On winning Badminton 2019, Piggy French was quoted as saying: “This shows that if you have a system and work hard, dreams can come true.” This is a philosophy that event rider and trainer, Harriet Morris-Baumber, not only lives by herself but also instils in her clients.
“Systematic training, hard work and consistency are the foundations for any successful partnership and once a training programme is developed, it must be given time pay off.” said Harriet.
What is Systematic Training?
Systematic training usually involves sticking with the same trainer and is broken down into four phases – work out what needs improvement, come up with a plan, which you put into action and then look at the results.
By sticking with a regular coach you will build a relationship whereby you can have an open dialogue with both parties being able to ask questions and create consistency for both horse and rider.
“A coach that knows you and your horse well can see progression and also little habits appearing before they turn into a major issue. A regular coach can see the overall bigger picture and know that your weaker right leg sliding back is a work in progress. Even if an instructor has an amazing reputation, during a one off lesson they have no baseline in your ability to work up from.” adds Harriet.
Having a regular coach will enable you to gently stretch out of your comfort zone with a person you trust, where as someone who is unfamiliar with you and your horse might push you beyond your capabilities which can be damaging for your confidence and your horse.
Equally, your coach needs to know when to push you more to ensure that you stay on track within your training plan, which also needs to be realistic and achievable.
HMB Equestrian holds regular clinics using Harriet’s fantastic facilities at her yard, but Harriet offers a few words of caution about attending too many different clinics with different coaches.
“I have participated in clinics before where riders have had a very good session and their horse has gone really well, yet they would struggle to go away and replicate the same training at home as there was no clear system to follow. Also the same set of instructions may not be applicable in a few weeks’ time. The issue may have gone or another appeared and the same instructions are no longer relevant.”
Often in clinics or a group lesson it is more difficult to address complex issues but on the plus side, working in a group can be a very good way to educate a young horse.
Using the odd clinic once you have an established system can be a good thing, providing a fresh pair of eyes or just using a different environment to train in.
Training is an ever evolving process and a truly talented coach should be able to take you on a journey, altering, evolving, and adapting the training as you and your horse progress. Everything from feeding to fitness can be evaluated continually.
It’s the small marginal gains that will add up to a big difference in performance!
Photo Credit – Iain B Photography