Tag Archives: The Crystal System Dressage

Annus Horribilis – Looking Forward to 2017


Hey guys, I’m really sorry I have been a little absent of late.  2016 Has been my annus horribilis!  After a very long illness my beloved mother lost her fight for life on 22 November 2016.  It was a blessed release.

I am thankful for the time I had with mum, I am grateful that I was lucky enough to have been her daughter and I will hold her in my heart forever.

I will honour her by living my life to the full and making 2017 my ‘optimus anno aeternum’ or ‘Best Year Ever’.

I hope you will join me as the blog picks up momentum again.  I have lots planned, just need to get my head sorted over the festive period and get some rest so that I can hit the ground running come January.

Have fun and look out for each other.

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster



Equine Magazine – July 2016

Equine Magazine

We have teamed up with Equine Magazine to offer an exclusive package of dressage goodies including a copy of The Crystal System Book, A Blue Chip Dressage Saddle Cloth and a set of Kitt Equestrian Dressage Wraps.

The Crystal System DressageEquine MagazineKitt Dressage WrapsI am absolutely delighted with The Crystal System book review featured on Page 45 of the July 2016 Issue of Equine Magazine, they say … Continue reading Equine Magazine – July 2016

Gee Gee and Me

I was blown away by the review I received from Jessica of Gee Gee and Me.  Reading this has made the whole experience worthwhile!

The Crystal System by Patricia Pitt, more famously known and bowed down to as; The Dressage Tipster is the writer of the thought provoking blog I have followed for many years, so when the opportunity arose to read and review her newly released book, to say I was excited would be an understatement! Those of you who follow Gee Gee and Me on Facebook will know how much I loved every page of the engaging read, I never picked it up without my notebook and pen by my side and it has more post-it’s sticking out, left, right and centre, than my favourite cook-book!

Crystal System Book

My nickname at the yard is “sponge” because I love to learn and have a genuine thirst for knowledge, as soon as The Crystal System arrived I declared “I can’t wait to get schooling tonight”…then I read page 7 and halted.

The Crystal System asks me (the reader) to read the book cover to cover before beginning my crystal clear journey…and this is what you will all embark upon when you read The Crystal System. Yes, it’s a book but my goodness it’s personal, I am competing, training and learning more than ever before in my equestrian career but have never undertaken such self evaluation until now. I’d almost call it, self help!

Gee Gee and Me
You will fall in love with this lady, she is named Crystal 
and based on a cartoon version of Mark’s (Patricia’s partners) Lusitano mare.

Recently I had a lesson with someone I have trained with for many years, the trainer is an acquired taste but one that has suited us in the past, due to finances I hadn’t been to a clinic in some months. The trainer paused the lesson after my first walk around the arena and changed everything about our picture, the “new and improved” position made a muscle in my back pull (as a pilates geek I was overly aware of this, therefore Oscar will have known my discomfort), I felt like a mannequin, unable to use my legs I asked for my whip, a-ha, couldn’t use my whip, doing so affected my hands, then guess what, they were wrong too. I got off in despair, the trainers comment ” that’s called riding”, well it sure didn’t feel like freedom, one of the main reasons I commit my entire life to my horse for!?

This session has played on my mind ever since because I consider myself a competent and knowledgeable rider, I am not afraid to ask why, I like to understand processes and ride to the best of my ability, taking notes and doing my homework in-between lessons, I felt like Patricia related to me in this first chapter and agreed, various methods and theories are good, but which is The One the follow? It is so very easy to get lost.

Chapter two moved onto our personal drive, page 15 has a post-it with a big hand drawn love heart, pointing to this sentence; I was surprised to learn that the vast majority of successful people feel like imposters from time to time; it’s actually a positive sign.

Oscar and I joined British Dressage in December as associates, warming up in my tweed hacking jacket I wear out hunting made me feel like the poor relation, the twice we have competed we’ve scored 60%+ and walked away with a third and second placing in very competitive classes…both times I have driven home wondering did I deserve this? I find self praise challenging and give myself a hard time for anything I do that in my opinion is less than perfect! Chapter two certainly helped me as it made these “faking it” feelings acceptable and not to dwell on them.

Chapter three was to dream…chapter two made dreaming a little easier, yes we did score 60%+ in our first two débuts!! And The Crystal System got my bottom into gear to read the British Dressage rule book 2016 and learn where Oscar and I could fit in that world. Had the chapter been titled Goal Setting, I’d have probably groaned and flicked past…I do enough of that in my 9-5, this is my hobby,  I do it for fun, yes? The Crystal System is motivationally written throughout, avoiding any of these feelings.

Simplicity is the key to brilliance

This theme continues throughout the twelve incredible chapters! I work in a professional environment were appraisals are regularly conducted and SMART goals are set, yet my personal life is such a busy blur that I never made the time to sit down and assess my aspirations against reality, never mind put a crystal clear plan in place – maybe I was what I’d call in the office, a busy fool?!

The Crystal System includes templates to be used to our hearts content and because of the privacy – it is just me with a book, notepad and pen I felt encouraged to be really honest and transparent with myself and scribbled away…when prompted to put in order of priority, reality kicked in and I focused my energy on key areas, but it felt fabulous to address all the little things, even if they are priority number 574, Rome wasn’t built in a day 

Continue reading Gee Gee and Me

In the Stirrups – Jan 2016

January’s In The Stirrups Magazine is out.

My article can be found on pages 30 to 33 and as ever is replicated below for your ease.

Go over to the magazine though and take a look at the results from Olympia, Tried and Tested, The Cush Grip Gel Whip, my article and In The Stirrups own therapy unicorn Applause.

In The Stirrups Article – January 2016

2016 is HERE: Get Your Mind Set Right for The Challenge

I have changed.  I hadn’t noticed the change because it’s really sneaky.  Bit like being a child and growing.  You get taller but you don’t notice until you stand up against a wall and mark it.

The same holds true for my changes.  We are all constantly changing, but it’s hard to notice.  It’s not even a question of if you’re changing; it’s more about which direction are you going in.  How in control of your changes are you?  Here are 10 ideas around the way you think about your riding which may help you get the right mind set for your challenges. Continue reading In the Stirrups – Jan 2016

The Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 13

Chapter 13  – Overcoming a Crisis

Crystal System DressageIn this final chapter I talk about what to do if and when you hit a crisis.

On understanding the inevitable

Crystal System Book… The new habits you form are often very fragile and it is for this reason that you need to eliminate any source of resistance that may lead you astray. When the inevitable ‘curve ball’ is thrown into play, you need some strategies to deal with the unexpected. Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but having the ability to deal with them”.

On Competition Anxiety

Continue reading The Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 13

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 12

CRYSTAL SYSTEM DRESSAGE – Chapter 12 – DO – Rider Focus Plan

So we move to the penultimate chapter of the book, pulling together all you have gleaned from previous chapters, this post gives you a few sample paragraphs, quotes, tips and illustrations that are included in Chapter 12 to see you if think it might be for you.

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellent then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Crystal System Dressage“… Evaluation and re-evaluation and a systematic progressive plan will ensure that the inevitable recurring plateaus can be dealt with.  You may feel unable to ride, you may feel like what you are trying to achieve is just not achievable. This will continue until you become secure and master the new way of working.  Often riders get to thinking ‘it’s like learning to ride all over again’.  In the long term, the cycle of breakthrough, plateau, re-evaluation will never end, no matter how accomplished you become.

However those ‘bad’ rides, after which you think that you will never learn to ride skilfully can and will be overcome if you continue to analyse and figure it out for yourself; no quick fix, no shortcut, no easy way – only diligent practice.”Crystal System Dressage

Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 12

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 11

Chapter 11 – Do – Suppling Your Horse

Snippets from Chapter 11 to give you a feel for what The Crystal System offers you.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Be curious” – Stephen HawkingClarity

“… The critical aim of the preliminary training phase is looseness and by this I mean relaxation of all of the joints and muscles.  Only when your horse is supple can he create impulsion, be straight and have balance with a swinging back and self-carriage.  Looseness is not achieved overnight, particularly if you have started with a horse that has a degree of stiffness anywhere in his body and/or legs.  It will take a minimum of six weeks
of patient work for you to re-train any ‘bad’ muscle memory and a further six weeks for the muscle to develop and become strong.  Laterally your horse should be able to bend his body from poll to just behind the saddle without falling in on the shoulder or swinging out the haunches.  The only means you have for acquiring lateral suppleness in your horse is lateral bending.” Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 11

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 10

Chapter 10 – Do – Influencing Your Horse

More snippets from The Crystal System Book …

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

Crystal System Book“Of course, everything we do influences our horse’s way of going and it is worth taking on board my primary message to you ‘If you get the right response when you ask correctly, it surely follows that if you get the wrong response, you may not be asking correctly”.

“… The novice or untrained horse (whatever the age) needs time to develop strength and flexibility to accomplish the desired ‘roundness.’ It’s important that every time you take a walk break, you should give a loose rein and let your horse adopt any frame he wants so that he can relax his muscles.  The length of time you ask your horse to work ‘on the bit’ depends on the individual horse. Always consider his age, fitness, and temperament.  Clearly, if you do too much and make your horse sore because he’s using his muscles differently, you’re not only going to have a sore horse, but also a horse that becomes quirky and resistant.  So the trick with anything you do with a horse is to bring him up to the limit, and then take the pressure off.   As soon as your horse shows signs of resistance because he’s either physically or mentally tired, back off.  Build up day by day.Crystal System Book

Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 10

Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 9

Crystal System Dressage, Chapter 9

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Chapter 9

Crystal System Book“…  There are a number of essential elements to the way your horse works which are fundamental to your dressage success.  They are forwardness, rhythm and relaxation, tempo and straightness.  Without a clear understanding of their importance and a basic knowledge of how to achieve them you simply will not be able to perform a basic training test and unquestionably you will not be able to progress the levels. ”

Crystal System Dressage“… Imagine your horse ambling along in walk, jogging instead of trotting, stumbling through a test constantly breaking the three beat canter.  Not often do you see all of these faults in one horse but sure as night follows day you will experience these faults, at least to some extent, if you have not focussed your training on rhythm.  Because in this small, rather oddly spelled word (should be ritham, right?) you have wrapped up a whole host of skills you and your horse must master; energy, even tempo, clear and regular paces, balance, contact and so on.  If you consider that impurities or irregularities in the rhythm, tempo and stride length are serious flaws in your horse’s ability to perform you can begin to appreciate Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 9

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