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Happy New Year Horse Riders!

The weather impacted on our horse riding activity over December and has so far into January.┬á We’ve either been washed away┬áby the rain or snowed on!┬á So the ground has either been too wet or very hard.┬á Thank heavens for horse boxes and all weather surfaces.

I took Alaska out for a trip to Somerford over the Christmas period. She really enjoyed the change of scene and was quite forward going on the farm ride.  I hope you all managed to get out to ride some where.

During my schooling sessions so far I have been working on transitions with a view to improving┬áthe horse’s self carriage.┬á┬áMy good friend and Level┬á2 Centered Riding Instructor Lisa Pritchard has been very helpful with this.┬á She reminded me that the first transition (from walk to halt) is the foundation for all other transitions at faster paces.┬á So whatever happens from walk to┬áhalt will be accentuated from┬átrot to walk and canter to trot.┬á This is true for upwards transitions as well.

Lisa helped me to increase awareness of Alaska’s hind legs as they came into the halt, so that when she trailed her right hind (her favourite one to leave stuck out behind) I asked her to bring it under.┬á She began to pick this up and we still work on this now in our schooling sessions to improve self carriage.

The end goal here is to get more weight and balance on the horse’s hind legs so that downward transitions can be lighter.┬á Alaska tends to run on┬áinto the┬átrot┬áfrom canter as her weight goes forwards and she’s unable to rebalance herself.┬á To correct this we needed to go right back to walk & halt; trying to correct the canter to trot transition would have been more of a battle because that is treating the symptoms (loss of balance), not the cause of the problem which is not having enough self carriage to maintain balance in the transition.

It was a great reminder that horse riding & horse training is just a series of very small steps which need to be repeated in a logical order consistently to build muscle memory, understanding for the horse and good habits in the rider.  The foundation is crucial to your end result, and if your foundations are rushed you will eventually have to go back and repair them when the building on top becomes more complex and needs a strong support.

Happy foundation building this year, horse trainers!

Ann Marie x



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