Oslo. I am sitting here preparing little folders for each of the participants as I want those three days to be as interactive as possible.
We have 10 riders booked for the full training, 4 for half of the weekend and another 3 joining for Theory Sessions only. That's the total of 17 participants and I want them all involved.
I sent out a short Questionnaire to the riders to get to know their goals, to understand where each of them wants to be as far as training goes and what their perceived riding issues are. This gives me an opportunity to "get to know" the riders and use the fairly limited time we will later have to help them improve as much as possible.
I don't believe in changing the riders in "one go" as I think we all develop certain amount of feel even if our position isn't ideal. Dramatic changes might result in a superb looking position but sometimes rider's feel is all they have and all they love about riding.
Many years ago when I switched from jumping to dressage I had this trainer who wanted me to sit with a "long leg", "long stirrups", all neat and tidy and super still. Well, it looked OK on photos but it felt like being made of concrete and losing all the timing and sense of rhythm. I have since learnt that small but accurate changes make the biggest difference. The difficulty lies in determining what to change first and how to do it so it suits particular rider.
The rider's answers tell a lot about them and help me adequately adjust my teaching style/methods or at least try to.
The way I thought the weekend out means that each of the riders goes through a structure resembling a mini-format of the whole Academy. They get Assessed ridden on the first day to determine the "what's nexts", they have posture/chiropractic assessment with Kari on the first day too. The programme also includes video feedback alike on every Academy Training Day and Exercise Plan for each rider (personalised by Kari). We've accommodated 2 Equitation Theory sessions which I like to do with all Academy riders as talking through training problems and issues is one of the best ways to turn your head around them.
I prepared some materials which I hope the riders will enjoy but I won't share on here in case they are reading! ;)
The riders on full training will have 3 ridden sessions and will be under Kari's watchful eye to improve posture symmetry and biomechanics. As with horses, one of the cool way to improve the rider is to make them more symmetrical and body aware.
Four days to go!