11 Dressage Lessons Your Instructor Will Not Give You

The more you know, the more you will realise that you don’t know!

I have made a lot of mistakes, had my expectations shattered and I’ve wanted to throw in the towel many times.  So today I want to share 11 Dressage lessons I’ve learned.  No instructor is going to give you these dressage lessons in the arena, you’d probably not want to waste your saddle time talking to them about this stuff.  It is all about finding out about yourself as a rider and how you are going about making the changes you need to make.

It’s a long article, so grab a cuppa!

Dressage Lesson #1. Pah! Advice

dressage lessonsI’m going to start with one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, which is to learn to filter advice. Yes, even my advice.  In the end, what works for me may not work for you. You have to listen to your inner GPS and see what feels right for you, then do that. Continue reading 11 Dressage Lessons Your Instructor Will Not Give You

5 Equestrian Blogs I Highly Recommend

I am privileged to have connected to many equestrians throughout the time I have been blogging not least some fellow bloggers who have amazing talent to share with you.  Check out these entertaining and informative equestrian blogs that I highly recommend. Continue reading 5 Equestrian Blogs I Highly Recommend

The Gift of Dressage Inspiration

“This book has completely recharged and refocused me.  It is simply brilliant.  I now know for sure that we can do it!  It took a while to get into the mind-set needed; it all seemed a little overwhelming, too much knowledge and not enough skill, I guess!  But with the help of this book we are achieving little victories every single session.  I am smiling and grinning all over the place.

As Patricia says ‘It’s an exciting and rewarding journey’ and it really is.”

Amanda Sensitive to the aidsCrowley – Amateur Dressage Enthusiast

“Patricia talks about riding mechanically and lack of feel, despite having a good knowledge base, I think this will be so liberating to hear for many riders, it certainly struck a chord with me.  I love the fact that finally, as a result of this book, I have a support system and structure that helps me to work out solutions to problems and it’s not rocket science!

Thank you for enlightening me, Patricia”

Helen Mathie – MSc Vet Phys BSc (Hons) MCSP HPC ACPAT

The Crystal System Dressage“Full of amazing training tips and insights on how to fix problems and achieve your goals.  I am bursting with enthusiasm and get up and go!  Keep it simple.  Don’t try to completely change the way you ride in one day.  You are so right Patricia! Written in an easy, understandable style, you will have fun reading this book.

The explanations are awesome.  A must read for all riders.”

Sue Clark – Motueka Dressage, New Zealand

Give the gift of dressage inspiration for Christmas or treat yourself to a fantastic 2017 season!

Click HERE or on a book image to buy the book.facebook-campaign-3-copy

“I would recommend The Crystal System to all riders, whatever their level.

Basically for anyone that needs clarity and direction.”

Daisy Jackson – DJ Dressage

Hands Still Moving – Help Me

The Real Life Rider Series

From our video coaching service we received the following question.

Can you see if you can pinpoint why I struggle to keep my hands relatively still?”

This is a really common problem where a rider will recognise this problem and concentrate on trying to keep the hands still, believing that somewhere in the arms and hands lies the problem.  Fact is that the issue is coming from the centre of the body and is nothing to do with the extremities.  Simply put the rider’s ‘centre of balance’ is off.

From the video provided by the rider she had a slightly forward positioning of her upper body, throughout her ride.  Her horse was naturally built uphill but even so, he was finding it difficult to engage his hindquarters as well as he might due to the riders balance issues.

The first thing we noticed was that for the majority of the ride the riders toes were pointing down, and her hands as she rightly pointed out ‘moved too much’.  Her horse was ‘on the forehand’.   Now there’s ‘on the forehand’ and there’s ‘on the forehand’.  This horse was not dragging himself around with the front legs, but he is technically ‘on the forehand’ because, firstly the rider had explained that  she feels he is too much in her hand most of the time and secondly we could see from the video that the horse was trailing out behind with too much weight on the shoulder.  He should ‘sit’ more.

What to do to keep the hands still?

Continue reading Hands Still Moving – Help Me

8 Tips To Help Your Brain Retain Instruction

Quite why I am unable to recreate all the good work I do when my coach is standing in the middle of the manege has always been a bit of a mystery to me.  It is a sad fact that I rarely put in as much physical effort when schooling alone and it is the encouragement of my trainer that tends to galvanise my resilience and fortitude, but instructor dependence can be soul destroying.

It seems that those riders that do not have an issue with this have trained their brain to retain the instruction and have a mind-set that creates a hugely powerful incentive to adopt certain behaviours or choices that are critical to training success. No matter what has gone on in their day they have the determination to put everything aside for the ride.

But how do you retain that instruction?

Continue reading 8 Tips To Help Your Brain Retain Instruction

Make Contact, BUT Make It Useful

Developing a clear, non-verbal language with your horse means making a connection and this is where your dressage journey begins.  Without a useful  contact, as a dressage rider you will be unable to communicate with your horse; you will be unable to ‘engage in any type of conversation’ or convey any message effectively.  It’s a really widespread problem.

Establishing the contact, maintaining a contact, making a connection, being above the bit, getting behind the bit, head tilting, head wobbling/shaking, strong contact, soft contact; there are a myriad of issues, so for those of you that need help let’s explore a little further.

What Do I Mean by Useful Contact?

Continue reading Make Contact, BUT Make It Useful

Celebrate the Small Wins

There I was, stood looking at the results board, whilst she grinned from ear to ear, chattering away with her entourage, she had every right to be celebrating her victory … again!!!

I don’t really know her well, just know her name really from being at the top of the leader board and I may have taken a peek at her facebook page, so I didn’t have to celebrate with her, a mumbled ‘well done’ with a touch on the arm was sufficient.  Turning away with a heavy sigh, I could feel the weight of defeat heavy against my chest. It had happened again, just like before, I bombed out!  There has to be a silver lining in it all, right?

If I was going to fail at every competition, then it was time to stop and take a moment to celebrate the small wins.  Not the red rosette, the 70%+ score, or the Regional Qualification, no.  Instead, I’m talking about celebrating the small stuff; the little things that most brush off as no big deal or not good enough, particularly when the goal is to be competitive.  I’m talking about actively looking for the wins and celebrating them.  Here are some small win examples from my last outing: Continue reading Celebrate the Small Wins

On The Forehand

Here’s the thing – You simply cannot pull your horse up off the forehand, so if you have a horse that pulls down on your hands, barely uses his hind legs let alone pushes from them, is heavy, hard to manoeuvre and thoroughly unpleasant to ride; if you feel like your horse would fall on his face if you were to release the contact … then you have a horse that is on the forehand. Continue reading On The Forehand

5 Olympic Values That Shape What I Do

As we travel life’s arduous road, our life experiences help us shape and develop the core values we hold dear.  They mature into a set of principles which we deem significant and refer to time and time again, because we consider them worthy, useful and important to us.

There are so many fabulously inspirational stories coming out of the Rio Olympics; stories of how athletes have overcome great strife to achieve their dreams of becoming an Olympian. Continue reading 5 Olympic Values That Shape What I Do

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