TRAINING THE DRESSAGE HORSE
THE F & I PERSPECTIVE
Monday 11 May 2015
It is many years since the F & I Association held anything in Scotland so it is not surprising that the Scottish membership has dwindled. It was great therefore that Erik Mackechnie in conjunction with BHS Scotland has given it a kick start to set it in motion again.
Patrick Print FBHS very kindly agreed to host the day and Gail Smith very generously offered the use of her wonderful indoor arena in order for the group to spend the day watching some great riders and horses go through their paces. Georgia Burns on her young horse Ralph demonstrated novice level dressage work and the day progressed through the levels. Georgia also rode an elementary horse called Rolex on which Patrick worked on her ability to develop her suppleness and position to encourage the horse to move more under her seat particularly in the canter. The spectators were encouraged to get involved and Patrick invited suggestions and comments with regard to the way the horse was going. With our select group of coaches there was great interaction and everyone got involved discussing the issues which arose with each horse and rider. It was great to share ideas and interesting that on the whole everyone was “singing off the same hymn sheet” when it came to trying to improve the partnerships.
Patrick’s quiet sympathetic approach was ideal for the competition horses and the riders were very generous and open minded in their willingness to join in and experiment with the suggestions offered. Our other riders were Olivia Wilmot on Sting a novice level BE horse and a 3* horse called Zebedee who was going to compete at Chatsworth this coming weekend. It was interesting to see how Patrick worked with this latter combination giving great consideration to the fact that Olivia was about to compete and therefore did not want to do anything to upset the partnership but just offer some helpful pointers. Deborah Christie rode her advanced medium horse Vriend which had a few old behavioural issues. Deborah was very tactful in her handling of this horse and Patrick demonstrated how to work with more complicated horses without causing further problems. Deborah also rode a Grand Prix horse called Leander. Obviously riders of this calibre and experience have their own ideas and knowledge as well as their own regular coaches so it was very much appreciated that they agreed to participate and Patrick demonstrated exceptionally well how to work with higher level competition riders and develop that all important rapport.
Over lunch it was a lovely opportunity to catch up with old friends and the concensus of opinion was that the day had been a great success. It was good to be able to attend a training day that was aimed at higher level coaches and coaching skills and was thoroughly worthwhile attending. Future events are sure to be supported as this group left very enthusiastic and keen to do more.
Report written by Diana Zajda BHSI