Tag Archives: coaching the rider

A Very Special Offer :) OPEN DAY AT BRACKENHILL STUD

I am about to leave for a trek to North Yorkshire to meet a great team of riders at Lindrick Livery for the weekend clinic and stuff myself with some home cooked meals by Ceri but wanted to quickly share with you my last minute special coaching offer for lessons booked at Brackenhill Stud’s Open Day on 4th October 2014! Hope to see you some of you soon! Wiola — at Brackenhill Stud.

October afternoon at Brackenhill Stud
October afternoon at Brackenhill Stud

SPECIAL COACHING OFFER FOR BOOKINGS AT

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October afternoon at Brackenhill Stud

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!

Do you live in Yorkshire, UK? Please feel invited to our July Clinic at Lindrick Livery!

The lovely Lindrick Livery, one of the yards where we go to run our Grassroots Clinics have kindly opened the places up for outside riders for our July clinic there. If you live nearby and would like to join us, please don’t hesitate. All levels of riders are welcome, the only requirement is that you want to improve your riding and your horse’s way of working with you.

Many riders struggle with one thing or another for years and our clinics are designed to get to the bottom of the problem, chew it and enjoy the outcome. There are no quick fixes in our coaching and we never use any gadgets (although we might get creative with various props to improve rider’s body awareness 😉 but there might be many eureka moments instead!

Please see the poster below for info for outside riders and contact Ceri Dickinson to book your place.

Hope to meet some new local riders in July!

All the best,

Wiola

aspire Yorks

The Many Stages Of A Rider and the “I’m Not Good Enough” dilemma

Let’s start with saying this is not going to be a sports psychology advice…Just a simple story…

Raw coffee beans (seeds)

I’m sitting here with a cup of aromatic coffee next to me ready to write some of my thoughts on the above subject and you know ,that coffee I just made myself, it made me think . I love stories behind the end products and every good rider as well as every good coffee cup have a hell of a story to tell…

This particular hot, delicious, perfect  drink of mine started somewhere in east Africa as a vulnerable, green/white, tasteless seed, planted carefully in a large bed in a shaded nursery. A lot of effort then went into making sure the conditions were as perfect as possible for the growth to happen.

The right amount of moisture in the soil, right amount of natural light, not too much not too little…

Isn’t it a little like the first contact we have with a horse? Before we even sit on one, before we even start seeing ourselves as riders, we simply fall in love with a horse. Or not. The seed is planted. Or doesn’t take.

Annabel and Kingsley
Kingsley with friend’s daughter – first encounter…

Those first encounters matter and our perception of riding can be formed at that time.

Back to my coffee. Once the little tree sprouted it was moved to an individual pot and given all the necessary conditions to develop into a strong little plant that can grow independently. It then took its time to grow roots in the well prepared soil until it sat firmly in it and was ready for more growing adventures to come.

Seedlings growing in pots (from http://sfd-alison.blogspot.com/)

Whatever age we start riding at we can’t skip our “seedlings” stage. We need the right conditions, right teachers, right horses at this stage when our roots are still weak and underdeveloped, where smallest changes affect us…

It’s our first lessons at a riding school stage, first walk on a beach donkey or just watching horses in the neighbour’s paddock stage. Spider web thin bodies up into the welcoming air of something exciting.

It took my coffee seed 3 to 4 years of carefully monitored growth to start bearing the fruit…How very coincidental isn’t it? Good few years of basic training, having fun, loving horses, learning about them is what it takes to start seeing the fruit of it all. And that’s still nowhere near that coffee cup of mine.

Once cherries are ready, the harvest starts. Labour intensive and in most coffee countries done by hand.

Harvest

Every coffee maker knows those steps. Nobody would try to harvest immature plants or make coffee out of seedlings. Every stage of coffee has it’s significance and time especially for it. The finished product is nothing without each and every step.

I find that in riding education we have this very same principle. Even our awkward, uncoordinated, sometimes frustrating phase is supremely important. We can be a very good learner-rider at each of these stages like each coffee plant can grow healthily into a supreme cherry barer. This doesn’t mean we are a great horseperson yet but we can derive pride and joy from taking part in the process.

In the life of immediate pleasures required to be right under our noses at the snap of the fingers it might be difficult to be in peace with slow growth of abilities. It’s important therefore that we remind ourselves about it for the good of the horses we ride and for our own enjoyment of the sport.

Where were we? Ah yes, the cherries. Most of the fruit are picked all-in-one-go in a step called strip picking but some finest arabica cherries are picked selectively i.e. only the ripe fruit are harvested by the pickers who rotate every 8 to 10 days. Long job, costly and time consuming.

Once harvested, the coffee cherries need to be processed…it’s a multi-step process in itself, again time and labour intensive…a bit like seat training…

lonza
Almost alike seat training…:)

Continue reading The Many Stages Of A Rider and the “I’m Not Good Enough” dilemma

Great new book for riders’ and coaches’ bookshelves! – The Science of Equestrian Sports by Inga Wolframm

Inga
See Inside the book feature

“The Science of Equestrian Sports is a comprehensive study of the theory and practice of the rider in equine sport. While most scholarship to date has focused on the horse in competition, this is the first book to collate current data relating specifically to riders. It provides valuable insight into improving sporting performance and maintaining the safety of both the horse and the rider.

Drawing on the latest scientific research, and covering a wide range of equestrian disciplines from horseracing to eventing, the book systematically explores core subjects such as:

 

  • physiology of the rider
  • sport psychology in equestrian sport
  • preventing injury
  • biomechanics and kinematics
  • coaching equestrian sport
  • the nature of horse-rider relationships

This holistic and scientific examination of the role of the horse rider is essential reading for sport science students with an interest in equestrian sport and equitation. Furthermore, it will be an invaluable resource for instructors, coaches, sport psychologists, or physiologists working with equestrian athletes.”

More: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415637251/