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The Equestrian Athlete - Alison Kenward's approach

It may seem strange in the middle of this unprecedented World-wide pandemic, but let's use this time of lockdown to learn, and plan, and improve In tandem with super-coach Alison Kenward i have been looking at how I can plan to improve, and not just in terms of lessons which are becoming increasingly difficult to arrange right now We are all very well aware these days of the fact that our horses are athletes, and as such we need to support their well-being.  Are we as aware that we are athletes too?  Our imbalances and physical weaknesses affect our horses, and so we need to focus on our own fitness and strength just as much If, like me, you drive a desk all week it's difficult to fit in all you need to do - particularly when you know that out of the saddle exercise is just as important as in the saddle exercise Similarly, if my brain is full of the things I need to do at work, at home, and with my horses it's tough to get myself into the right mindset on demand, s

Is your horse happy?

This is a question i have been pondering a lot lately Let me set the scene: Beau is 22 and will be 23 in May.  To look at him you would never know.  In fact when he was 20 a dressage judge commented on his sheet that he would likely lose some of his exuberance/fizz as he matures ;) He has lost none of his verve and remains (touch wood) sound and clean on all 4 legs.  However..... I learned this summer from the lady who owned him as a youngster that at 11 years old he was scoped for, and diagnosed with, ulcers.  He was also showing some arthritic changes in both hocks. Given his age I decided not to put him (or my bank balance) through the diagnostic procedures, with their inherent risks, but t o treat him for both His ridden work is fine, and the treatments seem to be helping him.  In fact the only reason he did not appear at Your Horse Live in the end, was because we found out 3 days prior to the event that there was a 6 month vaccination rule, and his annual vaccinations we

Your Horse Live - Part 3 AND Talland Part 3

Your Horse Live - Part 3 We survived.  Stella started the weekend as a UXB and ended it very glad to be back home with her buddies!  She was an absolute star every time we dragged her our of her stable, and coped admirably with the 'circus' in the final day's warm-up Tory and I were so proud of her and so grateful to Alison Kenward for the opportunity to play there.  If we have proved to only one audience member that anyone can do dressage to music then it was all worthwhile I am not sure I would do it again.  It cost us a fortune, Tory and I had to take holidays from work, and it was so so stressful for humans and horses alike.   However, it was a baptism by fire for Stella who has had a relatively quiet calm life up until now - and she stepped up to and beyond the mark doing everything asked of her (except standing still!).  What a legend We were very proud to be given the opportunity to represent too.  Amazingly comfy breeches whi

Your Horse Live - Part 2!

Saturday, 9th November continued... The walk up to the arena and the go round was much quieter today which Stella appreciated.    The arena had been opened on time so the ponies from the rescue village had their go round in-hand, and when they went back to their beds we went in.    Stella was very good, relaxed and quiet so Tory gave her half an hour of mostly walk which was a victory (she much prefers to trot everywhere) and left.   The stable walk round skipped us.    The lucky attendees saw the amazing Valegro, the People’s Horse Art, and had a good chat with the Ben Atkinson team about their training methods.    So we went shopping.    There is so much here and lots of very interesting people to talk to so if you’re horsey you can’t get bored between the lectures, the demos, the interviews and the shopping. We quickly tracked down our quadrille teamies, and Equestriman Simon, then went to lunch with Alison and her Mum, and two lovely ladies who Alison coaches up in Yorkshire. 

Your Horse Live 2019

Thursday, 7th November 2019.   Tory and I have been invited to support coach Alison Kenward at her dressage to music demonstration at this year’s Your Horse Live event. We are packing mountains of food (human and equine), drink, clothes, tack, safety kit and of course our super smart Equestriman breeches, gilets and base layers into the Horsebox and the camper van we have hired for the weekend. We are both nervous. Me extra nervous because we found out too late that the horses needed to have been vaccinated within 6 months and Beau is due next week.    So we are only taking Stella who I have ridden 3 times! We have agreed to share the riding so we both get to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and get to have a lesson a day in the live coaching session.  We are also excited. Since we didn’t do quadrille this year this is our annual holiday! The camper van has a shower and central heating as well as a room each for Tory and I so we don’t argue over the one bed in the Horseb

Training at Talland Part 2

Talland Part 2 So, having been down to the glorious Cotswolds for one Talland lesson, Tory and I set off the following weekend to go do it again!   We had our physio - Ann Loach - to our horses at 7am, and abandoned them at 8am for Mrs Whipcracker to put back out.  We had to leave for our 10am lesson.  This was too tight!  We only just made it - arriving at Talland with just 5 minutes ot spare.  I will be making sure we leave earlier next time because it's so hard to get into the right open, calm frame of mind when your adrenaline is pumping from the drive down! This time I was riding a different horse, equally tall and equally well schooled. This one was called Whizz which I think is an instruction more than a description 😉 sweet mare. Tory was riding the same horse as last time. This time we brought our spurs!  The school horses are so sweet to ride, they are not whizzy or light but they are responsive and very reliable.   We aimed this time on working on contact which