Getting back into the swing of things

First off I attended the Living Legends Super Clinic, comprised of Lucinda Green, Andrew McLean and Jon Pitts giving lessons. This is a genius idea dreamed up by Sophie Warren and co. and proved to be a great weekend.

I have been to Lucinda once before and learnt a lot. This year was a good recap and I also learnt a few different things. For those of you who have been to Lucinda you will know how passionate she is about getting the horse to think for itself – believing that on one arm of the fulcrum they need to think for themselves and on the other they need to listen to the rider and with the dressage becoming more technical it has led to horses that are losing the ability to think for themselves.

   Major Moment jumping with Lucinda

So to fix this, the lesson started with two jumps 180 degrees apart and coming through the corner forward and having the horse in your hand, but not riding to a distance in order to let them think about it, read the fence and learn the footwork. It could be quite ugly at times, but it was an interesting way to start.

Of course there were lots and lots of skinnies and curvy lines and jumping down apexes and then across them all designed to get you to keep your ‘tube’ on (eyes, legs, hand) to keep them looking and learning footwork. Great for baby horses!

   Practising skinnies with Lucinda

It was something I took home and played with on my good horse Tempus Fugit, who absolutely fell in love with the challenge and surprisingly for a horse that likes to take control it actually worked as a sort of reverse psychology and he listened to me really well.

I also took Tempus Fugit to Jon Pitts while I was at the Living Legends and as always there is so much to work on and practice and practice and practice. This time we did a little fine tuning on the flat on day one, finding out what happens if I ride movements only from the seat, working out what works for the horse. Day two was spent putting this into jumping and getting me to be more aware of the changes I make when coming down a line in an open six strides and then down again in a shorter seven.

From there we had a few weekends at home before heading to Capel CNC event. Tempus Fugit was entered in the H/C 3 star class (3* dressage, 2* XC, 3 star SJ). One thing I have learned this month is that the partnership between horse and rider is often like any partnership in life – and on Capel weekend Tempus Fugit and I were more like bickering siblings than best buds, which resulted in a not so great dressage test and a slow cross country round. I decided not to show jump him as he didn’t need it and is a good showjumper.

   Tempus Fugit on course at Capel CNC

However the weekend taught me a lot and after a great ride on the youngster Major Moment (who was supposed to be for my partner Ben this year) I realised that my eight year relationship with Tempus Fugit has resulted in only me competing him. One thing I have recently been doing with a lot of the young ones is putting Ben on them to take around, as an attempt to improve their sale-ability and teach them to do a good job no matter who is riding (Luckily Ben happens to be a good rider). So over the next coming month I have decided to let Ben take the ride on Tempus Fugit to take him back to basics and let him enjoy the more simpler things in life.

Will it work? That I am not sure of … I guess you will all have to stay tuned for next month’s blog!