Tag Archives: Poland

Photo Report from Aspire Grassroots Clinic at Stajnia Sabat, Poland. JUNE 2015

-To have and keep in one's grasp- held

Alison and Gejzer over a simple cavaletti exercise in walk – he takes the “no touching the rails” very seriously πŸ˜‰
Agata and Galka – here in a self carriage exercise in a very short trot leg yielding towards me. Testing rider’s suppleness and coordination of aids.
Short session with 4 years old PRE mare
Flatwork session with a lovely “heavy” horse who moved as if he had no idea about some cold blood crosses running through his veins πŸ™‚
Flatwork session with a lovely “heavy” horse who moved as if he had no idea about some cold blood crosses running through his veins πŸ™‚Β 
My cousin, Karolina, working on similar exercises as Agata and Galka. Learning about being precise and accurate with shapes of circles and figures of eights to improve self – carriage. The horse chooses his frame to some extent but the rider has to maintain line of travel, tempo and rhythm.
Ola doing some fun coordination exercises to improve the feel for diagonal use of aids.
Chatting with Dominika about her super mare πŸ™‚
De-brief after flatwork session
The Sunday jumping session – working in a line that can be ridden for 3 or 4 strides depending on the length of canter stride chosen by the rider. Here Dominka went for shorter stride that didn’t fit either option leaving Falkata to decide and go for a long one. Very athletic little mare.
Myself with my lovely Mum and 4 years old niece πŸ™‚
Tea time πŸ™‚
More tea time πŸ™‚Β 
Jumping session – understanding a feeling of “uphill canter”
Jumping session de-brief
Karolina and I working on ironing out a postural crookedness through her upper body
Eye to eye with Krater. I am using the whip to touch Karolina when she collapses her upper body to give her proprioceptive reminder about where her seat becomes weak and ineffective.
More posture corrections – here with one stirrups very short and the other foot out of the stirrup to wake up different feels through the pelvis in relation to back motion of the horse.
Flatwork session in the sun πŸ™‚
Ania and Zarys. Jumping session – planning a dog-leg to improve rider’s ability to ride a correct line and tempo – here ending up too close to the left wing.
Jumping session – same line and exercise as with Dominika and Falkata.
Same dog-leg line as above – testing the ability to plan a line and tempo of the canter for most optimal take off before the second jump
Natalia and Jaron – flatwork session

Fabulous weekend. I ended up doing 18 lessons in two days as we added a couple as we went and I am seriously considering investing in a portable sound system that I can use during clinics. We worked in a large outdoor arena so to limit my shouting I walked all the time which gave me a serious amount of steps per day in a rather deep surface πŸ˜‰

All the riders worked so well and are so eager to learn, I wish I could teach them more often. Alas, next meeting is in October so they have plenty of time to practice what we did during the weekend.


Would you like to join Aspire Grassroots Clinic in Poland at the end of May? Read on…:)

On 23-25 May 2014 we will be running Aspire Grassroots clinic near Warsaw, Poland. It turns out that there will be horses available for outside riders to borrow for training so if you after a weekend riding adventure please feel invited and give Wiola a call on +44 7438 758 217.

The format will be that of usual Aspire clinic – 2 hour private sessions on each day. Accommodation and food will be taken care of so all you need to do is to book your flights (only 1.5h from London).

Please call for details πŸ™‚

Official poster for our clinic in Poland. Weekend Grassroots Clinic near Warsaw.

Aspire Grassroots Clinic near Warsaw, Poland at ‘Stajnia Sabat’

Stajnia Sabat invited me to run another clinic for their riders and what a fabulous day it was. It was great to see that initial riders from my first visit had certainly worked on their homework and as I am sitting here putting together new set of exercises for everyone to get busy with over the next couple of months, I can’t wait to see the results on my next clinic there.

For the first time I also taught a rider with a Western background who actively competes at national level but was helping with her mother’s green mare on the day. The mare’s previous job was being a driving horse so she will need some time and patience from the rider to improve her suppleness and lateral bend which so far had been trained out of her.

It’s interesting to learn about new approaches and ways of handling different aspects of training, then putting them all together for the benefits of the horse. I also got a chance to sit on a Western saddle that actually felt very much close-contact (my experience of Western tack so far is that it feels like one is miles above the horse with zero feeling under the seat!) as well as help with one very blocked horse who had many a gadget tried on him but whose owner is now trying her best to repair the damage done…

I am leaving you with some photos from the day πŸ™‚

Aspire Clinic Stajnia Sabat

The “gadget horse” – horses ridden and lunged on gadgets without prior muscular and mental readiness can end up in plenty of bodily trouble. Those who are made to work on short, tight “posture changing” equipment and are asked to work on collection before working paces and movement is established have double bodily trouble. Both had happened to this horse who has now landed himself in a more understanding situation.

The amazing nature of horses means that with patience, understanding and focused training many wrong doings are reversible..

Me riding the gadget boy. A horse that has no basic throughness, is afraid of hand/contact and rides as if he was disjointed is a horse in discomfort (pic on the left – first trot). Picture on the right shows him 15 minutes later where he is starting to feel like forward movement is fun.

Β The owner is very much committed to helping him so I am very much looking forward to meeting this pair again in May πŸ™‚

Video Day Tuesday Christmas Countdown Day 1: The Joy of Being Santa :)

When I am in the UK I follow the habit of gifts on Christmas Day but in Poland it’s Christmas Eve that’s the most important of festive days. For this reason I think it’s only fair that today’s video is about the joy of gift giving πŸ™‚ Bringing happiness to people must be one of the most rewarding and uplifting of careers so if I was to ever stray away from equestrian industry I think I would look into CPD in Santa stuff.

The video below is barely a couple of weeks old and yet it has been watched by over 32 million eyeballs. It means that you may have seen it already but I think it’s one of those short stories that one can watch it numerous times and smile.

Dream Big. Think Big. And believe in Santa πŸ˜‰

Happy Holidays everyone! Thank you for reading Aspire blog, commenting and writing your own great blogs which I love catching up with on daily basis πŸ™‚

Continue reading Video Day Tuesday Christmas Countdown Day 1: The Joy of Being Santa πŸ™‚

Rugless, Social and Happy: Pictures from Poland (especially for #horsehour)

For the first time in 10 years I am spending Christmas time with my family in Poland and wanted to share with you a few pictures which I took for #horsehour (a great Twitter initiative that if you like Twitter community and have something equestrian to share or promote then you might want to check it out and join in every Monday from 8pm to 9pm).

Couple of weeks ago we had a conversation about different horse management habits and rugging in particular. I promised to snap some rugless photos so here they are. Not many “grassroots” horses (the Pony and Riding Club types) get rugged up in Poland and at most livery yard they get plenty of all-year round turn out. They are certainly allowed to be horses more than being treated like house pets. Field safety is not always a priority however as you can see by the state of fencing below.

They all stay out from morning until it gets dark. There is usually a stable chap who brings them all in if owners didn’t do so earlier to ride.
They all stay out from morning until it gets dark


Operation the de-mudding accomplished. Pony being gotten ready for training.
The mud comes off quite easily perhaps because the temperatures are lower and it doesn’t get very sticky and soup like, here’s a grey horse after about 20 minutes of grooming. He’s got plenty of TB in him so really all types of horses stay out.

How does your field look like at this festive time? Sadly no snow in Poland! If you posted any photos on your blogs, link to it in the comments, I would love to have a look πŸ™‚

Continue reading Rugless, Social and Happy: Pictures from Poland (especially for #horsehour)

My Experiences with Horse Meat…

Since Princess Anne spoke at the annual conference of the charity World Horse Welfare suggesting changes to how Britain thinks about horse meat, the equestrian world has seen some ongoing debate on the subject.

To watch the speech, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24954892


Horsemeat shop in Italy

In my childhood and early teens I spent many months in Italy and that’s when I first encountered shops entirely dedicated to horse meat. In fact, I still remember the very first time I got enlightened one actually eats horses on a shop-able scale because I cheerfully and obliviously entered one thinking it was a tack shop

The front window had horses painted on it in a way you could not see inside and a life size horse statue stood proudly at the door. I was beside myself with excitement (as you are when your great pleasure in life focuses on spending few hours in the morning browsing equestrian magazines and all things horsey) and was somewhat shocked when instead of shelves full of books, tack, grooming equipment, lotion, potions and air full of thick, eye watering scent of leather I was looking at red and pink, bloody and raw smelling room.

It was an odd experience of a kind when you look at something that appears incredibly heavy yet is amusingly light to lift. Visually, it was just in a reverse…

Many years later in Poland I bought a horse from a dealer who aside of dealing in show-jumping horses also bought and prepared horses for meat. All of them were sold to Italy. It was 1995 and to my knowledge it was a very profitable business. The horses were all cold bloods of different breeds, all huge and fat and shiny with long curly manes and big gentle eyes.

Before I bought my horse from that yard I had him on trial for a couple of months. This meant I had to ride him each time from dealer’s stables to the training centre where my trainer was and so I spent thirty or so minutes at the yard a day for those couple of months. One meat horse I remember to this day came down the ramp onto the yard with a bicycle chain for headcollar with few men holding onto him and not being able to control him. It was a sad picture and one that comes to my mind every time I read or hear how opening up for market of horse meat is going to improve equine welfare…

Having said that, all horses meant for meat were kept in exactly the same way as all other horses for sale. It’s not to say that was any particularly excellent way. They each had a separate stable and a lot (and I mean A LOT) of forage and feeds. They were being fattened up I suppose to weigh as much as possible since the price was dependent on weight. Continue reading My Experiences with Horse Meat…