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

The Ultimate Guide to Canter to Trot Transitions

Riding good canter to trot transitions is a joy and a skill.   In my experience the upwards transitions are the joy and the downwards transitions are the where the real skill lies!

I want to, nay need to, share with you my ‘eureka moment’ I had only this week whilst working on improving the quality of our canter to trot transitions.  Those confounded downward transitions can be tricky, can’t they? Continue reading The Ultimate Guide to Canter to Trot Transitions

Para Dressage – I can, I will, End of Story

Para Dressage Rider, Johanne Picken looks back and updates us on the progress of her dream.

Some of you will remember back in November 2013 when I introduced Johanne Picken to you.  My blog post, called ‘As Long as you have Passion, You are Unstoppable’ created quite a reaction due to the struggles Johanne had overcome simply to be in the saddle.  I caught up with Johanne again recently.  Here’s her memories of where she was back then … Continue reading Para Dressage – I can, I will, End of Story

What Rio 2016 Olympics Means For Dressage

Rio 2016Did you know that our beloved sport is under threat as an Olympic sport, as are all the equestrian disciplines?   Imagine that, just as Team GB get up there as a force to be reckoned with in Olympic Dressage they pull the rug from under us!

I don’t think so, certainly not if we can help it. Thankfully there is something we CAN do to help.

Continue reading What Rio 2016 Olympics Means For Dressage

Award Winning Equestrian Blog