Positive Thinking

September 13th, 2023 Posted by Competition, Mindset, Training 0 thoughts on “Positive Thinking”

When you compete do you focus on the negative or the positive aspects when you reflect on you and your horse’s performance?

Equestrianism is a tough sport, anyone who has had a horse for a significant amount of time will know that it is easy to get disheartened by horse accidents, human accidents, large bills and difficult competition experiences. So a pattern of negative thinking can creep in and influence your mindset. 

What can you do about it? 

Identify areas where you want to become more positive. For example if you are struggling to be positive about your competition experience then think of what you can do to make the experience less stressful, and more enjoyable. It might be taking a supportive friend with you, getting help from an NLP practitioner or having a plan for the competition. All things that can help you to start in a positive way from the moment you get up to the moment you leave the show ground. 

Check your mind and how you are feeling throughout the day. So every now and then throughout the day, stop and evaluate whether you are feeling positive or mainly negative. Turn the thoughts around and find a way to put a positive spin on things. Why did you start thinking negatively? What changed your mood? How can you stop yourself from going down a ‘doom loop’? 

You are allowed to have fun! Laugh, crack a joke, watch some dogs ‘doing silly things’ videos or tiktoks, it really helps with stress. I can’t remember who said that ‘Laughter keeps the doctor away’ but I definitely feel it!!

Trying to stick to a routine of some sort both food, sleep and exercise wise. This is an aspect that I have learnt really helps me. We all need chocolate and wine in our life but sometimes food can bring feelings of guilt and self loathing if we eat the wrong thing and feel lethargic or have sugar rushes. So  if at all possible being sensible with food and drink habits makes a massive difference to mental and physical health. I really wish we had more healthy food at competitions as opposed to stodgy, carb heavy offerings!!

This next one is something I totally and utterly believe in. Surround yourself with positive people. You want ‘Radiators’ in your life not “Drains”. So radiators are people that exude warmth and positivity, they help and assist you. These people do have down days as they are human but they predominantly are positive mindset people. Drains are the ones that suck the life and emotion out of you! They are always seeing doom and gloom everywhere, they drain you of your positivity and always need propping up emotionally. I am not talking about when a friend is going through a rough patch, these people are always having a worse time than you, worse ride, bigger vets bill etc., I am sure you know the sort!

Finally practice being positive and talking to yourself. So when you are thinking or listening to your inner voice do not say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Try to encourage your inner self with positive affirmations and encouraging thoughts. Evaluate any negative thought rationally and check the positivity aspect. Be thankful of what you have in your life, be grateful of the people and animals in your life and keep working on that positive mindset. 

I look forward to hearing about your positive thoughts and riding experiences. 

Horse Welfare and Sport

August 25th, 2023 Posted by Competition, Welfare 0 thoughts on “Horse Welfare and Sport”

All competitions involving animals are under scrutiny from political groups, whether you show dogs or compete your horse in a riding club event you need to be prepared to have your motives questioned. 

On the one hand it seems dreadfully sad that it has come to this and that we can no longer be carefree when competing our horses but on the other hand I totally get where some of the groups are coming from. No longer do we tolerate a circus with lions or elephants ‘performing’ for crowds and confined to small living conditions. It will not be long before the binoculars are well and truly focussed on all horse sports. 

So what should we do as informed and empathetic riders and horse carers? First step is to educate ourselves and keep up to date with the research and science about good husbandry and the impact of our tack and training methods. 

You may be aware of the five freedoms which are the basis of how we should look at our competitive lifestyles

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour – think socialisation, movement and happy horse
  • Freedom from fear and distress – think about mental and physical health and tailoring the environment to suit the horse you have. 

On a day to day level we can all help our horses to lead a happy life by covering off the basics. To me gone are the days when it is acceptable to keep a horse in a stable 24/7, they need to have exercise, time out to roll and socialise, time to graze, time to be away from humans and just be a horse. Within this generalised care framework there is plenty of room to cater to each horses needs and wants. Some prefer more turnout, some less particularly if they are not fond of rain and wind!! Some like to have a paddock on their own but have a neighbour next to them, others like a herd to play with. At this stage no one is saying you have to follow a certain path, you can manage your horse’s life within the basic five freedoms. 

Where I think this gets complicated is when we add competing into the mix. Some horses drag you up the ramp and adore the competition environment and I wouldn’t dispute that they are happy. For others it might be a more stressful experience or they might take some time to understand the whole concept and this is where horse welfare might be compromised. No one would argue that horses need to go on a horse box or trailer, it might be a necessity due to veterinary issues. But what is a sensible distance to travel on a regular basis? When is it too hot or too windy to travel? How can we prepare our horses for a stay away show so that they remain calm and happy? You need to ask yourself these questions and think about the parameters that you will compete within.

I see plenty of people taking their horses/ponies to shows and they are out every weekend sometimes both days expecting that horse to perform to their best. You can cause a horse to go stale and down tools! They do get fed up of yet another competition and yet another situation where they are on the lorry for the day – remember they do not get much out of competition! To me over competing is not acceptable and puts undue stress on the horse. 

So all I am asking is for you to consider and plan how and when you are taking your horse to a competition, how you make their life as lovely as possible at home and how you can continuously improve yourself and the welfare of your horse. Because if we don’t step up then we may be forced to stop competing in the not too distant future. 

Buyer beware – part 2

April 15th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Buyer beware – part 2”

So here we are again with the second part of my buying blog. 

We finished the last blog at the stage of you having done all your riding and basic checks, hopefully you have found the ‘one’. So from a riding point of view your potential new horse ticks all the boxes and you are smitten!! Very exciting. You are ready to go to the next stage, deposit, to vet or not to vet and purchase. 


I have never left a deposit for a horse and I don’t think I have been asked for one. Even when I have dealt with a dealer on the continent I haven’t left a deposit. The problem is that you need to know the terms under which you are giving/receiving the deposit. 

For example, do you get the deposit back if the vet says the horse is 5 when the owner said it is 6? Is the deposit kept if you change your mind because you saw a better/shinier horse the next day? 

So deposits can be a bit of a minefield for all concerned. I totally understand why the owner might want a deposit left in good faith if they have a queue around the block of people wanting a horse. They want some commitment from the potential purchaser that they are going to go through with the sale. But please write down the amount of the deposit, what horse it is for (copy of passport) and in what circumstances the deposit will be refunded. 


I am just going to put my thoughts out there!! 

Vettings should be viewed as a moment in time. The horse was sound and healthy at that point under a specific set of circumstances. The x-rays taken again represent that moment, not three months after you have purchased the horse. 

So should you have a vetting? Generally yes. My questions to ask would be;

    • what price are you paying?
    • what can you afford to lose? 
    • do you need insurance?

If you need insurance over £4 or £5k then you will require a 5 stage vet examination. If you are paying over £10k then you normally need x-rays as well. If you are paying below that you may still want the basic 2 stage done. 

I view the vetting as an indication of the future soundness of a horse. It is not an exact science in my humble opinion, it gives you a few observations on your future dancing partner that you need to bear in mind as time progresses. If a vetting and x-rays show nothing at all, I am probably more suspicious!! No horse is perfect, just like us humans!!

If at all possible attend the vetting, if not be on hand around the time that the vetting is taking place just in case anything comes up and the vet wants to check in with you. Before the vetting make sure that your vet has the full passport name of the horse, age, and microchip number. When I see a horse I often ask for the passport to check the vaccinations and take a photo, you can then send this to the vet undertaking the pre purchase exam. 

So view this part as something you need for insurance and it gives you an indication of soundness and whether your horse is fit for the sport you want to do. For a top eventer you would want healthy heart and lungs, for a happy hacker you may accept a bit of a noise during fast work. If something comes up, don’t dismiss the horse, is it an issue you can live with? Is it a bit of wear and tear due to age? If this is your dream horse in every other respect talk it over with your vet and then take a considered decision. Do you understand my reasoning? 

Now you are ready to purchase, or are you? First of all consider if you have any doubts or concerns. Look back at the videos, pictures and email/text conversations to see whether there is anything missing. Have you done some digging across social media? Checked the horse’s competition record? Is everything consistent with what you have been told? 

Just a little anecdote about why all the ‘evidence’ can be useful. A friend purchased a horse direct from the owners (although a third party professional had recommended it) and all went well in terms of the viewing and conversations going back and forth. Luckily these were predominantly in writing. Horse was vetted and duly arrived. A number of issues occurred in the handling of the horse which in the advert was described as a confidence giving complete star/unicorn. The previous owner then started to backtrack in a couple of important areas, one of which was catching the horse in the field!! After being shown both front legs and also rear legs when trying to catch said horse on several occasions the decision was made that there were just too many handling problems to consider keeping him. On further investigation of social media it was apparent that the horse had existing problems with the original owners, all of which they had denied. The ‘evidence’ gathered and kept during the purchase process was crucial in sending the horse back and getting the money back for the new owner. 

Without the ‘evidence’ there is little chance of getting money back in a ‘private’ purchase scenario. If someone is a dealer then you have more scope within the law to get your money back. 

Don’t forget when you hand over the money to get a receipt that is signed and dated or keep details of the bank transfer. If your horse is being transported, the people in charge of transport can let you know when they have the horse and passport and most are happy to send a photo.

So buyer beware, be prepared, do your homework and keep evidence ‘just in case’. 

In my next blog I will look at bringing your precious purchase home and how to manage the transition. How can you be the best new owner for your horse?

Buyer Beware! – Part 1

March 25th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Buyer Beware! – Part 1”


Buyer beware!

After my last post about the cost of getting a horse to the age of four, I thought it would be a good idea to do a follow up about the fun and pitfalls of purchasing horses.

Buying horses has always been a difficult matchmaking process. With the added complications of Brexit and Covid in the mix, some would say it has become near impossible to cover all your bases as a purchaser. So what do I do when looking and purchasing? 

  1. Read the advert very carefully. What has the owner left out? E.g., Good to shoe, box, clip. What about catch? That is an obvious omission (yes I know someone that got tripped up by this), it could be that the horse is perfectly fine to catch and it is a genuine omission or they were running out of words in the advert. However it could also mean that the horse is a nightmare!
  2. Make sure you keep a copy of the advert as you saw it originally and save it!
  3. Ask for videos if not provided. Unless I am buying from someone I know and trust completely, I would always need to see a couple of videos before getting into the car to see the horse. 
  4. By all means phone and talk to the person that owns/is selling the horse. However if you have some specific needs then make sure you have an email/whatsapp/text trail. So for example if you are a para rider with particular disabilities or problems getting on and off then check that the owner thinks the horse is suitable. I will explain later in the second part of the blog.
  5. When you arrange the viewing ask about who else is booked to see the horse and if it is on the same day. You do not want to be riding a horse that someone else has ridden that morning. Message or phone the owner to confirm you are on your way. There is nothing worse than turning up to find the horse has been sold and they forgot to tell you, or its lame. Also there is nothing worse as a seller than people who book appointments and don’t turn up!
  6. Take a trusted friend. They can video, calm your nerves and also provide an objective view. They may notice things that you don’t. Please don’t turn up with the entire family though! Thankfully Covid has generally put a stop to the habit of people viewing horses with entire entourages and treating it as a day out! 
  7. Look at the horse without tack on. Personally I am always a bit suspicious of horses that are already tacked up and ready to go. The only time it is quite ‘normal’ is on the continent when you have lots to see, but then if there is a horse I am keen on, I would see it untacked and even have a sit on it the next day. 
  8. You are not a vet, however, you can feel for lumps and bumps, check for heat, look at the horse’s general demeanour and health. I like to see them walked and trotted in hand on a hard surface wherever possible. Check the feet, ask about shoeing. Ask about current feeding regime and turnout. There is no point buying a horse that needs turnout every day for a few hours to keep it sane if you don’t have winter turnout!
  9. See the horse ridden first before you get on. There have been many instances where people do not want to get on a horse and ride it for the prospective purchaser. Ask yourself why? If they have recently broken their leg, had a baby etc., then surely someone else could ride the horse first? You need to see the horse move and also what it is like when it first steps in the arena. Please pay close attention and try not to get distracted. Is it stiff? Does it seem to curl up or hump, or be a bit cold backed? Is it spooky or fresh? You need to know what type of horse you are dealing with and whether you are happy with any of the potential quirks.
  10. If you only feel comfortable riding in certain stirrups or with particular reins, then take them with you, don’t feel embarrassed.
  11. The first few minutes normally tell you whether you like the horse or not. The caveat is that when I bought Denver he rode very heavy and not light on the hand and my aids. I persevered for ten minutes, felt like a lifetime, and suddenly he switched on to me and I loved him!! 
  12. If you are buying a hacking horse make sure you try out on the road and in the fields. Sounds obvious? If you are buying an allrounder make sure you jump, hack and essentially find the buttons for everything you want to do. You may want to go back for a second trial ride but check everything out as much as possible in the first go.
  13. Be kind to the owner. If the horse is not for you, let them know in a kind way. It’s like houses, some horses will suit you and others won’t. There isn’t anything wrong with them you just don’t ‘click’. Also it is very annoying as an owner if you get no feedback and are left hanging as to whether a horse is potentially sold or not. 
  14. Discuss with your trusted friend on the way home. If you are seeing more than one horse in a day I take notes or record some voice notes. This can be really handy for later to weigh up the pros and cons of each horse. Make sure your trusted friend is objective and not just agreeing with you for the sake of it, they must have your best interests at heart. At the end of the day you are buying for yourself so you need to be clear on what suits you best. 

The second part of the Buyer Beware blog will be published in a week. In that one I will be covering the next steps to buying your dream horse as well as vetting and deposits.

Breeding horses – A mugs game???

February 22nd, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Breeding horses – A mugs game???”

Now that Brexit has actually happened will people look more towards home for their future partners? 

With the current pandemic hampering trips abroad it seems that horse prices in the UK are on the way up. Yet still we see people asking for the ultimate schoolmaster gelding with impeccable temperament, fully integrated sat nav, self cleaning facility and all for under a thousand pounds.  

What is it with these people? I would love a nice Grand Prix schoolmaster to show me the ropes in the competition arena but I’m sure that no one is just going to give me one for a couple of grand 🤷‍♀️ (anyone fancy lending me a GP schoolmaster just drop me an email!!). Anyway back to prices, some of the issue is thoroughbreds coming off the race track and being offered at cheap prices because in the long run it makes sense cost wise. Then we have previous over breeding of random mares and stallions without any consideration of the job that those horses/ponies will do. Then us breeders have had to compete with horse breeding in Europe that is carried out on an industrial scale in some studs with a favourable tax regime. 

In addition the price of a horse or pony hasn’t altered in the ‘general’ market for a number of years. People are charging far more for designer puppies than for a horse or pony. How can this be? 

Anyway for those of you sitting there saying “I’m not paying over two thousand for a horse” consider this.

Cost of getting mare in foal – stud fee £300-£2000 plus insemination costs or mare livery if covered naturally £200-£1000

Veterinary fees for basic foal check, passport and microchip £200

Cost of keeping foal to 4 years – basic field keep, feet trimming, vaccinations and assuming that he/she doesn’t need loads of vet intervention. £3000

Cost of backing – depends on who does it and how long it takes but could be another £2000

So even if you take no account of the cost of the mare in the first place, cost of premises (like does the breeder have a mortgage or to rent) cost of your time,  the horse has cost a minimum of £6200. I have taken a middle line on some of the costs not the top end. 

Did that shock you? Or when you bought your horse did you work it out? Yes I get that there will be economies of scale, some horses live out well and don’t need much feeding but I have cut these costs down. What happens if one of your foals dies, or the mare dies or you get landed with a big vets bill? Again the costs will end up borne by the breeder. So when a breeder is considering the price of a youngster they are factoring in their costs plus the horse’s innate ability and potential for the sport and competition arena. So some may be sold at a loss and others may eke out a profit.

Recently horse prices have started to creep up, and there have been howls of protest across social media with people talking about profiteering. But why should the breeder subsidise your hobby?? Yes your hobby!! 

Anyway how is Brexit going to change life? No hopping across to the continent to buy a ‘cheap’ dutch or German horse because you think that we charge too much over here. The cost of getting a horse across the channel and through the vet checks and paperwork has doubled.  With the pandemic this has also meant that you cant go and view in person at the moment so now British bred horses are starting to look like better value??

We are breeding some outstanding horses for all types of riders and for all budgets to tempt you but you need to get real about what you pay. Pay a fair price and recognise the blood, sweat and tears that the breeder has put into that horse for your benefit. 😍

Fools breed horses for wise men to buy.

Time to Reset?

February 3rd, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Time to Reset?”

It’s that time of year again when people set goals, go on diets, give up alcohol and then forget it all as the year progresses. It is so easy to be fired up with enthusiasm at the start of the year and gradually ‘real life’ impacts your plans and you get bogged down in it all.

So what to do? Is it worth it? 

Currently I am in a process of re-setting. Realistically we have no idea what will happen in the next couple of months so I have re-jigged the training plans for the horses and also the app!!

The focus now goes on sorting out a few training issues ready for PSG/Inter 1 with Denver and Elena, thinking about which level I am going to do a freestyle at and helping my mum get riding fit ready for para competitions. 

Elena and I are working on the canter. She has developed so much in the trot and we now have a collected trot and more variation in the medium and extended paces but the canter seems to have gone back a step. So lots of strengthening work for the canter, heaps of transitions within the pace and travers, shoulder in work. Then the canter pirouettes have been picked apart as I had no control in a full pirouette. Lastly the pesky sometimes late change from right to left is undergoing work, most of that seems related to straightness and also her relaxation and thoroughness. Fingers crossed we are getting more consistent. 

I have ‘pivoted’ as they say in business and I am now entering more online dressage competitions. I found the online experience really ups your game at home. As you have to get a willing volunteer to do the videoing which means I cant be out there for an hour riding the test through numerous times I have to get the horses on the aids and going like they would for a normal competition. The judge feedback is always so helpful and so far absolutely spot on!!

App wise we are updating a few of the versions as new tests have come out or slight revisions have been made. There are also the 2021 rule books to put in ready for when we all get going again. There are loads of other little and not so little projects on their way but I don’t like to say too much until we are ready!!

So I have not set goals as such I prefer to call them outline plans, bit more fluid and dynamic than a fixed goal. What do you think?

Either way I hope you are all managing to keep putting one foot in front of the other, spring is on the way and before you know it the children will be back in school and we will be competing and training again! Lets keep supporting each other and enjoying our horses. Hopefully we will meet soon.


Is there such a thing as “Best piece of advice?”

January 20th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as “Best piece of advice?””

As an over 50’s rider I have been given lots of advice over the years. Some nuggets I have unfortunately forgotten and will no doubt remember at some point! Others have been thought about and binned, and the final group are those pieces of advice that have stuck with me and really resonated.

There is not one single piece of advice that I could say is simply the best so here are a few that I still think about.


Life is not a dress rehearsal

My grandma’s favourite expression and one that I always have in the back of my mind especially as I am older and time seems to disappear at a rapid rate! 😂


This is it folks, our one chance to make an impact, to enjoy our family, horses and our life. Whatever makes you happy and resonates with you should be top of your agenda.


Little things matter

This is more related to the horses. Little things ‘do’ matter with horses, the slight warmth in one foot, a bit of a rub from a saddle pad and a drop of condition could all be a problem. It takes experience both with your own particular horse and with horses in general to know when a change could be something brewing or nothing to worry about.


Don’t forget yourself either. Little niggles with your body could cause tightness when you are riding resulting in a longer term problem. So don’t ignore your issues.


Schoolmaster or good young horse?

What will help you progress in your riding journey? One senior rider and trainer said to me about 20 years ago that riding quality young horses would develop my riding and feel. Yet another said that a schoolmaster is worth their weight in gold and could help my confidence and proficiency in the movements.


I think both are right. At a certain point on my journey I needed a schoolmaster, a horse that could help me back into the arena at advanced level. The horse that entered my life was Highlight an amazing horse who helped me get confident at PSG and Inter 1 and had a great passage. He also competed at Junior FEI level with my two daughters and competed internationally with my mum doing Paras. He helped us all, he had his quirks, but my confidence and belief in myself grew so much.


So on to the case for quality young horses – undoubtedly my riding took another leap once I sat on a big moving elastic young horse. Yes, it was a bit nerve wracking at the start and I felt like I was learning sitting trot all over again!!! In some ways talented horses can make everything feel easy, far too easy and transferring back to a less elastic horse can feel like a big let down.


Both experiences bring their own benefits and have helped me to be a better rider.


The last piece of advice I would give is “You do you, I will do me”. I’m on my journey and you are doing yours and we will have different goals, experiences and timelines. Don’t get distracted by what other people are posting on social media.


And most of all enjoy yourself 😍



Creating Partnership

September 29th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Creating Partnership”

Currently I have a lot of horsey work to do as well as my day job of running the company that is TestPro. So things are a bit hectic and tempers can sometimes be a little on the short side and horses being horses decide at the moment that you are lacking in time that they are going to ‘play up’. 

You know the scenario, they decide they are not being caught, or pretend they are a kite flying in the sky or there is a monster in every bush or wheelbarrow. When I was having a particularly difficult time with leading a yearling colt of mine and being bitten whilst my back was turned for the third day in a row, my temper was definitely lost! He was growled at (for this read some particularly tasty language) and pinched back on the neck, I pondered why we seemed to be going backwards in our relationship and training. I adore this boy and he is one of my homebred so I want to do the best for him. 

I realised a couple of things (been here before I promise I am not that dumb) one that getting cross wasn’t helping and the other was that he was teething and guess who was the nearest he was going to get to chew on. So we have been trying some new ways of leading and talking to each other which is helping us both. His preferred thing to do is chew the end of the lead rope or the chain part and we now start our journey to or from the field with a bit of a cuddle and a scratch. I realised that in my rush to get things done I wasn’t spending any ‘quality’ time with him, yes I know that sounds all mushy but a yearling colt is just as ‘needy’ as a human one!!! So far this new regime that has been going a week or so is working really well, keep your fingers crossed for me.

With the older horses I was watching a rider school a week or so ago and was a bit shocked by the use of hands and the aids in general. It was obvious that the rider was both frustrated and annoyed and the horse was getting ever more tense. Now we can all get ‘holier than thou’ and say why didn’t they do X or why didn’t they get off but if you have had a bad day or your horse is not in the right frame of mind to learn it can happen. So what should you do? I like to take a break and have a walk, just allow both horse and rider to have some downtime in the schooling session whilst I reflect on what is going wrong and what the horse isn’t understanding. Then pick the reins up again and do something that the horse finds easy and reward the good behaviour. If you have calmed down by this point then maybe go back to the exercise that was causing the problem and break it down into small learning chunks. Reward every bit of progress, and importantly ignore when it goes wrong. But make sure you are ready to analyse your behaviour, your body language and also your aids before you criticise and get angry with your horse. They can only learn what you teach them so be kind and patient. 

Supporting our sport

September 16th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Supporting our sport”

This year has been rather bizarre and confusing for all of us equestrians. Our governing bodies are facing difficult times and are having to be flexible enough to stay within the ever changing government rules, our competition season has been chopped to about a third of the year (fingers crossed) and we are unable to treat a competition as a chance to catch up with our horsey buddies. 

In addition we have seen the worrying development of the loss of a crucial venue and we will possibly see more in the coming months. Hickstead as both a national and international venue has been a most amazing fixture in our calendars. I have never competed there, which I am massively disappointed about, but have spectated and also been lucky enough to be behind the scenes. I have no idea about the back story apart from a lack of support whether financial or in terms of administrative or volunteers and I don’t pretend to know anything apart from what has been put out over press and social media. But isn’t this an extremely sad reflection of the current state of high profile shows and venues? It’s such a shame that the venue couldn’t be saved.

Then we had the news that the British Dressage Supporters Club (BDSC) would be shutting its doors. I have been a member since the beginning, and in fact remember going to a meeting with about a dozen other people at the founding of the club. Later I became a life member and enjoyed many trips abroad with like minded people to some epic championships. The BDSC have provided support at competitions with prizes and sponsorship that many riders have benefited from. Is it really time to lose this? Will we all just drift away and organise our own trips instead of providing that mass of Brits at international competitions to support our teams?

I looked at how British Eventing manages their supporters. It has a separate membership for people that want to support eventers and also get the inside track on visits to rider yards and also trips abroad. Perhaps this is the way forward? British Dressage are you thinking about this? There are lots of people out there that would love the opportunity to get together with like minded enthusiasts can we get this going???

It seems to me that for too long in dressage we have relied on a few people to provide the infrastructure, enthusiasm and money to keep internationals and clubs going. Maybe it is time for the masses of us out there to take up the baton? Any takers?

Are you gelled?

August 19th, 2020 Posted by General News, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Are you gelled?”

What follows isn’t meant to be a full blown rant! It represents some of the scenarios that have happened to me as a coach and I just want you all to think about your next lesson and whether you are being a good pupil. So often we talk about what makes a good coach/trainer but not often do we set expectations of the client/pupil.

As some of you know I do train people in my limited spare time! I used to do a lot of coaching (note I prefer coaching to teaching as a term) and I never worried whether people were just starting out in their first walk and trot test or were aiming for the high levels. Coaching is very rewarding and I love to see horse and rider out enjoying themselves no matter what level and what goals they have. 

But what did and still does get my back up was the attitude that people bring to their session. Now I know that we are not all on our ‘A game’ all the time and that life has a tendency to get in the way of our horsey time. However you have a bit of a duty to your coach/trainer to listen and involve yourself with the session that you have paid for. What is the point of bringing negativity or combativeness into your training session. You may have had an argument with someone but that should be left in the car. Otherwise isn’t it a waste of your money and the coach’s time? 

Then there are those people that turn up and expect you to fix everything in one session just before they are off to a competition. Really? I mean I think trying to solve the incorrect lead in canter and get your horse moving like Valegro in one lesson may tax even Carl or Charlotte let alone humble me. Coaches are human and we cannot turn your lovely happy hacker into a grand prix dressage horse overnight. It takes years of work and dedication, do you have the work ethic to train your horse? As coaches we enjoy long term relationships with horse and rider not the once in a blue moon people. 

Then we have the clients who consistently turn up late, don’t turn up at all, or cancel at the last moment.  Obviously things happen, horses go lame, children get sick, roadworks appear out of nowhere, but please consider your coach and the fact that they have put aside time in their diary to help you. Yes I know they are receiving money but they have mentally prepared, thought about lesson plans and what they are going to do in your session so it is downright rude if you treat them as an after thought. 

What about when you are in your session? Are you a chatterbox? Do you do a great impression of a sulky teen? Or do you lose focus when riding and start thinking about work or what you are cooking for dinner? I know as your coach I must make our time together interesting, challenging and fun, however I would also expect the same high standards from you. I want you with me and taking part not just going through the motions or turning every exercise into a battle of wills. 

So for your next training session with your coach I would like you to think about whether you are prepared;

  • To be open to new ideas and have realistic expectations, 
  • To get involved with the session, 
  • To make sure you are on time, 
  • To have a bit of a plan of what you want to work on
  • To make sure you have looked after yourself and you are awake, hydrated and have had some food
  • To make sure your horse is well, has shoes on(as appropriate) and is in his/her normal tack

And if you find after a few sessions that you are not ‘gelling’ with your coach and you feel that you are putting in the effort then maybe you are not right for each other. But finding a new coach is a whole new Blog!!