Category Archives: Aspire Equestrian News

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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New training support group by Aspire Equestrian…

By Wiola Grabowska

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When I first created a Facebook group to go with the Aspire coaching programmes I made it “Aspire riders access only’. I did so because I shared many videos from lessons, including live videos, and felt that I wanted that added learning opportunity to be exclusive for those riders who rode on my programmes. We also planned Aspire riders exclusive events, arena hires, training outings etc on there which again didn’t seem right to share publicly.

The more times I had to press the “Decline” button, however, the more I thought about the best solution for this issue because it didn’t make sense to turn away riders who were obviously interested in what we were doing. I am not sure why it took me so long to simply set up another, much more inclusive training support group, but finally the lightbulb moment arrived this week and here it is:

Aspire Equestrian – Training, Coaching and Horse Care Support

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Why a support group? 

For a long time I was thinking why are there so few discussion groups for riders who love to train and perhaps also compete yet who disagree with traditional methods of training in which horses “must do as told”; riders who are as interested in developing the horse from the ground up via classical in-hand work, progressive conditioning or perhaps even rehabilitative schooling and who focus on themselves as a big element in the game as much as they are interested in reaching their personal best with their horses.

There are many great divides in the equestrian world and I wanted to create a place where riders who love to train and who value understanding of how horses learn, move and think can meet for a constructive discussion or just a bit of support.

It is often believed that to train and compete riders have to exert certain amount of dominance over a horse (you know, “good ‘ol pony club kick etc) in order to be effective. I found this approach to be false and to be killing my enjoyment of training and teaching so decided to move away from it and thankfully, so did many riders in recent years. I realised that the belief that riders need to be focused, well balanced, aware of what is truly happening underneath them and able to act upon that awareness in order to not have to be dominant, worked for me as an educator.

With progressive training  of both physical and mental skills of both horse and rider and solid foundations there should be no need for lunging/ridden gadgets, aggressive riding, frustration and impatience.

It really can be a beautiful sport in a full meaning of this word: harmonious and a pleasure to watch and that’s the kind of sport I’d love to teach, watch and support.

If that’s your goals too, please feel free to join the group and let us know about your horse and your aims with him/her 🙂

Photo above:

Aspire Equestrian Spring Camp 2018 – Sofija on Ferris. We are not just browsing our phones but connecting on audio call at the start of the lesson 🙂 Photo by Becky Bunce Photography

The Aspire Spring Camp was supported by Boudica Equestrian

Applications are now open for new training places on the Academy programmes. Join us! Part 1: Jack & Amber

By Wiola Grabowska

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We are a small training initiative so places on the programmes don’t come up often and when they do, they usually become taken by friends of riders already on the programmes. For the first time in a long while, I’d like to invite applications from riders who perhaps have not come across such an opportunity before and would like to experience the Aspire Equestrian adventures! 

There are several places up for grabs this Spring thanks to fantastic owners I am lucky to work with who enjoy having sharers or loans on Academy programmes.

First go two absolutely fantastic ponies, Jack and Amber.

JACK – 13.2hh Welsh Section C. Available from 1st March 2018 (can be stabled at Northolt or Henley on Thames)

JACK IN A NUTSHELL

screen-shot-2017-10-02-at-21-47-42-e1506979276112.pngSuper, versatile pony with a huge willingness to please. Sensitive but sensible, can be ridden by a child, lightweight teenager or a small adult. Jack is a true all-rounder, is easy to do, very affectionate and a true “people’s person”. Brave and spirited yet perfectly suitable for bitless and bareback training. 

RIDER PROFILE FOR JACK

You will: 

– be a caring, patient yet adventurous rider who enjoy developing own flatwork/dressage, jumping, cross-country, hacking skills;

– enjoy taking part in training outings, arena hires, Intensive Training Camps and/or low key unaffiliated shows 

– 13 years or older and maximum 8st (younger riders possible if capable riders)

– happy to take Jack on a minimum of 6 months loan (ideally 1 year)

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For more photos and information on financial commitment please see our website: http://www.aspireequestrianacademy.com/training-loan-horses 

If you would like to chat through this opportunity please feel free to call Wiola on 0749 2202 400 or email aspire@outlook.com

Update 22/03/2018 ****AMBER IS NOW TAKEN*****

GRYFINDOR AMBER FLAME (AMBER) – 13.2hh Welsh Section C. Available from 20th March 2018

AMBER IN A NUTSHELL

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Experienced, ex-competition, one in a million kind of pony with numerous Pony Club wins to her name in previous loan homes. Now a very capable schoolmistress, fantastic in the arena with less confident riders but still with plenty of exuberance with more adventurous ones.

RIDER PROFILE FOR AMBER

Amber is available for Start (complete beginner rider) programme or Foundation (novice rider) programme to give her a quieter life she now deserves. She is a fantastic, confidence giving pony with larger than life character and would be a wonderful friend to someone wanting to learn the foundations of riding skills with. Suitable for children 10 years +, small teenager or a small adult (maximum 8 stone for a learner rider).

For more photos and information on financial commitment please see our website: http://www.aspireequestrianacademy.com/training-loan-horses 

If you would like to chat through this opportunity please feel free to call Wiola on 0749 2202 400 or email aspire@outlook.com

A couple of more places will be available soon at the UB5 location and at Henley on Thames. Stay tuned or email now to be informed as soon as the places come up!

Photo memories from September Hunter Trial at Rosehill

By Wiola Grabowska

It doesn’t always happen that we manage to coordinate the riders from both yards I run the Academy from but this time both the London and Brackenhill Stud based riders were able to do the same event on the same day.

If someone told me three years ago that this little coaching project will have grown as it has and included all these fantastically supportive members and committed riders it has right now, I probably would have told them not to be so stupidly optimistic 😉 Here’s to another three years and what they bring!

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Aisha on Prince and Del on Boo. Photo by Mitchell Gash. For Aisha the mission was to take Prince round safely around their first hunter trial together. For Del – well, it was his first hunter trial full stop so the aim was to complete safely! He first got the taste of XC riding during the Summer Camp in August and we organised for additional two schooling sessions before the Trials. 
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Kate with Jack (left) and Kelly with Mojo (right) getting ready for the 70cm pairs. It was Mojo’s first hunter trial after several XC schooling sessions at a few venues and Kelly’s major goal was to give him a fun, confidence giving round to teach him the ropes.
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Caitlin and Mollie – after several very nervous XC attempts, this was to be Caitlin’s first hunter trial with Mollie and we were aiming for calm, stress free round 😉 
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Jasmine and Amber – another first timers together! Jasmine’s first Hunter Trial on an experienced super pony that is Amber. The mission was to enjoy, stay calm and finish in one piece 😉 They had a fantastic round! 
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Tack check before the start – Jasmine and Amber
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Some of the awesome crowd that keeps this coaching project on the road 🙂 
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Boo and Del warming up for their round. Photo by Mitchell Gash
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Aisha’s mum, Lou helping with the grooming on the day. It’s all a team effort 🙂 Photo by Mitchell Gash
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We joked about it and he’d just gone and won it! 1st place for Del and Boo in their class after a clear, flowing round inside the time. Having started his lessons on Academy’s programme in January this year from complete basics on the lunge, Del has been a  fabulous student, progressed steadily and we are upgrading the goals as we go! 🙂
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5th for Caitlin and Mollie – strike a pose 😉 Lovely, calm round which will hopefully be the first of many confidence building ones 🙂 Photos by Tatiana Thorpe. 

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Catch it Quick Photography

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Caitlin took her super cob Jasper round too. We initially entered Jasper HC for laughs with me to ride him but I re-injured my hip and had to pull out. I think Caitlin had good fun on him instead 😉 Catch it Quick Photography
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Jasper flying through the woods 🙂 Photo by Catch it Quick Photography
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Aisha and Prince – super round for this pair improving on so many points we work on in our weekly lessons 🙂 Photo by Mitchell Gash

 

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Kelly and Mojo in last gallop stretch towards the Finish line after a superb clear round over all 19 jumps. Mojo is “growing up” each time he goes out 🙂 

 

Attn of: Equestrian Photographers developing their portfolios

Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy is looking for:

A very special person to stand behind the lenses during our Intensive Training Camp (18th-20th August at Rosehill Equestrian, Henley on Thames, RG9 3EB) as the lovely Christine Dunnington who usually shoots us beautifully, is away.

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Christine Dunnington Photography, Gilly and Mairi 

This would suit someone building their photography portfolio rather than an established professional (but all experiences welcome!).

What’s involved?

– Two and a half days of photo – documenting training adventures of 9-10 riders and their horses (flatwork/dressage, jumping, XC training sessions and off horse rider training sessions)

YOU:

– might need a mix of skills of a wedding photographer/portrait and equine knowledge and ninja expertise 😉
– will be able to be invisible when needed and put riders at ease with your presence
– enjoy capturing precious moments, lightbulb moments, training moments, relationship between horse and rider and the bond they have as they train

What’s in it for you:

– possibility to offer selected photos for sale to the riders taking part
– possibility to pitch own creative photo ideas to me and “use” any willing riders and horses to play with those
– possibility to meet new potential clients and wow them with your photos
– possibility to join our fun BBQ 😉

How will the photos be used:

I will choose selection of photos from the weekend on which you could place your logo and they would be extensively shared on Aspire Equestrian social media and blog offering you an exposure among grassroots sports focused horsey audience.

Please see a photo report from our latest camp here but all creative input more than welcome! https://aspireequestrian.wordpress.com/…/aspire-equestrian…/

Any questions please message me on here via comments or email aspire@outlook.com
I really hope to meet one of you out there and build some awesome photo memories with your help  

Thank you!
Wiola

Time to grow the Academy! Don’t miss the new training places available… Place 2 of 3 – with full loan of Gilly on Foundation to Performance Programme.

Earlier this year I decided to open several more places on the Academy programmes and it’s time to invite further 3 riders to join us! Place one of two – with Oscar and place two of three – with Gilly.

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Mairi and Gilly at Cherwell Competition Centre – 8th July 2017

Meet Gilly, 16.3hh, Irish Sports Horse gelding owned by Georgia Reed and currently on full loan to one of the Academy riders, Mairi. Having decided she is ready to buy her own horse, Mairi will be terminating full loan contract on Gilly but Georgia is happy for him to stay with us with another rider. Don’t miss this place as Gilly is one of those hard to find horses that will jump his heart out for you and will work well on the flat too. 

 

This is a very unique opportunity to join the Academy team with a horse that is already settled within a routine that suits him and who works well with variety of different riders. He would suit both a learner rider and a competent, competitive one who would like to train harder.

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As with all horses and riders who are part of the Academy programme, we put emphasis on a thorough education of the rider and wellness focused training of the horse. The place would suit a rider interested in developing their riding and horsemanship skills in a friendly, motivational and fun environment within a grassroots sports team.

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Gilly and Mairi learning Shoulder In in-hand 

Gilly will come into your life with a unique and attractive Aspire coaching livery package including:

  • weekly training and coaching support – fully bespoke and flexible (£160/month)
  • full and very supportive livery care (please see contact details for more information)
  • one or two sharers who ride once a week and contribute substantially to the full livery costs (up to £160),
  • inspirational training vibe that will encourage you to train to your best self
  • access to help & advice around the clock

Location: Northolt, Middlesex/West London (UB5)

Email or call Wiola on 0749 2202 400  aspire@outlook.com for full details. 

Available: from mid August 2017

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If you are a dreamer and hard worker – join us 🙂 

Time to grow the Academy! Don’t miss the new training places available… Place 1 of 3 – with training share of Oscar on Development Programme.

Earlier this year I decided to open several more places on the Academy programmes and it’s time to invite further 3 riders to join us! Place one – with Oscar.

Meet Oscar, 16.1hh, 6 year old Irish Sports Horse gelding owned by Paige Burford. 

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Oscar is a young horse with a history of a few serious injuries which means he requires sympathetic and thorough approach to training in order to help him develop further. He can be straightforward to ride on his good day and might need more rider’s guidance on his weaker days. He can be quirky but his behaviour is not dangerous, it is more of a schooling quirkiness than violent playfulness.

Rider Profile for this training place: 

Oscar is available for the rider ready to join our Development Programme i.e. one who:

  • is aware of natural crookedness of every horse and how this affects their performance;
  • has stable basic seat in walk, trot and canter, stable light seat over poles/cavalleti and is happy jumping small jumps (2’6 to 3ft)
  • has a calm and patient attitude to schooling
  • has plenty of curiosity about how to help a horse work to its best and has a strong desire to learn more about schooling for soundness and longevity
  • is confident enough to be able to remain relaxed and calm when dealing with horse’s balance and straightness issues like falling in and out on turns and circles (no need to be gang – ho, simply being confident in own seat and balance is all Oscar needs)
  • loves solving schooling puzzles!
  • loves training and taking young horses out and about to learn more about life and compete from time to time at grassroots levels of dressage and/or jumping.

Oscar schooling

Full offer: 

  • weekly lessons (more frequent training options also available)
  • opportunity to take Oscar to training trips (lessons at variety of venues – flatwork, jumping, XC)
  • Intensive Training Camps
  • shows

How it Works

All Academy training for riders without own horses (or wanting to join in without own horse) is based on riders loaning or sharing suitable horses at the venue the training takes place. Availability of training places depends on availability of those horses. More information on our website http://www.aspireequestrianacademy.com. Please have a look around before contacting us so you can familiarise yourself with the coaching offer and decide if it’s for you. Happy to answer any questions and queries anytime 🙂 

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Available from: 1st July 2017

Minimum training commitment required: 3 months (but priority given to riders interested in long term training adventures)

Location: Northolt, West London/Middlesex (UB5)

Costs: 

Monthly loan/share: £80

Lessons: £40/lesson (minimum 4 lessons a month)

JOIN US 🙂 Please contact Wiola at aspire@outlook.com if you would like to organise a visit, meet Oscar and discuss the opportunity further. 

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Personal bests for Robyn and Merehead at BCA’s BE90!

Huge congratulations to the lovely, if a little mad, event riders on Aspire’s Performance Programme – Emma Brinkworth with her own Merehead and Lou Crow with Laura Williams’ Robyn.

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Emma and Merehead. BE90. BCA 

If you follow our Instagram and training updates you will know both Robyn and Merehead are ex-racehorses with sometimes too much blood buzzing in their heads but I love the challenge of training the pair and the riders do too.

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Lou and Robyn. BE90. BCA

I don’t normally get too involved in their XC training but we work diligently on many aspects of flatwork and jumping and these are the areas I look for improvements (and expect them at the Programme they are both on 😉 ).

I was over the moon to hear Lou got her best dressage test on grass yet (Robyn was very un-confident on grass and struggled a lot, still a work in progress) and Merehead gave Emma a first, controlled and pleasant show jumping round.

Well done ladies!!

Next stop: BE90 at Offchurch on the 3rd of July. Keeping all crossed for as good or better results there 🙂

 

“Has anything ‘good’ come out of blogging?”

I don’t consider myself any kind of a star but it was a pleasure to contribute to Rhea Freeman’s series on why it’s good to blog…:)

“Has anything ‘good’ come out of blogging?

I don’t even know where to start here and how to keep it to a few lines! I would totally monopolise Aspire EquestrianRhea’s blog space if I accounted for every amazing opportunity blogging has brought me in the last 10 years!
One of my most memorable blogging “goods” was being invited to learn from[…]”

Read my full interview on Rhea Freeman’s website HERE 🙂 

Photo: Christine Dunnington Photography

Training show at Oaklands Collage

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Mairi Mackay aka Mary Macken (as the commentator decided to re-name her) and Farmer’s Boy (Gilly)

As part of the programmes for all the riders on regular Academy training I offer support at events. I do question my sanity sometimes with this as it does mean crazy amount of hours out and about but seeing the riders riding other than on home soil is pretty invaluable for any further lessons plans.

Warm ups are stressful and often the horse “does” the class well or not so well depending on how he/she is ridden before he/she goes in the ring.  From teaching point of view it is really interesting how different the riders ride in the warm up at a show in comparison to the simulated warm up at home. Day and night. Nerves, horse’s behaviour, unpredictable environment, real or perceived pressure from family and friends – everything together creates a rather buzzy cocktail 😉

The today’s show was a small, unaffiliated show – jumping show and it gave me plenty of ideas for the London gang. Note to self: take a chair next time! 

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