Day 180: Monday
Today I am mostly chilling with my Mum - ah what a bliss :) My day starts with mini pancakes with home made jam for breakfast in bed and moves on to various coffee lounging in the sun and dinner at an absolutely lovely Italian restaurant La Vende (check it out here). We order a goat cheese salad and I take a chicken tagliatelle with variety of spices. It's all immensely delicious and we have a good chat and a good laugh :)
Day 181: Tuesday
It's an early start to the day as I have a hair cut appointment to finally sort out my unruly bangles that grow at mental speed ;)
It feels good to be able to see again!
I catch my flight which is a breeze in comparison to the trek home from the airport. I can't believe how hot it is when I walk down the steps from the aircraft - the airport looks familiar otherwise I would have thought I took a wrong flight and ended up on some tropical island.
I take Stansted Express to London and use the travel time to go through hundreds of photos my mega Dad took during the clinic. I chose 40 odd that are interesting and catch the horse and rider in moments that show their efforts and work they tried to achieve or illustrate a point we aimed at.
London is even hotter despite the fact it's now almost 8pm. I take the tube to Paddington, now half asleep and listening to a podcast interview with Hans Günter Winkler (more info about him here). The recording's quality isn't great and it's a little tricky to listen to it in transit with all the sounds and train noises but the story is engrossing enough that I don't mind the flaws.
Different training systems are fascinating.
I take my final train and then bus and arrive home at about 9pm for hugs with Richard :)
Day 182: Wednesday - The heatwave continues
Wow. Dear England, you have officially become tropical! It's 8:30am when I leave the house this morning and already there is no air and the sun is powering down from a blue sky.
I have 5 lessons to teach today, all indoors and although at first I am wondering how we will cope, it turns out that having no direct sunlight on the skin helps a lot even though inside it is a sauna.
First is my Start Programme rider and we do most of the session in walk learning the basics of the seat in lateral work. Trot feels like a marathon challenge but we fit in some. So pleased with this rider's progress and can't wait to move him onto Foundation programme in a few weeks.
With Merehead, again we take it easy focusing on lateral work and improving quality and symmetry of the contact. He is ace and we finish sweaty but happy.
Shabhash has an event on the 22nd so we decide to run a fairly normal session despite the heat because he might have to compete in similar conditions so the more he acclimatise to it the better. The only change we make is that we limit the canter work to the jumping part of the session.
First 30min we spend on lateral work and throughness in walk. As soon as they trot I know we did the walk work well. He looks powerful, calm with good energy. Emma changed his feed to the one he likes so now that he eats his meals his condition has visibly improved. I am reminded about the speed with which the right diet can change the horse in either direction. He has filled out a little in places and looks rounder the way he should.
He goes well. I set up rider-training exercises to keep attention on Emma's ability to read rhythm and stride length. I keep them on the right rein most of the time with a left rein jump now and then as a rest. We move on to 3 jumps on a 3 loop serpentine and work on Shabby's main issue after the jump - landing disunited and disengaging the hindlegs in the turn. I keep all the jumps low at about 80cm to save his energy. He jumps well, carefully, trying not to touch the rails.
To work on right turns after landing, I ask Emma to experiment with softer contact on landing and an outside leg aid to remind him about his outside hind leg. He lands united.
To finish off, I set up a larger oxer from a long approach on the left rein to give them something to go to more and to open up the stride after all the work on the turns. I ask Emma to pick the canter that she thinks will take her over the oxer with least effort. I want her to have that canter in transition already, not to build up to it. They canter and I can see it lacks power so I ask her to try again. This time the canter looks fab, only slightly bigger than the one she had before but it has enough impulsion and uphill quality to deal with the 95cm spread.
They soar it in style. We call it a day.
My next rider is a young girl with a very nice mare and we work on the mare's canter preference. She is very athletic and a natural jumper with a fabulous eye for distance. One of those horses that you need to learn to set up the rhythm, point, sit back and enjoy the flight ;)
Her training weakness, however, is crookedness and a little low work motivation so the rider needs to be watchful and tactful to get the most out of her.
I set them exercises to work on precision in canter transitions because I know the leads will sort themselves out when the rider is clear about her demands.
Again, I keep the jumps very low so we can continue without undue stress. They do very well.
Then it's a flatwork session with a lovely Freddie and his loan rider Lou. I really enjoy teaching this pair. I do a warm up similar to the one I did with Shabby and Emma to improve quality of contact. They do so well, I can just shut up and enjoy watching them with a few pointers now and then.
Back home just after 7pm for a blissfull cold bath ;)