Tag Archives: rider development

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 šŸ˜‰
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 šŸ™‚
Flatwork session with a lovely “heavy” horse who moved as if he had no idea about some cold blood crosses running through his veins šŸ™‚Ā 
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 šŸ™‚
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 šŸ™‚
Tea time šŸ™‚
More tea time šŸ™‚Ā 
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 šŸ™‚
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 šŸ˜‰

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.

Wx

From the Top Down: Upper Body Stability for the Rider by Kathlyn Hossack (sequel to How NOT to pull on the reins)

Since the How NOT to pull on the reins post has now reached over 12k views and sparked some questions I didn’t feel fully qualified to answer, I asked someone who has the proper anatomical knowledge to pitch in and write a sequel šŸ™‚ Here we go!Ā 

Happy reading and please don’t hesitate to comment and ask questions!Ā 

Wiola

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From the Top Down: Upper Body Stability for the Rider

Many riders struggle with poor shoulder posture; often this is from both habit and from muscle weaknesses/amnesia in the upper back. If you find that you tend to use movements at the elbow to pull back or have trouble balancing during transitions (and as a result tend to pull on the horse’s mouth instead) instead of using steady resistance (as discussed inĀ Aspire Equestrian’s article here) and slight hand/finger motion to accomplish a smoother (in look and feel) transition– you are likely not activating theĀ latsĀ the way you should.ā€ÆSimilarily, if you experience trouble maintaining a strong shoulder and upper back posture, and/or experience pain in between the shoulders, neck, and upper back..Ā youĀ likely have forgotten how to use the rhomboids, traps, andĀ latsĀ properly.

Don’t fret! It’s a common problem with a simple fix for anyone willing to work at it!

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ļæ¼TheĀ latissimusĀ dorsiĀ runs from the front of the shoulder, down to the pelvis.Ā It’sā€Ætextbook function is to help with shoulder movement with their composite action being a pull-up, or a front crawl type movement at the shoulder. They alsoĀ stabiliseĀ through the back. For the purposes of the riding athlete, theĀ latsĀ are stabilizer of both the shoulder and the back. We don’t require big movements at our shoulder or arms, but what we do require is a stable shoulder girdle and spine to create resistance and allow movement of our elbows, hands, hips, and ankles.

Another important part for theĀ ridersĀ upper body is theĀ stabilisersĀ between the shoulder blades.ā€ÆThe rhomboids run between theĀ interiorĀ border of the scapula or shoulder blade to the spine and function to pull the shoulder blades back towards one another and stabilize the upper back. The trapezius is a diamond shaped muscle running through the neck, shoulder, and upper back and has many movements on the shoulder blades and spine- but again, for us it aids in keeping us stable and upright in the tack. As riders we want everything from the top of our rib cage (this starts at the base of the neck) down to our pelvis to be one stable unit, while our hip joints and elbows allow for fluidity and functionality at the hands and lower legs. To do this we both need a stable core and a stable upper back/shoulder area.

The first step is teaching you how to properly establish a connection and feeling for these muscles on the ground. If you need a reminder for how your shoulders should be sitting in a proper posture, simply have your hands at your side and rotate so your thumbs are facing outwards. Feel how that immediately puts you into a more open, tall posture at the shoulder?

Now, let’s start with those rhomboids and traps between the shoulder blades. Standing, or sitting in a good, tall posture bring your arms up straight in front of you until the shoulder is at about 90degrees. Here, keeping the arms straight, you are going to retract the shoulders (or bring the shoulder blades closer together). Remember to keep the arms straight. Hold here for about 5seconds, and then relax forward. Repeat this at least 10 times, and do it as much throughout the day as you want. This is a very small, simple movement..Ā butĀ some of you may find that it takes more concentration then you’d think it would. This is a rebuilding exercise to get your brain reconnected to controlling thoseĀ muscles,Ā from there we can begin to build stability in the shoulder.

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ļæ¼My nextĀ favouriteĀ exercise to teach riders about posturalĀ stabilisationĀ through movement in theĀ latsĀ and arms is called a Wall Angel. For this, you need a wall. Start in a half squat position withĀ youĀ back against the wall and feet slightly in front of you. Now, flatten out everything from the pelvis up to the neck/head against the wall. This may be the most challenging part for some. Many riders like to hinge from their mid back, and this can often be a source of pain or instability within the spine. Getting into this “flattened against a wall” posture brings us back into a neutral posture and allows us to begin rebuildingĀ stabilisationĀ (using theĀ latsĀ and other shoulderĀ stabilisers) through the torso and upper body. Now that you’re in that half squat against the wall with every part of your spine against the wall, or as close as you can get, bring your arms up as you see them in picture A. This is the second challenge. You may find your back now wants to pop off the wall, or that your shoulders are too tight to bring back to the wall. If the latter is the case, someĀ pectoralisĀ major stretches may be in order for you. If you can’t get the arms so they are pressing flat (or close to) the wall, instead bring them in front to a similar position to the retraction exercise we discussed earlier. Now, back pressed flat, neck straight and head against the wall with arms up and also against the wall, you are going to slowly slide them up as far as you can keep them flat, and then back down to the start position.

wall slides

ļæ¼Repeat this between 5-10 times, a few times a day. I like to have riders do this before they get on their first horse, in between horses, and after their ride to encourage that tall, strong posture. This also helps to teach activation of theĀ lats, strengthen all the postural muscles in the upper back, and build postural awareness.

Fitting these into your daily routine is a great way to begin rebuilding your ride in the saddle. I also like to have my riding clients ride with their inside hand behind their head, pushing their elbow back. This creates a tall posture, and encourages activation of theĀ latsĀ toĀ stabiliseĀ in the back, and the shoulderĀ stabilisersĀ in the upper back through movement on the horse. Try it out next time you’re on and see what it does to your position!

  • Kathlyn HossackĀ has her BSc. Kinesiology and is soon to be a certified Athletic Therapist. She startedĀ KatmahĀ Training (www.katmahtraining.wordpress.com) to help equestrians train and move like the athletes they are. She consults athletes and riders at all levels on position/biomechanics, injury recovery, strength and conditioning, and improving their movement to better their performance.Ā 

Gain control over your leg position, joints suppleness and weight distribution through the seat

You will need fluffy socks for this one.

It was Mariana who first shared this exercise with you on here and ever since I’ve been looking forward to trying it with a suitable “rider-subject” šŸ˜‰ It’s ingenious in its simplicity as it simply takes rider’s awareness of the stirrup iron – ball of foot connection to the next level.

eve

You might think, stirrups are not that important for the good seat, but there is this curious desire in many riders to let that very seemingly unnecessary stirrup dictate their leg position.
When the rider becomes tuned in to the placement of the stirrup iron, they can in turn dictate the position of the stirrup leathers and the iron through small changes in weight distribution through the thighs and lower leg.
The other benefits include improved suppleness through ankle joints and a better command of the foot in general.
I loved the effect this exercise had on my rider.

Genius and simple.

If you do try it, please share your observations – there are many little aspects of joint use that become apparent in this exercise šŸ™‚Ā 

Wiola

The language of aids – are we making things unnecessarily difficult?

Just a quick-ish post today on something that I’ve been pondering on for the last few years when analysing different teaching methods and tweaking my own.

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I am going to hazard a statement that the only truly difficult and time consuming skill of all the riding skills is the development of a functional and horse friendly seat. Once the rider sits well (not just visually well – although let’s notĀ discount that – but functionally well), the rest is down to hours upon hours, weeks upon weeks and years upon years of patient and well directed practice of imagination, understanding of horse’s locomotion, common sense and body awareness in motion.

My image of technically good seat is like a well put together watch where all the turbines and screws do their work as if by magic. From my experience and observations riders become frustrated most often by an inability to perform certain movements well or get certain amount of effort out from the horse. It’s not so much that they don’t know what to do…sometimes they even know vast amount of theory on exactly how to do what they want doing.

To make things picture rich, let’s assume a horse has that “seat” to master too…the horse’s seat (way of carrying oneself, way of shifting weight from side to side and from front to back) also develops over time and is most difficult skill for him. Not the moving away from the leg, not halting square, not stepping under upon leg cue. It’s the “seat” – the basic ability to remain in own balance with rider’s weight on board in all gaits, all turns, all circles – that’s potentially most difficult skill.

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The issue arises when the rider (or horse) attempts something they have no turbines and screws for in the first place – in own seat and also in horse’s “seat”…Putting together the latter takes time and in horse riding language that equals hours in different saddles, on different backs, on differently pushing hindlegs. Similarly, the horse develops his posture through being ridden by rider with a better and better seat, the weight he carries becomes his best and intricate balance indicator rather than a burden. Eventually, the horse can potentially achieve better precision, rhythm, cadence, quality of steps with the rider than without one…

You know the old dealer trick that rider can make any horse look lame (er) or sound (er)? If we agree that skilled riding was about precise and effective weight shift, the rider’s ability to create (or damage) certain movement pattern shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Language of aids

All that seat development is like nursery,Ā pre-schoolĀ and primary school put together. Rider and horse work on their “seat” in similar ways to us learning to write letters, then sentences. From time to time, there would be a child out there who writes beautiful poems, play extraordinary music, wins professional golf tournaments and maybe even writes stories at the age of 9. However, we wouldn’tĀ change entire schooling system to match that benchmark…From time to time, there are riders and horses that seem to flow together without apparent effort, time investment and long practice. Should this mean that hundreds of other riders and horses ought to jump the 2-3 or so years of decentĀ seat development?

As riders and instructors we can make things very difficult both for our horses and our pupils by asking them to speak a language they have no words for. We can also make things extremely frustrating for ourselves…

Seat differences

Sometimes I am asked what I think about that and this riders’ seat and although a beautifully sat rider with even body proportions might always look nicer on a horse than one with very short legs and long torso, it’s not that visual seat development that I am chatting about here.

bridle and gym ball

Some people have terrible hand writing yet write beautiful stories…Some have incredible calligraphy that never produces more than a pretty looking word…Good seat and language shows in the quality of work of the horse and in the harmony between horse and rider.

We might have different levels of that work and different levels of that harmony from a beginner to an advanced professional but when I start teaching someone I look at building those words first (seat skills) rather than ask for essays. This means I like to explore many avenues of skills acquisition and I might ask more experienced riders to do seemingly unrelated exercises but it’s really interesting to see the results of well thought out play šŸ™‚

So, how’re your aids’ language skills? Do you know why some riding sessions are frustrating for you?Ā 

All the best,

Wiola

www.aspir1.wix.com/aspireequestrian2014

Photo report from Aspire Grassroots Clinic at Lindrick Livery, Ripon, North Yorkshire

I have just returned from teaching on Aspire Grassroots clinic at Lindrick Livery and what a great weekend that was!Ā I hope the pictures tell the story well and that you enjoy the wonderful set of them taken by Ceri of Pure Essence Photography (Check her website HERE if you would like to book a photo shoot šŸ™‚ ) I will be writing more about the exercises shown on below pictures in Aspire’s bi-monthly newsletter coming up on the 14th October so if you would like to read some of my thoughts on those simple body awareness techniques, sign up HERE šŸ™‚

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When schooling we communicate with a horse via diagonal aids (inside leg – outside rein, outside leg – inside rein) to help with balancing the horse (prevent over use of either sides). For this communication to work well, we need to be aware of cross-coordination in our own body…
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Fabulous, little 3 year old ex-racehorse in early stages of re-training. Learning to move like a riding horse.
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Addressing posture and effectiveness of the leg
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Intro to an exercise which helps with control of the horse’s shoulders
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When schooling we communicate with a horse via diagonal aids (inside leg – outside rein, outside leg – inside rein) to help with balancing the horse (prevent over use of eitherĀ side). For this communication to work well, we need to be aware of cross-coordination in our own body…
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When we sit on a moving horse, we don’t always feel how physics and motion disorganise our position and as a result destroy our balance. Testing Olivia’s front to back stability here.
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When schooling we communicate with a horse via diagonal aids (inside leg – outside rein, outside leg – inside rein) to help with balancing the horse (prevent over use of either side). For this communication to work well, we need to be aware of cross-coordination in our own body…
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Introduction to a simple yet powerful exercise: “monkey” position – which helps with getting the idea that joints need to be relaxed for the posture to become effective, it’s the muscles that need to work…
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Awareness of own crookedness is a first step to understanding schooling of the horse – simple exercises can awake muscles that we didn’t know existed šŸ™‚
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Learning about horse’s posture via becoming a horse šŸ˜‰
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Another version of the “monkey” position – which helps with getting the idea that joints (hip, knee, ankle, elbow, shoulder) need to be relaxed for the posture to become effective, it’s the muscles that need to work…
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In-hand work to help with crookedness
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3 year old ex-racehorse Casper learning to yield from the “leg” in-hand
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Laura having a go at “monkey” exercise
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Searching for strengths and weaknesses in rider’s body as far as balance in the saddle is concerned šŸ™‚
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Cantering on foot to address excessive shoulder movement – fun and very effective to build awareness šŸ™‚
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As Ceri, the author of the photos said “Never too early to start šŸ˜‰ ” My cracking little client – grand age of 5 – on his pony, preparing for simple and fun coordination exercises.
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Everybody understand various instructions differently. How do you soften your hand/elbow/shoulder? What does it mean “give” with your hand? Here Louise is feeling the difference between locked and “soft” elbow.
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Quick video feedback before proceeding with exercises. Visual feedback never lies and helps immensely with speeding up learning process.
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Every movement of the horse needs to be absorbed by rider’s joints. If one or more joints “block” the motion, harmony can’t be achieved. Here the rider is experimenting with passive joint movement to determine which of her joints (hip, knee or ankle) is the one she blocks the movement with.
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Learning to move on large circles in balance and relaxed posture without the rider. A 3 year old ex-race horse Casper – I can’t wait to watch his improvement over months to come. He has wonderful brain and fantastic attitude.
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Learning how rider’s crookedness affects turns and circles – and finding ways to correct a few issues šŸ™‚
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Short in-hand sessions for 3 year old Thoroughbred, Casper.
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Posing with a lovely young rider and her wonderful pony, Mouse, who sadly decided not to smile with us here!
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Louise and the lovely Henry – great partnership! Henry is now 3 months into post kissing spine operation and looked and worked very well!

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If you would like to organise similar clinic at your yard, give Wiola a shout! Anyone welcome šŸ™‚ More details below:

http://issuu.com/aspireeq/docs/aspire_grassroots_clinics_overview?e=8118509/9629742

Very Quick Guide To Becoming a Better Rider

Phurtive

Riding might be an art and science married together which makes it seemingly a bottomless well of possibilities but let’s try to short list a few things an average ambitious rider can do to better their skills month after month instead of stagnating in one murky pond šŸ˜‰

There is no particular order here:

1) DO the Dreaming and the Wishing

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For every dreamy, wishful thought, have 10 action thoughts. The power of dreams lies in acting upon them. Imagine yourself doing things very well. Then make a detailed plan of action for each of those things. Work backwards from the imagined outcome and educate yourself on time scales for each step. However, don’t be scared or put off by the amount of time it might all take. Working on your dreams or goals can be a dream process in itself šŸ™‚

2) Find an instructor whose values line up with yours

Search for the best one for your current situation and best one you can afford. Why the same values? Because if you line up those, you will often be happy with the methods used too.

I hear some of you saying, I don’t need an instructor to do well, have you not seen International Velvet? Ok, let’s look at a few facts:

Even to play Sarah Brown, Tatum O’Neal went through an intensive training prior the movie withĀ Marcia Williams, a member of USEFĀ National Show Jumping Hall of Fame (oh and later awardedĀ the USEF Living Legend Award). “During production in England, four British and American Olympic medallists also worked with Tatum”*. Apparently, she showed a lot of talent and could have gone on to great things if she wanted to take up riding professionally. Aaaand, it’sĀ Ginny Leng riding in the more “riding” scenes…

I am not saying there are no riders out there with exceptional body awareness, horse sense, discipline, commitment and passion (aka talent) so if you are one of those, great. Maybe you can skip on point no 2 and just watch as many lessons as you can instead. But if you are part of an average riding crowd (and no shame in that, I consider myself an average rider too) and you want to better yourself step by step, look out for trainers who can guide you, who never stop learning and who genuinely want you to ride better (not just for your horse to go better).

3) Live in a moment but ask what’s around the corner

Do your best to do the best you can in your lessons but ask questions…you want to know if your instructor has any sort of plan for your learning (if you ride with them regularly that is). What skill is leading to what outcome. What’s the plan to work on this or that. You want your instructor to have an idea for you (and for your horse), an individual plan of action for your particular riding adventures (and/or your horse’s development).

4) Push yourself before you push your horse

Like in every sport, we need to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones to progress and that includes the horses too. It’s never easy to go through that push so if you tend to get negatively emotionally involved with your horse’s difficulties, put yourself through similar experience first…Ask around and find a trainer who is impatient, easily frustrated with his/her pupil and takes your physical inability to follow his/her instructions personally. Go for someone who gets easily annoyed when your struggle when you try and fail. You want to truly experience that feel of emotionally draining training that’s on the verge of bullying. Then, next time when you are tempted to do the same to your horse, think how effective it was…

match demands

If you are planning to push your horse to their limits in terms of physical performance, get yourself a session with a positive personal trainer who will make you work like no tomorrow. Be it running, cycling, weight lifting or extreme yoga – try out the total body workout. Make some notes. Adjust your horse training accordingly…

5) Demand only what you can keep up with

Being a good rider means being in harmony with your horse, supporting them with your own body action and matching their effort. Be prepared to do the work with your horse. If they need to be more supple, work on your own suppleness too, if they need to be stronger through their abdominal muscles, get on that workout too, if they need to be mentally calmer, you might need too…You know this saying “show me your horse I will tell you who you are”? Ā 

It’s supposed to be a very quick guide so I will stop here šŸ™‚ What would you add to this list if we were to make it into a Full Guide? Add your own suggestions šŸ™‚Ā 

*Source:Ā http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/78138%7C0/International-Velvet.html

 

How would you like to take part in something amazing in 2014? Introducing our next year’s offer…

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THE TIME HAS FINALLY COME…

… to invite all inquisitive riders and challenge seeking riders-to-be to ourĀ 2014 all-levels training programmes which will initially be available at the following two locations:

1. Cullinghood Equestrian Centre, near Reading, Berkshire (5o min from West London)

2. Moorwards Farm Equestrian Coaching Facility, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire (25 min from West London)

CHOOSE YOUR PROGRAMME:Ā 

ASPIRE2014STARTFor real first timers or anyone who wants to go back to basics and establish a safe, correct seat both for jumping & dressage. You don’t need your own horse to sign up for this programme. You will be free to progress to the next programme once you’ve achieved the following skills: Start Skill Set

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For all you ambitious leisure riders out there! You will be challenged within your level, encouraged to progress your skills and better understand horses as riding companions.Ā You don’t need your own horse to sign up for this programme. However, horse owners are welcome to join in as well as non-owners who would like to loan or share a horse for duration of training (help with choosing the right horse is given free of charge).Ā You can stay training and riding at this level indefinitely but will be free to progress to the next programme once you’ve achieved the following skills: Foundation Skills Set

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Both for leisure and sport minded riders who have keen interest in training a horse that moves in a bio-mechanically correct, happy and healthy way. No gadgets training aimed at understanding rather than quick fixes. You don’t need your own horse to sign up for this programme. However, horse owners are welcome to join in as well as non-owners who would like to loan or share a horse for duration of training (help with choosing the right horse is given free of charge).Ā You can stay training and riding at this level indefinitely, we never stop learning to school different horses. The skills worked on during this programme: Development Skills Set.

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For grassroots, amateur competition riders with passion for dressage, show-jumping or eventing. You will be a horse owner or Development Programme level rider who is keen to loan or share a horse to compete.

12 PLACES AVAILABLE…

From March 2014, each month we will have up to 12 places available and they will be offered on first pay first serve basis. There will be 5-6 places for non-horse owners and 5-6 for horse owners. All training will be available in form of packages consisting of 8 ridden training sessions (average price: Ā£40-Ā£60 per 90 minutes session) and 8 Aspire Coaching Sessions. Stay tuned for ‘Early Bird’ Packages coming up on the 6th of December! UPDATE: Click here for further details

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE REGULARLY WITH A CLEAR PROGRESSION PATH, EXCEPTIONAL ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND INTERESTING CHALLENGES AHEAD OF YOU?Ā 

Email Wiola at aspire @ outlook.com and be the first to receive Aspire offers.

Looking forward to meeting many aspiring riders in 2014 šŸ™‚

Aspire Coaching Weekend 17-19 May 2013. Photo Snippets.

Claire and puzzle
Learning turn on the forehand in-hand
Building awareness through visual feedback
Emma and Hazel
Learning turn on the forehand in-hand
Emma and Hzel ridden
Ridden work after in-hand work. Using the knowledge from groundwork to achieve better gymnastic results

Continue reading Aspire Coaching Weekend 17-19 May 2013. Photo Snippets.

WHAT IF YOU RODE BLINDFOLDED…- The Role of Senses in Riding

Sheila on Rex during their blindfolded lesson experiment. October 2007
Sheila on her own horse, Rex during their blindfolded lesson experiment. October 2007

A couple of days ago I read a blog post written by a woman suffering from Dystonia (aĀ neurologicalĀ movement disorder)Ā who is trying to return to riding. She is describing her progress and in this recent post she mentions how closing her eyes influenced her actions in the saddle: Ā Horse Riding For Dystonians. A Progress Report.

Many riders are hindered in their progress through muscle tension and various semi-involuntary muscular reactions so I follow Dystonia Girl’s blog with interest and her thoughts took me back several years when one of my then riders and I did a series of quite experimental training sessions…

Here is what I wrote about it in October 2007 on my other blog:

“[…] The blindfold idea has hunted me ever since, as a 16 years old helper at a riding school in Poland, I had a group of blind children to teach. They were in between 10-12 years old and none of them ever sat on a horse. Teaching them was an incredible experience as most of them were blind from birth or their vision was so impaired that the only thing they saw was light differences.

Continue reading WHAT IF YOU RODE BLINDFOLDED…- The Role of Senses in Riding

Show Me How You Walk and I Will Tell You How You Ride

Before we start, it is important to note, this post considers able bodied riders.Ā 

Make a little experiment…

Set a video camera running and walk towards it and away from it. Then do the same side-ways. The same jogging and the same “skipping” as if you were cantering on your own feet (you might want to be alone if you are worried about your sanity being judged šŸ˜‰

Then grab a cup of tea or coffee and re-watch those clips with detective-like curiosity. Check for the way you use your joints, the way you distribute your weight throughout your body, the way your hips move (or not!) while you walk and jog. Check which leg you start skipping with, which one pushes, which one carries without thinking about it, how level are your shoulders, is your head forwards or on top of your shoulders, do you carry your rib cage to one side…When you walk, do you lead the movement with your upper body or your hips…These are just a few of numerous elements you can analyse.

Grassroots Riders HabitsĀ 

If you are like many other amateur riders, chances are you have a sitting job – long hours at a computer desk, long hours in a car, perhaps you also wear high heels if you are a woman or you slouch a bit if you are a man…hundreds of your daily postural habits are mirrored very clearly in your riding style.

It is possible to fairly accurately describe many of your riding problems without you even sitting on a horse. It is also possible to change your riding position, seat issues, leg responsiveness or contact issues that you have when riding by analysing your own walking style as in our little experiment above.

Continue reading Show Me How You Walk and I Will Tell You How You Ride