Tag Archives: dressage training

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 8

Crystal System BookNow we come to the actual riding element of this self-help system, where the goal is to put into place the basic requirements to enable you to train your horse and for you, as a team, to come together and be as one.

Crystal System Dressage

“… It really does help to recognise the influence we have with our seat as early as we can in our dressage careers, only then can we begin to appreciate how very generous our horses are for allowing us to ride them at all and how we owe it to them to try to be ‘at one’ with them for this honour.  How many riders are able to feel the movement of their horse’s hind leg through their seat and really understand what is happening underneath them?  There are lots of reasons why we should but I guess that’s something else we are not taught as a beginner. ” Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 8

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 7

“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it” – Confucius

Chapter 7 takes you through a top to toe analysis of you as a rider, looking at:Crystal System Dressage

  • Head and Neck
  • Arms and Shoulders
  • Hands and Wrists
  • Elbows
  • Breathing
  • Pelvis and Hips
    • Independence
    • Open Your Hips
    • Align The Hips
    • Following
    • The Psoas Muscles
  • Seat Bones and Neutral Spine
  • Buttocks
  • Upper Thigh
  • Knees
  • Calf and Ankles
  • Feet

Here are a few extracts and tips to give you a flavour of what you can expect.

Crystal System Book“… Of course, being an athlete is not just about fitness, the elegant, calm and quiet position we all aspire to have is beautiful, aesthetically and functionally.  For me the very essence of why it is so beautiful is because of effectiveness.  There are riders who look pretty, but do not communicate with their horse; there are riders who believe themselves to be effective but will also admit to ‘a few positional faults’.  I do not hold with either of these schools of thought.  I want to be able to influence my horse with my riding whilst having a correct seat.  This for me is where the beauty is. ” Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 7

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 6

BookHope you are enjoying your Crystal System preview so far.   Just 3 days now until it will be available to purchase on this website.

The discovery phase for me was quite humbling.  Any unwillingness to consider new ideas is often the result of the brain’s natural dislike for vagueness which is why my mission is to keep everything as clear and simple as possible.

Crystal System Dressage“… Dressage is a thinking sport, riding is about strategy.  Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 6

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 5


“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction” – J.F. Kennedy

Crystal System Dressage

Book“… Not until I embarked on this journey did I fully understand the significance of flexibility and muscle strength and fitness to my riding.  I did not appreciate how disadvantaged I was with the negative muscle memory from years sitting at a desk, or the way my shoulder hindered me because of the riding injury I had sustained 17 years earlier.

So in years gone by when I was told ‘get your heels down’ I would push down with my calf, sending tension up through my thigh, pinching with my knees, raising my seat-bones out of the saddle, tilting me forward and unbalancing my position and of course getting in the way of progress.  However, since recognising that the tightness in my Psoas muscles was never going to allow me to ‘push down into my heels’ without the catalogue of issues described above, what I actually needed was a few simple and easy to do exercises that I could spend 10 mins doing which released my Psoas muscles.  Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 5

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 4

“Out of clutter find simplicity, from discord find harmony, in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert EinsteinCrystal System Dressage

Crystal System Book“DEFINE – Are you FIT?  If the answer is yes, that’s a really good start but we need to delve deeper, examine the standards by which you are making this judgement.

There are many aspects to being fit for riding dressage:

  • stamina
  • strength
  • agility
  • flexibility
  • balance
  • co-ordination
  • reaction time and of course your
  • general health

Crystal System DressageIf the answer is no, then that’s also a good start.  We all have to start somewhere, right?  Let’s take a look at all the elements combined that will define you as an equestrian athlete, fully able to cope with the rigours of dressage riding and your effectiveness in the saddle.”

” … Without core stability the lower back is not supported from inside and can be injured by strain caused by exercise.  It is also believed that insufficient core stability can result in lower back pain, poor posture and lethargy. Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 4

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 3

Having established what is driving you to do this passion of ours Chapter 3 of The Crystal System Book will help you get some clarity on exactly what it is you want and how you are going to get it.
Crystal System Dressage

Crystal System Book… Top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields use the setting of goals to give long-term vision and short-term enthusiasm to their projects.  It focuses the mind and helps to, not only organise, but prioritise time so that you can make the very most of it. Let’s be honest, for most amateur riders there is a balancing act to be achieved in terms of time.  By setting smart, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in your achievements, however small. Assuming these mean something to you, you should see progress in what might previously have seemed a long and pointless grind.  Goals will make you aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, so that you can begin to improve your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”

Crystal System Dressage

” … Are you sold on the idea?  Are you itching to scamper off and start writing stuff down? Not yet? Here’s my final pitch … Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 3

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 1


Crystal System BookPhew!  I have never been one for taking things to the wire.  I am a planner by nature but getting this book to you before Christmas has challenged me.

The launch date is set for 30th November 2015 and on the lead up to the big date I will be sharing with you snippets of The Crystal System Book (in condensed form) to give you a feel for what to expect and help you decide how it might help you.

Let’s kick off with Chapter 1 explaining the format of the book and what you can expect from the system.

TransitionsReally, hope you like it …

Meet Crystal …

It is with great pleasure that in Chapter 1 I introduce you to Crystal, a cartoon character, illustrated by yours truly, inspired by Mark’s very own Lusitano mare, Sintra.  She will lighten your spirits and inject a little fun along the way! 
Look UpEach chapter has a motivational quotation at the beginning, which reflects the content of the chapter and sets the mood. Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 1

In the Stirrups Magazine – November 2015

The latest issue of In The Stirrups Magazine is out!

In the Stirrups

I make no excuses for this month’s article.  It is blatant self promotion of The Crystal System Book on page 14 and 15 and, as always, is summarised below for your ease of reading.

I don’t mind telling you that I’m having a bit of a ‘mare’ in the latter stages of getting the book to you, but I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say I am still hoping for a November launch date.

Watch this space!



What’s in it for you?

Crystal System BookWondering if The Crystal System Book will benefit you?  I think there’s something in it for everyone, but if you can answer any of these question with a YES, you should give it a go … Continue reading In the Stirrups Magazine – November 2015

Coming Soon! The Crystal System Book

It’s on it’s way … The Crystal System Book!

It has been what seems like forever since I began The Crystal System Book but it is finally with the printers and we are now on the build up to release.  So, in honour of getting to this point, my website will also be relaunched very soon, as I’ve had it redesigned in readiness for the book launch.  From the new website you will be able to pre-order the book and certainly within the next month I should hope to have a launch date.  Anyone who wants to register their interest in receiving the book should subscribe to the blog or email me at help@likecrystal.com.

I’m talking to a number of retailers about how to get the book to you and of course, no self respecting author can get to a worldwide audience without the help of Amazon where it will also be available.

Crystal System BookI am very, very excited to be sharing this with you.  Over the coming weeks I will give you some snippets and tasters from the book to allow you to assess if you think it could help you.  Lets begin with the synopsis about The Crystal System.

About The System

“Many horse riding training methods and systems of training are mechanical; techniques which the trainer will try to instil in a pupil.  To ride well you need ‘feel’, which is not only difficult to teach, it’s difficult for a trainer to explain and difficult for a rider to grasp.  It helps if you can develop sensitivity and tact; build your body so that it can work with the horse’s movement; understand the affects you are having on your horse and understand what is at the heart of everything you do. Continue reading Coming Soon! The Crystal System Book

In the Stirrups Magazine – October 2015

In the StirrupsIn the StirrupsIn the Stirrups Magazine is back, bigger, brighter, better and packed full of goodies that you’ll love.  Anne Cage at Confident Horsemanship shares advice on how to handle your ‘spooky’ horse. There are interviews with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin and Daisy Jackson Dressage gets some great news about her ride on Blackberry in her blog article.

But not least, check out my article on pages 31 through to 33 and sign up so that you don’t miss future issues.

In the Stirrups Magazine – October 2015 Issue article: Could You Cast The First Stone?

Observing a riders’ application and proportion of punishment to reward can be endlessly fascinating, a great way to learn and very telling of a riders training methods and riding mindset.

Continue reading In the Stirrups Magazine – October 2015