New Year, New Goals

A lot of last year didn’t go to plan. This year however is going to be a success. If I say this enough times, I’ll start to believe it. If I believe it then I can make it happen. DREAM BELIEVE ACHIEVE

Her highness is getting fit again and is actually trying to cooperate. The trot half pass has improved no end and she’s really trying in the canter. I’ve some lessons arranged with a new trainer. Hopefully a fresh set of eyes will see what I’m missing and I’ll find another piece of the puzzle. A new perspective can change everything and that may be all I need.

I know I can do it. I know she can do it. We just have to learn to do it together! Decide what your goals for this year are, if you don’t you have nothing to work towards. It’s exciting seeing that goal getting a little closer. It gives you the motivation to keep going. When you finally achieve it, all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears become worth it. Don’t give up!


The Warmth of a Horse

When your day seems out of balance,

And so many things go wrong,

When people fight around you,

And the clock drags on so long.

When most folks act like children ,

And fill you with remorse,

Go out into your pasture,

Wrap your arms around your horse.

His gentle breath enfolds you,

As he watches with those eyes,

He may not have a PhD,

But he is, oh, so wise!

His head rests on your shoulder,

You embrace him good and tight,

He puts your world in balance,

And makes it seem all right.

Your tears will soon stop flowing,

The tension will be eased,

The nonsense has been lifted,

You are quiet and at peace.

So when you need some balance,

From the stresses of your day,

The best therapy you can seek,

Is out there eating hay!

The Wit and Wisdom of Carl Hester

The Master!


I took copious notes during the two days of the Carl Hester Masterclass this past weekend and these notes made their way into two rather long  blog posts. However on Monday WordPress told me that 233 people per hour were reading the posts so I guess they were not too long or too boring.  But there were still some gems of wisdom and some of Carl’s wicked sense of humor that I had not managed to fit in. So I thought I would share some of these now.

When you are nervous in a competition remember: Don’t clench your toes! I used to do thatall the time. 

You travelled FIFTEEN hours to get here? ( To Erin MacQuarrie who had come from New Brunswick to Ontario) If travel is over one hour and my ride time is before 9 or after 4…. I withdraw from the competition!


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Winter is coming – time to start working 

Well after some unplanned rest, it’s time for madam to get the fat off and focus. The plan is to ride medium at the start of next year. She gets the concept of half pass so now it’s time to “pretty” it up. 

The left rein half pass seems easy enough. Unfortunately she offers it when I don’t ask and I find myself careering across the school with no control. When I finally stop her and turn back to the track there’s a meltdown because I stopped her doing what she wanted! This is a new side to her as she previously offered as little as possible. While I’m pleased she’s willing to do the half pass, how do I stop her!!!! 

I asked for shoulder in but as soon as the shoulder came off the track, off she went into half pass. I think I might need to put poles on the ground so she thinks twice before going sideways.

Eventually every canter transition became an issue as she went straight into half pass! It’s like she has a mental block with straight lines now. When I get straight I’m afraid to move incase I set her off again. The medium tests should be interesting!

You gotta Love MARES!!

Summer = Horseflies!!

How on earth am I supposed to school any kind of dressage movements when the horse is being attacked every 15 seconds! No amount of fly spray seems to help. Getting the fly spray on is a workout in itself! She’ll try everything to get away from it. I end up wearing more than her.

My lovely bouncy collected canter turned into bunny hops when a horsefly bit her bum!

She randomly turned across the arena at speed to avoid a fly. She has a temper at the best of times but apparently the fly situation is entirely my fault.

That said, it seriously helped my medium trot and canter as she was only too willing to try and outrun the flies. Walk and halt went out the window. The best I got was a jogging snorting temper tantrum.

There was random periods of flexion when her neck got bitten. At least she’ll be more supple. If only the flies would help out and increase my left flexion!!

The tail swishing has become a health hazard as she never stops and I get whacked across the face anytime I go near the backend of her. She has a decent tail so it stings like hell!!

I love the summer. Riding under lovely blue skies and wondering how long you have before getting soaked – her highness doesn’t tolerate rain (what a surprise!) but how can I enjoy it when I spend more time getting horseflies off the horse than actually riding her!!!

What level am I at now?

That’s the million dollar question!

The answer depends on the day of the week and how cooperative her highness is being. Today was a decent elementary standard.

Most days our right rein is elementary – medium level. However the left rein is novice – elementary. All horses are a bit one sided to start with. As I know exactly why her right rein is weaker, I know what to work on. 

Her right hind leg is weaker than her left. I tend to put more weight in my left seat bone making that hindleg work harder. She bends better to the right.

This means our lateral work isn’t the same on both reins. Shoulder in is effortless on the left rein. On the right she gives too much angle or tries to drift off the track. 

Leg yield is easier to the right. Travers is easier on the right rein. 

Being able to analyse yourself and your horse accurately is paramount if you want to improve. Too many people blame the horse for poor performance when in fact it’s the riders position that’s causing the problems. If you can’t work out why things are going wrong, you need some help. Even a friend taking a few videos for you to watch can be a real eye opener. If you can manage it, put up some mirrors in your arena. Mirrors are an amazing help. You get to see what’s happening while you are riding allowing you to correct faults quicker. 

Enjoy every bit of progress you make no matter how slow. It’s still a step towards your goal!

My Dressage Dream

Is it possible for anyone to be a Grand Prix rider? Can any horse be trained to Grand Prix level? I intend to find out.

I’m an average rider with an average horse. No fancy bloodlines or flashy movement. However I believe with the right training we could do a Grand Prix test to a decent standard. We will never be the next Charlotte and Valegro but we can be accurate and obedient.

We may not succeed in our endeavour as any number of things can go wrong with horses but I’m going to put my heart and soul into it.

Why can’t my Dressage Dream become my Dressage Reality?