Fun , Focus and a little bit Competitive

Hi Everyone

I thought I would try to put a few ideas to you re working your horses / ponies at home whilst being mindful of the NHS request regarding staying safe and minimising risk.
Everything I am saying can be achieved “WITH OR WITHOUT YOUR 4 LEGGED PARTNER BEING PRESENT *

VISUALIZE : to form a mental image

We have all got videos of past performances hopefully from the last years shows and training prior to the start of this season. Some of you may have a new ride and a partnership to form so video from the old owner / rider might need to be obtained.
Now sit down and watch some clips , what I would suggest is staying on just one subject and one discipline at a time.
Take the Dressage Test for an example, (if you keep your Dressage mark sheets and I know a lot of us don’t so don’t worry its not totally necessary ) focus your attention on lets say

Transitions.

  • How correct are they ?
  • Are they accurate to the marker?
  • Responsive to the aids and accepting of the leg to hand contact?
  • Forward and Balanced ?
  • How are you sitting ?
  • Are you in Balance , with correct symmetry and feel ?
  • Looking ahead with a smart accurate outline , presenting a balanced picture?

Now see areas that can be improved. Maybe not by very much but those little 1%’s can begin to make a very big difference to the overall mark.

Do this through the whole test, each week focus on a different area ie

The Walk and the different gaits , transitions to and from etc.

Lateral work from the novice Leg-yielding to the Half pass

ETC

This can be done from your 80cm BE right through to 5* in an arena or on a field .
You can mark out the exact shapes and size of the movements you wish to ride and if able to ride them practice accuracy, rhythm and balance. If no horse is available work on your feet and visualise an event location you found yourself in last year and ride it through in your mind analysing how you can improve on the mark you attained.
All these ideas can be shared and worked on with your support team be it Partner, Parent or Coach.

You can then use exactly the same template to work on the SJ rounds with poles on the ground.

Study videos of the rounds you have jumped or again if a new combination archive their past performances with the previous rider. Look at areas that could be improved on, remember that 1%

  • Your position , focus , control and balance?
  • Is there a dominant leg the horse / pony lands on or a rein that is easier to turn on ?
  • Are you confident with the course plan , relaxed and focused or is this an area that may need addressing?

Just put some poles on the field ( and if the field is gently undulating it is not a problem ) or arena ( if you have access to one) spaced well out, remember it will feel a long way apart on your feet but not when you are riding. You do not have to worry about specific distances it is all about becoming effective to the situation and understanding your 4 legged partner’s needs. Then ride around a little course you have designed , it should consist of about 6/7 poles if possible that can be approached on both reins . This will enable you to work on accuracy , adjusting with tempo and stride where needed , balance around corners and FOCUS changing leg through trot when needed , working on your counter canter and also correct and balanced flying changes where appropriate.

Remember if you are a Parent helping your child with this , a rider working through this with a friend, partner or coach have fun with it.

Look at the videos independently and see what information you both take from them and the areas that stand out for each of you , it might not necessarily be the same things , if you notice something it is there .

I know these are unprecedented times for all of us at the moment and the stress and worry we are all going through is unimaginable but WE ALL MUST LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER HAVE EMPATHY AND A GREATER UNDERSTANDING.

Riders, Owners , Sponsors , Coaches , Supporters our situations have all changes dramatically and we all need to understand that. Priorities and expenses will change and so will our lives in general but we will get through this and come out the other side STRONGER and with more EMPATHY .

Stay safe everyone and I hope you enjoy the sessions

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