Friday, 29 October 2010

Just the usual...NOT

Somewhere in between work, learning and a rest time I have finally found a moment to catch up on the last two weeks. The yard we were looking at in London unfortunately has been taken out of the market in rather unexpected circumnstances so the search for a London base is still on.

It is believed that we spoil at least 10 horses before we make 1 good one. Nobody seems to be saying about how a 1 good horse can spoil all the others for you ;)

In my early teens I rode all the standard riding school horses and ponies - crooked, stiff, rigid and unwilling most of the time, bored with my lack of skills and probably in discomfort from my lack of balance. I made do with saddles with broken trees, saddles that made you want to scream after half an hour with no stirrups and those that made it virtually impossible for the rider to sit in any kind of balanced position. In my late teens I moved onto my then trainer's horses - variety of stallions and show-jumpers at the Stallion Depot I trained at. That was the first time my taste in horses has definitely changed. To sit on a supple horse that bends both ways, that has a "go" button built in, that has a tack that doesn't make you want to get off right there and then and that helps you rather than fights you every step - it was an amazing experience.

To those of you who are thinking why do I keep mentioning the tack...I was quite oblivious to comfort in the saddle for a long time. Until I started schooling for 6-8 hours a day. Then my view changed very drastically!

Going back to riding school industry brought many issues back. The saddlery has certainly moved on from the 90's but one-sided, bored horses are still around. It's very satisfying to be able to ride them into a happier state of mind and I do enjoy schooling them to make them more athletic but it has nothing to do with actually enjoying the ride.

Last week I worked at Anna Ross-Davies' beautiful new set up (their website is now live and I definitely recommend checking it out if you are into Dressage and training: and I was pretty much taken back in time and spoiled once again by some truly lovely horses I got the training on. Not to mention all the riding in those lovely dressage saddles!
I think it's very much of a case of "if you don't have what you like, you have to learn to like what you've got" - you get on with riding sour horses, you get some pleasure out of making them less so and you chose not to think about how fabulous it can actually feel to ride and how much you still love it.

The last week was a 12h a day- sleep - back to 12h day sort of work but the riding was amazing. It helped me focus on my own riding problems for a change rather than scrutinising others all the time. I haven't ridden such beautifully produced horses for almost 10 years and it made me realise how much I miss it.
If you have a seriously nice young horse and are looking for seriously good backing/schooling services you should look into Ben Martin's offer.

Photos below are of me having a lesson on Ben's 4 year old - the horse I wish was for sale!
[I also wish I could turn my damn body to the right!]

Words just can't describe how it feels to ride this type of horses after years of struggling to feel again something you have a distant memory of but can't quite get the feel for again.

Back to reality and plenty of things happening here to keep me busy. I will probably have to yet again (!) re-think the organisation of my week/month work so I can accommodate more Academy clients as for now I am pretty much at full capacity.

A few interesting meetings coming up next week which may or may not bring more busyness...details soon as and when it all unveils.

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