Focused training at home – our in-house dressage challenge

A dressage test is very much a complete lesson for both horse and rider. The movements are designed to flow from one to another and present the horse and rider with a test of balance, attention, acceptance of aids, suppleness etc

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From left: Caitlin on Jasper, Sofija on Basil, Rachel on Oscar and Jazzy jumping up with joy 😉 

As such, practicing towards a particular dressage test can nicely channel the work needed to be done in order to advance the schooling of the horse and the training of the rider. There doesn’t need to be any planned competition in sight in order to create a training structure at home.

Many riders struggle with daily tasks that can lead to improvements and having a well defined floor plan i.e. a dressage test , is a perfect way to help with ideas.

OUR CHALLENGE

At the end of May we set a June Challenge focused around a British Eventing dressage test. I let the riders taking part choose the test from any of the BE90 ones and the decision was to do the BE92 test.

The reason we went for the British Eventing dressage tests rather than the British Dressage ones was simply due to us training on grass through the summer and the arena available is too small to set up a 20x40m test area.

The Challenge had two parts:

1. Train yourself and your horse towards a competent attempt at British Eventing 92 Dressage Test (the test is at a Dressage Preliminary level and is a part of BE90 Horse Trials)

2. Appraise other horse’s and rider’s performance in order to understand the requirements better and improve own “eye” for correct training.

We had 5 training sessions in total focused primarily on this test.

Session 1: Understanding your horse’s strengths and weaknesses in all elements required at the test.

Session 2: Work through your horse’s strengths and weaknesses and formulate exercises/routines to improve weak points and show off the strong points

Practice during the month

Session 3: Enclose the exercises to the vague area of the test arena and practice the patterns of the test with no dressage markers. Continue working on weak elements and showing off the strong ones

Session 4: Practice of all test movements within the arena set up with markers in place with particular focus on correct use of corners and accurate shapes of all exercises

Session 5: Warm Up for the test with all the training in mind and have a go at the test 🙂

SCORES:

Caitlin & Jasper (Judges at C: Sofija , Rachel) : 73.2 % (Eventing score: 26.8)

Sofija  & Basil (Judges at C: Caitlin , Rachel) : 62% (Eventing score: 38)

These were both very good scores for these horses and both tests were nicely presented and very tactfully ridden. Unfortunately, Oscar lost a shoe a week before the Saturday test and removed it so “well” he punctured his foot rendering himself out of contention! Rachel took part part-time riding the test pattern in walk and testing her judging skills.

REWARD TIME!

logo clearI believe training is all about little milestones and small but important achievements and as such, celebrating them is part of the game   Aspire Academy is a brand ambassador for Boudica Equestrian this year and in collaboration with Boudica the riders won the following:

Caitlin for the highest score: £20 voucher to spend on anything via Boudica’s online/pop-up store at https://www.boudicaequestrian.co.uk/ as well as 10% OFF the order with the Aspire code

Sofija for the super score with a tense pony who probably never done a dressage test of this level on grass: £15 voucher as well as 10% OFF the order with the Aspire code

Rachel for a great team spirit, superb turn out of Oscar and getting involved in the judging process: £10 voucher as well as 10% OFF the order with the Aspire code.

QUICK REFLECTIONS

In only five sessions we were able to achieve a really noticeable degree of improvement in horse’s way of going and consistency and planning from the riders. I’d recommend monthly focus sessions like that to all improvement driven riders 🙂

Thank you to Boudica Equestrian for a great collaboration on little rewards for all the riders’ efforts!

Groundwork Evenings – for better relationship, riding feel, athletic abilities and more…

VIDEO: Groundwork Evenings – for better relationship, riding feel, athletic abilities and more…

OPEN TO ALL AGES* AND ABILITIES (*children must be accompanied by adults)

Do you have a young/green/inexperienced horse or pony you would like to be able to work with on the ground to prepare them well for ridden work?

Does your horse or pony struggle with crookedness or hollow way of going?

Do you have a horse or pony recovering from an injury/strain that needs a progressive groundwork and you are not sure where to start?

Does your horse or pony need rehabilitative schooling to improve their biomechanics/way of going?

Are you unable to ride due to illness/choice/pregnancy/other but would like an engaging, meaningful training ideas for you and your horse?

Do you have a horse or pony that needs better ground and/or ridden manners and you would like ideas for non-violent, force free education for him/her?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, bring your horse or pony to our friendly Groundwork Evenings.

We are starting with Wednesday evenings with a possibility of adding a day to match interest later on.

Come on your own or with a friend/group of friends 🙂 There will be 1 to 4 places available each evening.

£45/horse (includes £10 arena hire) – private
£35/horse (includes £10 arena hire) – shared

NO ARENA HIRE CHARGES FOR LIVERIES AT BRACKENHILL STUD

To book message us via our FB page HERE or call/txt Wiola at 0749 2202 400 www.aspireequestrianacademy.com

Training in style – Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy joins Boudica Equestrian as their first brand ambassador

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As someone who doesn’t really compete and who rarely features on photos on any social media material, I have never actively pursued any sponsorship or brand ambassadorship myself. I’d been sent items for reviews before and if I loved them they ended up reviewed on this blog but overall I thought it would be somewhat unfair to the brand since I wouldn’t be able to provide them with the all-so-important nowadays visuals to share and spread the word.

Another issue that has always stopped me from approaching any businesses was the fact that in my mind a coach should be on an impartial side and be able to recommend variety of brands since not all makes and styles suit everyone.

However, when Laura Williams discussed her ideas for branding with me upon launching her equestrian and leisure wear start up, Boudica, we realised we could help each other in many ways despite me not being in the competition limelight.

The values & ethics in equestrian industry vs brands we buy

The thing that captivated my attention in Laura’s approach was an emphasis on common values and beliefs when it comes to training horses and riders. I love the fact she wants to make this her strong branding statement because a thorough and horse friendly and rider biomechanics focused training is what inspires me to be better at my job every day.

In mainstream fashion and non-horsey brands it has become so common that almost now a part of everyone’s lives to be buying products and services from companies with certain image (following certain values & characteristics) – why not in Equestrian industry too 🙂

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Many brands under Boudica’s umbrella 

The fact Laura sources variety of products from selected brands is ideal for me. I would feel like an imposter promoting only one brand because I love variety and many different manufacturers have fabulous clothing ranges. I quite like an underdog of a company too if I find their items comfortable, durable and wear well! I feel Laura has a good sense of where and what to look for and I am excited to see what brands she will cooperate with!

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One of the Academy’s young riders, Sofija, all in pink at our Intensive Training Spring Camp 2018! Chillout leggings and UV baselayer

Creative collaboration

Anne and Chico Boudica collage
Anne and Chico at Aspire Equestrian Spring Camp 2018. Anne in Chillout Silver Jacket and me with Hiho silver leather bracelet 🙂 

From the word go we knew we wanted to create a valuable content around our collaboration. It’s not easy to stand out in a busy equestrian fashion market nowadays but we both love a challenge so hoping to bring an interesting addition to not-just-pretty pictures 🙂 On this note, if there is anything you are struggling with in your riding and would love to see another grassroots rider demonstrating different options of dealing with similar issues, comment below, email Wiola at aspire@outlook.com or join our training group (Join button in side bar) and discuss it there. I will try to respond to all suggestions via informative blog posts.

Favourite pieces 

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Quick breakfast croissant at the Aspire Equestrian Intensive Training Spring Camp 🙂 

I can’t finish this post without sharing my (so far!) favourite pieces from the current collection at Boudica. No particular order! I linked to each item if you wanted to check them out 🙂

  • The Chillout lightweight jacket – perfect for chilly mornings where it’s too warm for a jumper and too cold for a short sleeve only. I went for the Silver one but do love the black one too!
  • The Chillout leggings – I chose the navy ones with phone pocket; really comfortable, very easy to brush dirt and hair off without it sticking to the material, I use them for teaching in as well as dog walking, physio/Pilates sessions and everything in between. Love that the phone pocket is deep and on the right thigh as I use my camera phone a lot when teaching so it’s easy to grab it/put it away quickly.
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Aisha on Prince wearing grey Chillout leggings and black Montar gilet. I’m wearing the navy version of that gilet and navy Chillout leggings 
  • The double wrap bracelet from Hiho Silver – I don’t really wear jewellery/accessories around horses as I like to keep all my limbs and digits but do love this one as a “work accessory” 😉 !
  • The Montar Knit Sweater – I love me a grey, lightweight jumper/sweater 🙂 Super soft and warm enough for Spring/Summer chill or to layer up.
  • The Body Warmer/Gilet – super soft and warm, I didn’t want to take it off 🙂

Keep an eye for the Spring Camp tales coming up with many more fabulous photos and I am looking forward to working with Laura on some great content this year!

On the subject of Photography:

All photos above are copyright of Becky Bunce Photography and Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy. If you are interested in hiring a dependable photo cover for your events, don’t hesitate to contact Becky. She has a fantastic eye for a good moment and I now try to organise my events around her diary! 

Tilly awaits a new friend!

Having bred a beautiful filly foal by Royaldik, Tilly is now back in work and ready for a new friend to share her for weekday hacks and weekend lessons.

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We are seeking someone who is looking for a gentler training pace, who likes to work on finer details in riding, enjoys lateral work, might want to join in some low key dressage outings and who simply likes to stroll around the lanes on a dependable, fun little horse.

Flexible sharing arrangements tailored to suit and fun, educational training in a supportive Academy atmosphere awaits 🙂

Competent child over 13 welcomed to come for an assessment lesson.

Tilly is uncomplicated to handle and has been ridden by complete beginners and advanced riders alike. She’s ex riding school schoolmistress of a kind hard to find.

Tilly is based at Northolt, West London and must remain at the current yard. Please feel free to call Wiola at 0749 2202 400 or email aspire@outlook.com with any questions you might have.

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