So much has happened this week and it’s only Wednesday! On Monday I found out that I have been selected to become a Silvermoor brand ambassador for the coming year. For me this is so so exciting, working hand in hand with companies that I have huge respect and love for, is such an honour. I used to live and work near Alnwick where the company is based, and there haylage was always the absolute gold standard in the area. It’s amazing to see how much this local family company has flourished and I am inspired by what they have achieved. Follow the link to check out what they have to offer; https://www.silvermoor.com/
The weather this week has been spectacular. I must take back all that I’ve said negatively about Scotland, in terms of the weather it offers me, because when the sun shines it is actually not so bad. When the rain stops, the views are actually really beautiful. The ground is drying out and I’ve put the horses to bed, two nights on the trot without wellies on! I know! I just hope this isn’t Scottish summer and that winter will be back before I know it.
Dominica is blowing me away this week. Her canter has literally gone from a 5/10 slightly risky, wild baby canter last week, to 57/10 this week. All of a sudden, it all just seems to have clicked for her. I can’t really put this down to anything (other than me riding marginally better after being told off at my lesson) other than she has been allowed the time to work it out for herself and find her own confidence and balance without being hassled. She’s schooled for short sessions, no more than 25 mins, Monday and Tuesday this week. Both sessions have followed on from the work last week, focussing on the straightness and trying to get her relaxed through her back in sitting trot before starting the canter transitions.
On Monday I tried to start the session by starting to work on walk halt transitions. After a weekend off I will hold my hands up right now and admit this was a stupid idea. Dominica finds the hardest pace, halt. She just does not want to stand immobile for any length of time. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I can’t stand still to even brush my teeth, so I do understand her point! I get on far better with horses who are naturally sharp, so I don’t have a problem with this, walk halt is her biggest weakness at the moment and it’s something I need to chip away at over time. I do appreciate that it is probably one of the most fundamental parts of a horses training, from acceptance of the bridle, willingness, submission and acceptance of the aids. At the moment her immaturity and nature means, she’s just not ready for me to try and override her natural instinct. I would far rather ride a horse who’s natural instinct was to constantly keep moving than one who’s greatest desire was to stand still! Needless to say I soon realised the error of my way’s and we moved on to other more mentally stimulating areas of work. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Not all horses are the same and not all work patterns and training plans fit all mentalities. Know your horse and stick to what works for you.
On Tuesday, learning from what had happened on Monday, we had a good walk stretch first, but I left practicing halt until later in the session. I’ve worked a lot with racehorses straight out of training and it’s taught me so much. You can never try and dominate an ex race horse. In my opinion, you need to get them to think that everything has been their own idea and be constantly stimulating their busy brains. Repetition only irritates them and so you constantly need to be inventive with their training regimes. These are all skills that I can transfer to Dominica. Although she clearly has never been in race training, she is incredibly switched on and finds basic work scarily easy. During Tuesday’s session I worked her in a huge square, probably 60m by 60m. Using the straight lines to ask for my canter transitions, really tested how through and straight she was through the transition. It also tested me and ensured that I was really riding her outside shoulder. As Isabell’s words whizz through my pea brain, doing the canter transition from my inside leg into my outside hand on the straight line has made such an enormous difference. The balance and quality of her canter has improved more quickly than any horse I have ever had before and I am trying to keep a lid on how excited I am about this amazing young horse.
Today (Wednesday) we have been for a hill hack. We also went for a 20 minute drive in the trailer. Having not had her in the trailer since our last lesson, almost two weeks ago now, I wanted to make sure that everything would be ok before our next lesson this Friday and that she is still happy and confident with loading, leaving black beauty and travelling. I’m so excited for our lesson, not only to show my trainer what we have been working on, where hopefully she can see some improvement, but to also get some insight into what we need to focus on next.
I’ve come home tonight to find a green and gold box in the hallway, which means that my Makila Harmonie has arrived! I am so lucky to have the support of a company like Devoucoux and the expertise of Claire Morrison who came to fit it for me. It is so incredibly light, when the DPD delivery man got it out of the van, my Husband was convinced the box was empty! I CANNOT wait to ride in it tomorrow! For more details about the Makila Harmonie click on this link; https://www.devoucoux.com/uk/en/boutique/produit/makila-harmonie#.XHb_yfZ2uUk
I hope you are all enjoying the spring sunshine too! Long may it continue!