Establishing the foundations
So what can you expect from me as a trainer? My job is to equip you with the skills and insights to allow you to find your own way and naturally progress together with your horse, be it dressage or jumping. Most likely we’ll spend an initial lesson assessing the basics and giving you the tools to become more effective and your horse more responsive. You should go away from a lesson with ideas so that you can continue working with your horse without me there and if you get stuck in between lessons, I’ll be at the end of the phone to chat it through and help!
I enjoy teaching, especially helping you understand your horse and how you interact with each other so that you can become a stronger partnership. Lockie Richards opened my eyes to the principles of training but it is only through having made mistakes, riding many horses and the passage of time, that I properly appreciate them and realise how important it is to allow a horse to evolve at his/her own pace with the correct basics in place. You end up with a more rounded, educated horse, especially when you are competing at the higher levels – after all Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Getting the basics right is essential – your horse needs to be forward, off your leg, supple, in rhythm and in balance. When these fundamentals are in place, whatever your discipline – dressage, show jumping or cross country – you will have the basic training components to build on as your horse progresses.
It may be tempting to use quick fixes but they may adversely affect the long term training of your horse. It is always better to take a long term view rather than just training your horse specifically for next weeks competition. Being in a rush with things may work in the short term but often things will fall apart as soon as you ask your horse more difficult questions.
Most importantly you want your horse to enjoy its work. Keep things simple, be consistent as a rider and aim for quality; these are the keys to developing your horse’s training.
- Simplicity because you want your horse to know what he’s supposed to be doing without him getting frustrated because he doesn’t understand.
- Consistency so he has a benchmark to work from and common ground is established between horse and rider.
- Quality of work is always preferable to quantity – a short schooling session of quality work is worth a million times more than a long session of average work, although inevitably there will be occasions where a longer session is necessary if an issue has to be worked through.
I believe training a horse is a holistic process – the whole horse needs to be taken into account. All horses are slightly one-sided, finding some movements easy and others more difficult. If your horse is not comfortable in its way of going due to issues such as muscle pain, skeletal misalignment, a poorly fitting saddle or if he is compensating because you are crooked, then these should be addressed to give you and your horse every chance of achieving your goals.
Training with me should be friendly, confidence-giving and supportive. I’ve ridden a long time and experienced the pitfalls and disappointments as well as the successes and fun. We can tailor your training to support whatever your long term goals are, always with a strong emphasis on making sure the foundations are there so that you can become more effective, subtle and understanding as a rider.