A big thank you to David Sheerin and all his Team at Wellington for organising another fabulous training day under the watchful eye of Richard. The indoor school was a godsend as the snow was falling and temperatures freezing!
Richards philosophy throughout his training session was “you might have to crack a few eggs to make your omelette”. This analogy was to encourage riders to go a few steps back to correct bad habits and way of going. This encouraged riders to create better rhythm, suppleness, self carriage and lightness as an end result if not today then in the future training sessions to come. This philosophy was reiterated from the flat through to the jumping exercises.
The exercises started with two sets of 3 poles on a tight curve at either end of the arena travelling over the centre line(L and I), these were used to both trot and then eventually canter through to establish the balance and turning of the horse underneath us. This set the horses up well for the next exercise of another 3 curving poles over G with the middle pole raised according to ability. In the beginning we were all guilty of turning late which meant we were too straight to the raised pole and landing wide of the landing pole therefore losing the suppleness of the horses jump and the control of their outside shoulder. Richards enthusiasm and quick judgment soon corrected us making us look at him on approach to the exercise to create the turn sooner and land turning. The horses all learnt to back them selves off the poles and produce a more athletic jump which in turn produced a better approach for their next fence.
The session progressed with emphasis on maintaining a good open uphill canter with shorter turns back to verticals and oxers. The quality of the horses’ jump improved each time making the riders aware of allowing self carriage and forward canter through the turns. Richards quick praise followed by enthusiasm for wanting the exercise ridden even better next time was just brilliant.
The final exercise of the curving raised poles to vertical 5 strides to an oxer was proof to see if the canter was in self carriage and balance was maintained. All the horses and riders had worked hard at all levels and were rewarded by good experiences.
It is so helpful that members/guests spectating are able to be in the arena with Richard and can be part of the discussions. It is so valuable to listen to Richard coach and his thoughts behind the changes he would like to make with each rider and horse and why he might not pick the rider up on the most obvious mistakes. I know I came away from the day full of enthusiasm and confidence with a great jumping exercise not only for my horses but a useful tool for my coaching. Thank you Richard for being so inspirational.
Lunch was a delicious buffet organised again by David, yumyum, thank you. A great time for us to sit, chat and reflect on the mornings work. We have a great network of friends in the association and we are so lucky to be able to spend days like this together both discussing and learning from the master. THANK YOU.
Report by Catherine Cawdron