Tag Archives: Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy

Through coach’s eye: Post Summer Camp 2017 reflections. Day 2 of 3

This Summer Camp 2017 was the first one of upgraded versions of intensive training camps I have been organising in the last few years. We incorporated a training show into it with Life Savings as its Patron (more on the Show later), added sponsored awards and much more focus on the rider’s technique than ever before. I loved it and the riders seemed to as well. We already have bigger plans for next year but for now, let me reflect on this year’s experiences in stages…

DAY 2 – JUMPING SKILLS FOCUS

If you haven’t read DAY 1 reflections and would like to stay on track, here it is: RIDER FOCUS DAY 1 

MORNING SESSIONS 

Day two was all about jumping skills. The morning sessions were based on tempo control for most riders with the demands adjusted to the individual riding skills.

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Kelly and Mojo

Hover over the photos for rider’s and horse’s names.

It has always been drummed into me that to jump well one needs a very good feel for tempo as well as be able to maintain the exact speed for several minutes at the time. Whilst this might seem like an easy task, many situations challenge that exactness. Turns, corners, circles, all have their bearing on horse’s balance, power/impulsion, energy level and straightness.

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Derek and Boo. Currently most novice adult rider on the Academy programme but climbing the skills ladder in style 😉 Winner of the Change Maker Award.

Exercise 1 asked the riders to be able to set a canter at the speed of 325 mpm and maintain it for 1 minute. We set a minute marker and roughly measured the 325 meters. After several goes, everyone nailed this exercise but the differences between tempo control on one rein and the other were quite significant for most combinations which I hope gave everyone a food for thought.

Hover over the photos for rider’s and horse’s names.

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Laura and Robyn – the Summer Camp Trophy Winners (more on how and why the winner and other awarded riders were chosen will be up in Part 3). Laura made very fast changes to her riding on Saturday. Being a tall rider on a relatively small and very sensitive TB mare, it was not always easy for her to adjust but her determination to help the mare move and jump better and her very fast seat change from training round to show round (after watching and discussing her footage) put her in the lead.

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Gemma and Ozzy. Winners of the Coach’s Award. These guys ruled the Camp and Gemma reached pretty much all the goals she set herself for the weekend!

On photo above, I am passing some branches with leaves to Gemma. Ozzy is a very laid back character and generating energy is not always his priority. I think finding what motivates each horse to move is the key. Kicking and generally escalating leg aids is my personal pet hate in riding solutions so I prefer to look outside of the box. Gemma went with the idea (another reason of many why she did get the Coach’s Award) and a little bit of forest around the shoulders did give Ozzy enough flair to allow the rider to improve his posture and way of going further.

Exercise 2

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Aisha and Prince (an ex-racehorse raced in the past by AP McCoy – Prince’s claim to fame 😉 )

Once we had the tempo on the flat under control, I added two cavaletti/small jumps, one on each side of the arena half way the long side of it. It’s interesting how even  a tiny jump can affect all canter skills…My idea was to stay put until everyone got it as well as I thought they were capable of unless it meant over-working the horse. It worked and I was very pleased with everyone’s efforts.

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Kelly and Mojo

I believe the good feel for the right kind of canter is a huge part of jumping skill and developing that in the riders is one of my top priorities whatever their level.

Throughout these exercises I added individual corrections to suit the goals each rider set for themselves before the Camp for the duration of the weekend. It was possibly one of the most influential training session of the Camp as I wanted to see if the riders were able to apply Friday’s lessons into their riding as well as staying focused on new demands.

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AFTERNOON SESSIONS

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Gemma and Ozzy

The afternoon consisted of training sessions over a course & Training Show Round. This kind of show has been on my mind for a while and the Summer Camp 2017 provided a perfect testing grounds. I asked all riders to wear competition gear to get them in the right frame of mind 😉

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Caitlin and Mollie. The youngest rider at the Camp who was one of my top three up to the afternoon when her mare knocked herself on the pole hard enough to cause a problem and had to be retired from the rest of the Saturday. She was fine for the Day 3 (XC & Dressage), more on this pair later.

THE SHOW

I wanted to create a kind of show that would award partnership, style and performance in that order and I was assessing the riders in that exact order too. I do believe riding is a team sport of sorts – the team spirit between horse & rider should shine through every step on the course. I don’t mean here the vigorous whipping or other means of “hard” riding in order to get over a jump or any other methods that have fear or abuse at their roots. I don’t find it “class”, “brave”, “admirable” etc nor did I want to foster an environment in which the horse was some kind of an enemy to conquer over the course of jumps.

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Kate and Jack. Kate had a fabulous Friday sessions but a few mistakes on Saturday put her out of top three. She still showed some great improvements but the other riders stepped up to the challenge and kept the progress rate exceeding expectations.

The style referred to rider’s seat and way of riding – again all adjusted to the individual skills level and I didn’t expect those riders who only started to jump to show any particular perfection ;). However, riding in balance with a horse is what personally drives me in my own improvement and I always strive to pass that mission on to everyone I teach.

Performance referred to results but not in terms of poles down but in terms of meeting personal goals for the horses and riders.

All rules of the show were set with this in mind.

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Emma and Merehead. Emma set herself a stretch goal for the Camp and that was to jump her ex-racehorse Merehead over a 1m to 1.05m course in preparation for their move to BE100. Here they are cruising over their nemesis oxer off a tight turn on the left rein.

The training round:

  • focused on practicing some component of skilful course riding: tempo control, control of balance in turns, maintaining suitable impulsion in canter in front of the jump and rider’s position and its influence on horse’s ability to jump well.

The show round – consisted of 2 phases: 

  • phase 1: ride the course – “trial” round
  • dismount and watch your round on video straight away
  • 10 minutes discussion on what was good and what could be done better
  • phase 2: ride the course – “show round”

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Emma watching her training round and discussing how to ride the Show Round better

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Chatting through turns options with Gemma after their training round and before the Show round

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Caitlin and Mollie

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Paige and Oscar. Bronze Medal Winners for continued improvements from Friday to Sunday in all ridden sessions

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Lauren and Gilly – Gold Medal Winners for fabulous attitude towards all sessions at the Camp – both ridden and off-horse and her steely determination to overcome her nerves with her playful partner in crime 😉 They made very good corrections between their training and show round!

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Kelly and Mojo in the grid – Silver Medal Winners for superb training attitude and improvement in all sessions from Friday to Sunday. She rushed through the first phase of the afternoon so had no chance to correct the training round mistakes to what I believe was within reach but nevertheless showed great riding and very good focus.

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I had to add this photo 😉 Hayley just a little bit happy (or petrified!) 😉

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Hayley and Nugget – first time at the Camp with some mishaps, trials and tribulations but they lasted till the end!

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Day 3 reflections with Cross Country, Dressage and Awards Ceremony coming soon 🙂

Photos Copyright: www.beckybuncephotography.co.uk

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 🙂 

Aspire Equestrian Intensive Training Camp Spring 2017. Photo Report.

Words by Wiola Grabowska
Photography: Christine Dunnington Photography
The atmosphere, the effort and the fabulous training spirit: The Riders

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The 5th Aspire Equestrian Training Camp – Spring Camp 2017 – The Team. From left to right: Lou and Robyn, Gemma and Ozzy, Aisha and Prince, Sasha and Boo, Sofija and Jasper, Kate and Jack, Kelly and Mojo, Paige and Oscar, Caitlin and Mollie. Myself in front of the riders (as instructed by Christine and damn she was right – love the photo!)

There is so much planning and thoughts that lead to Academy’s Intensive Training Camps that it’s hard to believe when one is done and dusted!

Our host for The Spring Camp 2017 was Oldefields Equestrian Centre in Seer Green, Buckinghamshire. Huge thumbs up for this venue as even though they have been undergoing some extensive improvements works, we felt welcomed and comfortably left to enjoy the facilities of which their 40×70 ish m arena was a luxury we don’t have at home.

A few of my own reflections

The actual Camp is a whirlwind for me and probably the biggest challenge is to switch quickly between teaching different riders, different horses, different tasks, different learning styles, personalities and characters, in such a way that the sessions bring the best out of the horses and riders.

I feel I am getting better with each Camp but still plenty to improve. It’s important to me that all the riders retain their own styles of riding with just the core foundations and structure in place.

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I don’t want to train carbon copies and my personal coaching challenge is always is teaching certain basics of horsemanship and training values that matter to me and become so solid, so confirmed, so ingrained that they simply provide an unbreakable foundations for the riders to grow on in their own style.

The key is that the rider treats the horse with respect and knowledge of how the animal learns – both from physical and mental point of view, what makes them do what they do. I have zero tolerance for violence in training and zero tolerance for riders who think it’s horse’s ‘fault’ something isn’t happening.

I feel very lucky to teach the kind of riders I do, they keep me on my toes and challenge me for sure but I wouldn’t have it any other way and hope they are able to continue riding with me long term 🙂

Enjoy the photos 🙂 

THE CANDID SCENES 

THE TRAINING SNAPS

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Sunday jump session

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Saturday morning flatwork

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Gymnastic jumping session

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Group go at leg-yield on the wall

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Group go at leg-yield by the fence.

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Last session: stretch and relaxation on the lunge

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Saturday gymnastic jumping session

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One handed to improve steering with the seat and weight aids

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Improving posture in-hand

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Sunday jumping session

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Gymnastic jumping session

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Last session: leg-yield on the wall

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One handed – improving riders’ feel for turning aids with the seat

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Sunday jump session

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Leg-yield in hand

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Gymnastic jumping session

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Saturday. Gymnastic jumping session

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Gymnastic jumping session

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Last session: Stretch on the ground

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Last session: experimenting with different postures and how they affect the horse’s way of going. Here Ozzy is going too deep in his neck frame but he is by no means made to do so with any strength. He’s a young horse changing postures all the time.

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Leg yield

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Saturday. Gymnastic jumping session

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One handed part of the session to help the riders discover more seat aids. Focus on stirrup weight and how subtle weight aids do the job

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Last session: group leg-yield on the wall. Not easy!

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Last session: stretching and relaxing all the muscles

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Saturday afternoon gymnastic jumping

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Sunday morning jump session: line of oxers to build riders’ feel for stronger canter

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Sunday morning jump session

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One handed to switch on rider’s seat aids

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Gymnastic jumping session

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Gymnastic jumping session

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Gymnastic jumping session

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Leg-yield

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Experimenting with size of the circle and body position to help the horse find more comfortable posture

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Learning coordination in leg-yield alongside the fence

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One handed riding to “switch on” seat riding

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Gymnastic jumping

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Last session: having a go at a leg yield on the wall in the group

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Finding centred position in the saddle

 

RIDERCISE SESSION WITH CLARE GANGADEEN 

On Sunday morning we spent 2h with the founder of RiderCise, Clare Gangadeen, who ran a variety of test exercises to help everyone build more awareness of their own individual strengths and weaknesses from the rider fitness point of view.

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“Clare is a qualified and insured, PT, Functional Coach and Soft Tissue Therapist with over 12 years experience in the Fitness Industry and 20 years riding experience” www.ridercise.co.uk

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“If a rider is disadvantaged by their riding fitness, strength, mobility, flexibility, motor skills and/or Muscular-Skeletal health/ symmetry it can affect the way the horse is able to perform and may even cause many of the issues we heavily invest in correcting.” www.ridercise.co.uk

Next Intensive Training Camp is planned for August and we are on the lookout for a suitable venue to hire 🙂

Until Summer Camp!

All the best,

Wiola

Huge thank you to:

18318021_10154462437777681_1643049852_oChristine Dunnington (left on Jasper in her Friday session) for hundreds of photos and videos taken during this Camp as well as hours of help behind the scenes;

Kelly Hill, the Academy’s livery head honcho, for all the assistance and help with making this Camp happen;

Gemma Hill for legging back to home yard to teach our youngest rider who didn’t attend the camp and for making a super video out of many vlog clips we took for our in-house enjoyment;

Tatiana and Gary Thorpe for all-round support and a fantastic BBQ on Saturday night;

Lou Crow for helping me get home in the evenings!

And all the riders for making these Camps so much fun to run! 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Aspire Grassroots Clinic in Poland – May 2016

A friend who works in the fashion industry once told me that there is rarely a focus on the present in her job, there is always next season to forecast and new patterns, colours and cuts to be chosen many months ahead. You plan summer stock in the winter and winter one in the summer.

When I plan the activities within the Academy, the conversation on the above pops into my head. The daily training is the only time I can walk into an arena and just work on here and now. Alongside of those in-the-presence moments, things take shape months before they actually happen and it’s the same with Aspire’s weekend clinics and camps.

We aren’t preparing a collection for Marks & Spencer or getting ready to ride for Rio but I find all the training much more rewarding if I try to run it to the best of my abilities.

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Come along with me as I reflect a little on the 3 day intensive training weekend aka Aspire Grassroots Clinic, we have just finished near Warsaw, Poland!

Locations:

Yard 1: Stajnia Sabat, Granica near Warsaw

Yard 2: Duchnice, Nowy Dwor Mazowiecki near Warsaw

Format of the clinic

For the Academy’s UK riders:

Friday

•in-hand and groundwork sessions to get to know the horses. The main task was to assess the horses, determine quality of their paces, guess how might they ride and what schooling challenges might they have.

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•All riders also had a task to come up with a short training plan for “their” horse and try to improve upon what they found.

Saturday and Sunday:

•Morning flatwork and afternoon jumping sessions.

For the Polish riders:

Friday – re-assessment sessions to catch up on state of affairs since last clinic

Saturday and Sunday – sessions focused on particular goals for each pair.

Some people love the buzz of competing, I love the buzz of training. Figuring out the new horses and how to pair them up with the riders to test the right skills, finding ways to help riders who I only see twice a year – no show or event seems to match the challenge for me.

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15 riders took part in the May clinic and they ranged from a beginner rider learning to canter to grassroots competition riders and trainers/instructors. It was a very good mix of experiences for me to work with and the whole weekend was much less tiring than my previous ones as I learnt on my mistakes and got some on-the-job help this time!

Gemma, the young instructor who teaches the Aspire Kids Academy programme in London, came along with me to take notes, photos, videos and help with the running of the days which let me just focus on the actual teaching.

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My family’s involvement is the usual part of these clinics and as always their help behind the scenes had been invaluable yet again. That team work is what makes those weekends so special as most of the time I do everything by myself. Sharing both the workload and stress of organising a larger event but also the enjoyment of it all is on a different level of fun 🙂

Each day started about 5.30 – 6am for Gemma, me and my Dad who drove us in between the yards. The weather was kind to us and we had a beautifully sunny, warm weekend with plenty of opportunities for the oddest patterns of sun tan!

 

 

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Seeing my UK riders on horses they have never met before was a great teaching treat as they did a fabulous job. The Polish riders always have a difficult task of connecting different training systems but everyone is very willing to give new ideas a go.

We received a very good feedback from everyone and hopefully we will be back on the road again in the autumn this year.

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Although I only open these clinics to regular Aspire Academy riders I would encourage any “one horse rider” to find similar opportunities and ride an unknown horse in a structured training clinic. Such experience comes with a huge dose of learning experiences that can give you a plethora of new feels, reactions and ability to interpret your own horse’s schooling needs more accurately.

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If you are a young instructor looking into improving your teaching, I would recommend taking on a challenge of running small clinics. There aren’t many more testing environments for a coach/instructor than to throw themselves into a 14h teaching day, dealing with unpredictability of the horses, riders’ moods, training issues that come fast one after another. You will challenge your own quickness of thought, resilience under pressure, patience and ability to stay calm when everything is “yes but…” 😉

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You might just want to quit teaching altogether after your first day ever 😉 but if you keep on it, you will start seeing so many more details it will make you feel you have eyes at the back of your head!

I am already looking forward to my next challenge 🙂

Please visit our Facebook page for many more photos with short captions that can hopefully give you more of an idea of the content of the sessions.

Happy training 🙂

Wiola

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***NEW*** ASPIRE COACHING LIVERY in collaboration with BRACKENHILL STUD

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This project has been brewing behind the scenes for quite some time now and I am delighted to finally share the news with you all!

From August 2015, I am teaming up with Brackenhill Stud in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire to bring an exciting new service to aspiring amateur riders.

This collaboration opens up an opportunity to like minded riders with own horses to livery and train in one place where there are fabulous facilities and a friendly and supportive group of other aspiring riders. You can join Brackenhill livery long term or come on bespoke programme basis for a few months of intensive coaching, motivation and inspiration 🙂

Please see Aspire website for more information on the coaching side of the project: Aspire Equestrian Coaching Livery with Brackenhill Stud and the Brackenhill Stud’s website for more information about the yard.

And here is a little video showing you the yard and the kind of training options available. We hope this 7min ish footage will help you decide whether our service is that something you are potentially looking for!

The Coaching Livery will work on the basis of Aspire programmes and riders across all levels are welcome. In short: 

Start Programme – it’s a lunge training based programme of 12 to 14 weeks which focuses on the seat of the rider, communication, basic in-hand work and groundwork.

Foundation Programme – novice/intermediate level riders, all-round, general coaching towards being a confident and sympathetic rider and horse person.

Development Programme – riders who focus their training on progression of not only oneself but also on athletic development of the horse. Intermediate to Advanced level, confident in all paces and able to make a difference to horse’s way of going thanks to own competence. Focus is 80% on training at home and max 20% on competition schedule.

Performance Programme – coaching for riders who train to compete. I personally focus on lower to medium levels (BE Novice, BS to 1.20m and Dressage to Elementary/Medium). My emphasis is on style, sympathetic communication with the horse and overall performance not simply on results.

Feel free to email Wiola at aspire@outlook.com with any questions you might have and please share this news with any riders who you think might want to join us for no gadgets, aspirational and inspirational training environment with many exciting plans ahead!

All the best,

Wiola

Through coach’s eye: Reflections Before a Clinic

I know of trainers who can just turn up and teach 20 riders over couple of days without much preparation and I do envy them! 😉 Although I could do it, I always think that a little reflection and some thoughts on the riders I only see twice a year helps me do my job better. Perhaps it’s an illusion and perhaps I run the same content I would have if I didn’t prepare at all but somehow looking through videos from previous clinics and my notes on each rider gives a peace of mind and a feeling that I have done what I could to offer best coaching help I am capable of.

Tomorrow I will hop on a plane to Poland to see some lovely riders whom I last saw 27-28 September 2014 (see photos from the clinic HERE) and meet some new riders who joined the livery yard this year. I can’t prepare much for the new riders since I will see them for the first time but I am spending today re-watching the video footage from September (another great bonus of filming riders! I don’t trust my memory so much to remember what I worked on with each person in detail!).

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Here is what I make mental notes of: 

1. How each rider and horse worked over the weekend – general overview (were the exercises useful, was the horse relaxed and content with work load, was the pair challenged enough/too much, what homework did I leave them with etc etc)

2. Skim through details of each exercise so I can see what improvement have been achieved when I see them this weekend

3. Rider’s seat – what did I work on with each rider, what effect it had on the horse. This again lets me compare with the now and make sure I don’t make assumptions.

4. Main training issues of the horse – many a time riders describe a plethora of issues and problems they want to work on but it is not possible to help with them all in one or two sessions so I normally focus on 1-3 aspects that I think have the biggest bearing on other problems. When I re-watch I look with a fresh perspective so when I go now I might have an idea if we focused on the correct thing at the time.

10648431_10152446397027659_5638156908634626799_o5. Main issues of the rider – as above in horse’s case but although I listed it as fifth, this is the most important focus of all of my clinics. I believe strongly that it’s the rider who needs to know what to do and how to do it in order for the training to have much meaning once the weekend is over.

6. Riders’ goals, ambitions and training needs. Although I have fairly good overall memory of riders’ I teach and once I see them I can recall the core training stuff we did in the past, I do like to reflect on the fact whether MY coaching met their needs and if not, how I can change that.

If you run clinics yourself, how do you prepare for them? If you attend clinics, what are your motivations on joining them? Always curious of your views and ideas 🙂 Please comment away!

All the best,

Wiola

NOT TO BE MISSED :) One coaching space on Aspire programme in London is coming up!

Hello dear Readers and Friends 🙂

A rare space on Aspire programme for non-horse owner is coming up in London (West London) with a 14.3hh all-rounder small horse!

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Larry will be available from next week and will suit a teenager or a small adult who would like to join the Aspire coaching programme at Foundation or Development level (please see Aspire website for details if you are not familiar with the programmes: http://www.aspireequestrianacademy.com/#!riding-programmes-for-non-owners/czxg )

Days available for lessons: Tuesdays and/or Fridays (early evenings also a possibility)

Location: Northolt, West London

Great opportunity for someone who loves to train regularly and is after consistency, progress and “own horse” experience 🙂 As usual, minimum 3 months commitment required (preference will be given to a rider wanting to join in for 6 months +).

How it works: All non-horse owners on Aspire programmes share their “training horses”. You will become a sharer of Larry and your lessons will be on Tuesdays and/or Fridays. You can change between the days too or go for twice a week training. Your lessons will be private or shared with one other rider depending on lesson content and your experience.

For more details please email Wiola at aspire@outlook.com

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Look forward to introducing a new rider to our London team 🙂  Please share this post with anyone you think might love Aspire coaching and would like to sign up!

All the best,

Wiola

NOT TO BE MISSED :) One training space available on Aspire Development Programme in London

JASPER From mid May 2015 I will have 1 training space available for a rider wanting to train at Development Programme level (good basic seat and learning to school the horse sympathetically) on a lovely, young cob. Location: West London (near Ealing Broadway). Training time: Saturdays. Adorable horse, 16hh gelding, very easy to do, quality show cob in the making. Great opportunity for someone who loves to train regularly and is after consistency, progress and “own horse” experience 🙂 As usual, minimum 3 months coaching and weekly horse share commitment required (but longer preferable for this lovely chap). How it works: http://www.aspireequestrianacademy.com/#!riding-programmes-for-non-owners/czxg For more details please email Wiola at aspire@outlook.com Funny video of Jasper last month:

UPDATE 25 April 2015

Jasper is now taken following a successful assessment of the rider who is now joining us on Development programme 🙂 Wishing you wonderful time with Jasper, Indra!

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Due to increasing numbers of London riders wanting to ride on Aspire programmes…

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Due to increasing numbers of London riders interested in Aspire’s coaching programme, I am looking to work with a centre nearby (30min from Central London) so not all London riders have to trek all the way to Berkshire or Hampshire every week.

My training is horse friendly and rider centred – the courses aim to inspire, motivate and educate those riders who ride for improvement, ethical sport and joy of being around horses. We offer positive, dynamic tuition that is creative and fun.

Any of the below or all available as part of the cooperation: 

– committed, passionate instructor happy to help with existing business

– quality tuition for existing liveries if needed/wanted at special rates

– freelance teaching cover

– schooling for ponies and horses ridden, groundwork, in-hand

– teaching training for trainee instructors – quality “teaching to teach” service

– assistance with marketing & PR

– overall helping hand

I am looking for someone with Aspire values and passion for equestrian grassroots sports…If that’s you, or you know of someone I could contact, pleasedrop an email to Wiola at aspire@outlook.com 

ALSO LOOKING FOR CENTRES ANYWHERE IN THE UK WHO WOULD LIKE TO HOST OUR ASPIRE TRAINING GET-AWAYS! (These are bootcamp training weekends and weeks – please get in touch if you have 4-5 lovely horses we could hire for training, good lesson’s facilities, safe hacking and a local B&B).

Thank you!

Wiola Grabowska BHSAI/INT’T

www.aspir1.wix.com/aspireequestrian2014

Photo updates from some of the Aspire training sessions – September edition

For all of you who don’t visit us on Facebook but enjoy following other riders’ training adventures, here are some photo updates from some of the training sessions in September so far 🙂

 September: good balance is a moment in time. It is up to the rider to help the horse find that balance and then it is up to the horse to keep it. Joker is now able to keep a good posture for several strides and Helen is becoming much more tuned in to his balance changes. The earlier the rider can detect the loss of balance is about to happen, the more they can help the horse regain it and the more willing the horse will be to maintain it. Good balance changes the horse visually from ungainly to athletic. Achieving this with patient gymnastic work and thorough rider training takes time but is incredibly rewarding for everybody involved

September: good balance is a moment in time. It is up to the rider to help the horse find that balance and then it is up to the horse to keep it. Joker is now able to keep a good posture for several strides and Helen is becoming much more tuned in to his balance changes. The earlier the rider can detect the loss of balance is about to happen, the more they can help the horse regain it and the more willing the horse will be to maintain it. Good balance changes the horse visually from ungainly to athletic. Achieving this with patient gymnastic work and thorough rider training takes time but is incredibly rewarding for everybody involved 🙂 

 September: Caitlin walking Sox back to his field after her lesson

September: Caitlin walking Sox back to his field after her lesson 🙂 

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September: Second to last session on Start programme for Nigel who decided riding is rather fun and will be moving on to a progressive introduction to Foundation programme! I’m delighted with Nigel’s progress today 🙂

 September: little bareback bonding walk for Jordan and Sox at the end of their session.

September: little bareback bonding walk for Jordan and Sox at the end of their session.

 September: step-by-step rein back to teach a crooked horse how to shift his body weight on rider's cues. The poles help the handler and the horse to maintain a straight line and prevent the horse from swinging his hindquarters sideways and avoid joint flexion.

September: step-by-step rein back to teach a crooked horse how to shift his body weight on rider’s cues. The poles help the handler and the horse to maintain a straight line and prevent the horse from swinging his hindquarters sideways and avoid joint flexion.

September: Caitlin getting to know Sox and having a go at the lesson in an open field for the first time to encourage her to ride with purpose, plan all turns well in advance, appreciate balance changes in the horse and the rider and enjoy the feeling of freedom that riding out of the arena adds to training  Foundation Programme.
September: Caitlin getting to know Sox and having a go at the lesson in an open field for the first time to encourage her to ride with purpose, plan all turns well in advance, appreciate balance changes in the horse and the rider and enjoy the feeling of freedom that riding out of the arena adds to training Foundation Programme.

September: Helen working Joker on the lunge to improve his lateral suppleness. His body is becoming more and more athletic with each week and when they are both focused and listening to each other, some decently bent circles are starting to happen :)
September: Helen working Joker on the lunge to improve his lateral suppleness. His body is becoming more and more athletic with each week and when they are both focused and listening to each other, some decently bent circles are starting to happen 🙂

 September: Jordan and Sox working on rhythm, balance and directions. Fabulous session with the rider finding the right buttons to motivate Sox and building a great working relationship with him. This is Jordan's beginnings at Foundation Programme and there are many more challenges to come !

September: Jordan and Sox working on rhythm, balance and directions. Fabulous session with the rider finding the right buttons to motivate Sox and building a great working relationship with him. This is Jordan’s beginnings at Foundation Programme and there are many more challenges to come !

 September: Learning canter aids, their meaning, timings and first canter off the lunge for Caitlin. We started today with Caitlin lunging Star in canter herself to observe the sequence of the horse's legs, when they hit the ground and how fast. We also did some fun exercises involving skipping to build the feel for synchronising own hip and legs motion with that of the horse

September: Learning canter aids, their meaning, timings and first canter off the lunge for Caitlin. We started today with Caitlin lunging Star in canter herself to observe the sequence of the horse’s legs, when they hit the ground and how fast. We also did some fun exercises involving skipping to build the feel for synchronising own hip and legs motion with that of the horse

September: Casually supervising Caitlin on Foundation Programme who now gets the horse ready for lessons by herself. Many horse owners would take that little bonding time with their horse for granted but for once-a-week riders it's a wonderful way to get to know the horse, warm up gently while grooming and build relationship with the animal  :)
September: Casually supervising Caitlin on Foundation Programme who now gets the horse ready for lessons by herself. Many horse owners would take that little bonding time with their horse for granted but for once-a-week riders it’s a wonderful way to get to know the horse, warm up gently while grooming and build relationship with the animal 🙂

September: I like adding lunge sessions on all the programmes as it helps the rider focus on what they feel while I partially take over the "riding". Today we are working on feel for position of the horse's shoulders and understanding how rider's weight aids and rein aids help with balance in the corners. Many thanks to Helen for taking the pics!
September: I like adding lunge sessions on all the programmes as it helps the rider focus on what they feel while I partially take over the “riding”. Today we are working on feel for position of the horse’s shoulders and understanding how rider’s weight aids and rein aids help with balance in the corners.
Many thanks to Helen for taking the pics!

September: Dual purpose session for Moira mixing unsupported riding with some lunge workout! Calm walking around a large field is great to settle rider's nerves and feel how "zen mind" of the rider calms the horse in the process too  Many thanks to Helen for taking the pics!
September: Dual purpose session for Moira mixing unsupported riding with some lunge workout! Calm walking around a large field is great to settle rider’s nerves and feel how “zen mind” of the rider calms the horse in the process too
Many thanks to Helen for taking the pics!

September: Most Coordinated Rider of the Month award goes to Isabella who did my "cycling" and reversed arms circling exercise right from the word go in both walk and trot. Sorry to all my other riders who still struggle with this  It's a great exercise for learning independence throughout the seat i.e. being able to use arm/hand without tension in the leg and vice versa
September: Most Coordinated Rider of the Month award goes to Isabella who did my “cycling” and reversed arms circling exercise right from the word go in both walk and trot. Sorry to all my other riders who still struggle with this
It’s a great exercise for learning independence throughout the seat i.e. being able to use arm/hand without tension in the leg and vice versa

 September: Caitlin making a great job of transition work today and rising trot without stirrups (not pictured here).

September: Caitlin making a great job of transition work today and rising trot without stirrups (not pictured here).

September: The Most Entrepreneurial Rider Award of this week goes to Gary Thorpe. Gary is on my Start Programme which means his lessons are on the lunge while he learns to control his balance and builds body awareness on a horse. I rarely lunge on repetitive circle and today decided to give Gary an experience of "whole arena" riding since we worked on surface where lunging is not allowed (repetitive circles damage the surface). To be able to do this I had to walk, jog and run with him as and when needed. And so a little conversation emerged:  Wiola: "That's how I keep fit!" Gary: "Well, I think I will start charging you for personal training sessions"  I am thinking next session will be on a circle ;)
September: The Most Entrepreneurial Rider Award of this week goes to Gary Thorpe. Gary is on my Start Programme which means his lessons are on the lunge while he learns to control his balance and builds body awareness on a horse. I rarely lunge on repetitive circle and today decided to give Gary an experience of “whole arena” riding since we worked on surface where lunging is not allowed (repetitive circles damage the surface). To be able to do this I had to walk, jog and run with him as and when needed. And so a little conversation emerged:
Wiola: “That’s how I keep fit!”
Gary: “Well, I think I will start charging you for personal training sessions”
I am thinking next session will be on a circle 😉

September: a little (big) pony love :)
September: a little (big) pony love 🙂

September: Caitlin and Isabella walking back to the stables after a really good (albeit a little exciting!) training session today. Can you tell it's autumn?
September: Caitlin and Isabella walking back to the stables after a really good (albeit a little exciting!) training session today. Can you tell it’s autumn?

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September: Jordan is rather lucky in that his fiance is a qualified horse therapist so all horses he rides get a short after training massage (and they all love it!). All horses used for learner – riders really benefit from periodical physio sessions because they are having to compensate for rider’s imbalance and inexperience.

September: Warming up with a long walk on longer rein gives the horse and rider an opportunity to get to know each other, for the horse to relax into the working mode and well, find out the weaknesses of the rider so they can be taken advantage of
September: Warming up with a long walk on longer rein gives the horse and rider an opportunity to get to know each other, for the horse to relax into the working mode and well, find out the weaknesses of the rider so they can be taken advantage of

 September: groundwork with Joker prior to getting on. His reactions and focus are getting better with each session.

September: Jordan meeting his new training partner on Foundation Programme

 September: groundwork with Joker prior to getting on. His reactions and focus are getting better with each session.

September: groundwork with Joker prior to getting on. His reactions and focus are getting better with each session.

September: Helen and Joker slowly building the quality of the their work. We can now manage a few steps at a time without neck tension and Helen is doing pretty well too  :)
September: Helen and Joker slowly building the quality of the their work. We can now manage a few steps at a time without neck tension and Helen is doing pretty well too 🙂

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September: Moira making the most of the beautiful September afternoon – first session at new little Hampshire base 🙂

1st September! Probably the the most demanding riding fitness session for Nigel today! All exercises completed
1st September! Probably the the most demanding riding fitness session for Nigel today! All exercises completed

 Last days of Aug: Caitlin - early canter training. Here on the lunge developing balance and feel for own posture. Serious bonus points for my little rider today for being brave and trusting her own hard-worked balance!

Last days of Aug: Caitlin – early canter training. Here on the lunge developing balance and feel for own posture. Serious bonus points for my little rider today for being brave and trusting her own hard-worked balance!