I have just done the final filming session with one of our Aspire Video Library test-riders. I will very much miss our training but we need to focus on riders fully committed to Aspire programme to really present what the programme can do. Magda has been great to work with but declared to be happy with most of her training at the time saying she was happy with her competition results. She wasn’t prepared to make more changes so we needed to cross out some core elements of Aspire training. Nevertheless, I liked the rider and the horse and their drive to improve. I do believe in being relatively flexible in training approach at times and Magda bravely agreed for her progress to be made public so that alone was a proof to me that she was ready for a challenge. The rider remained fairly open-minded and gave her best during the sessions which made for a very enjoyable experience.
My initial training plan for the rider assumed a lot of work aimed at balance and suppleness (in-hand and ridden) but due to rider’s training beliefs we needed to alter that.
We did, however, went through all main points and started addressing stiffness and a holding seat in the rider to help progress towards more feeling, stable yet more supple seat which in turn will be eventually able to balance the horse without unnecessary tension. Long way still in front of Magda but considering the amount of training she did on these elements I think she made a good effort and showed proportional results.
The pictures below are a study of a few steps within a simple exercise: transitions within trot. The horse shown is a 4 1/2 year old warmblood (the great model for Aspire Video Library) ridden by his owner (our very brave Library case study!):
Photo on the right shows Liberado S in a moment of transition from a little trot (short steps) into a bigger trot that is closer in stride length to his working trot. The rider is doing a great job in initial transition asking for it with feel and attention to the horse’s balance. You can see that he pushed his body onwards and slightly upwards from an active hind legs, his whole top line rounded slightly, his wither & shoulder lifted and neck relaxed at the bottom and rounded through the crest automatically. You can see he is not overly happy in his work on these pictures but that has its root somewhere else and I will write about it in due time 🙂 You are all very welcome to have your guesses! Please leave a comment and in a few weeks time I will post videos tracing the work on a certain issue this lovely horse has in his basic training.
Today I wanted to share some footage which we filmed on Thursday. It was a hot day but with a slight breeze and sun behind the clouds so we had less flies (and they can be massive!) to deal with. That was just as well seeing we had quite a few horses scheduled to film…
The footage in this post shows an older mare whose previous job was having babies and her breeder now wants her prepared for sale. She has good jumping papers and had been used for breeding show-jumpers.
I will call her Grey Mare. As you will see from the video below, her natural way of going is tense, hollow and crooked. The 6 min video footage shows clips from about 30 minutes in total and I hope it shows how with a little patience, feel and will you can start to achieve results which immediately make riding a horse much more pleasant for both the horse and rider.
Teaching your horse to move well on a circle can help with keeping him/her sound because it decreases the stress on spine, joints, muscles and ligaments the crookedly moving horse exerts on those structures. It will also save you many frustrating hours of “more inside leg, kick kick!” which is pretty pointless to any horse. Thanks to intelligent lunging your horse will already know how to initiate the bend and you will be able to be much more subtle with your aids and seat.
If you have a horse that “motorbikes” around the corners and leans on one or the other shoulder struggling to bend, these sort of exercises can help a lot.
Here are two photos showing the shape of the Grey Mare on the circle before and after the exercises.