Welcome

“Yesterday, Welcome was lunged, today I have been working on his submission, with transitions trot-halt-trot, canter-halt-canter and, to finish the session, some piaffe and passage.

We¨re building up for our next show, as we always give the horses a week of less intense work to recover after a show.

On Sunday, I took Welcome on to the racetrack and let him have good gallop. I also practised 20 to 30 one-time changes. He loves going on the gallops – there are some fields adjoining the track in which our neighbour’s horses are turned out and he just loves to show off to them. He is so proud, he usually starts to piaffe when we head in the direction of the track.

Being a stallion and such a powerhouse, he needs to let off steam sometimes. You can’t take the risk of turning him out, so this is the ideal solution.

Dr Schulten-Baumer had the circuit put down about a year ago and it has proved invaluable. We used to ride in the paddock occasionally to loosen the horses up, but we could only do that if the ground was right. Having the all-weather track means the horses can get rid of their excess energy and have a change of scene all year round.”

Satchmo

“Because I wasn’t competing last weekend, Satchmo has only been lunged once in the past week. He had his rest day on Monday, and I have ridden him the remainder of the time.

I¨m incredibly proud of him at the moment. We’re having some work done to the indoor school and there is scaffolding up and workmen replacing planks of wood. I haven’t even attempted to ride Gigolo in there because I know he would freak out.

Although Satchmo has been electric, I have been able to work him through it.I am carrying on with his work to get him used to the rein contact, working on walk-trot-walk transitions and expecting him to make the transition down when I want him to.

It really is a hard test for such a young horse to work and concentrate on me in this environment. He has been rather lively, to say the least, and at times quite frightened. He stopped a couple of times and I just let him have some time to have a proper look and calmed him down with my voice.

I rode lots of circles and tried to slow him down to the extent that he waspractically “falling asleep”, so that he remained calm.”

Ferrara

“I have continued working on Ferrara’s durchl„ssigkeit (submission) and, depending on how she’s been going, I’ve concentrated on shoulder-in, half pass, tempi changes and piaffe or passage transitions.

After the Monday rest day, I always start slowly and build up the work. You can’t expect to ride horses in the same way when they have had a day off – just like people after a weekend, they need time to get back into the swing of things.

Today, Ferrara performed correct four-time changes, some three-time, a couple of two-time and even some one-time, so I¨m pretty pleased with her.

I¨m working on perfecting her shoulder-in, using a volte (10m circle) to get the angle, and then aiming for a consistent, steady bend, so that you can see a clear three tracks from the front.

I have also been practising some half pass with her over the past week. Obviously, she is not as advanced in this ¨ she isstill quite wobbly and comes up too high with her head. At this stage all I want from her is to understand that she has to go sideways and forwards, crossing her legs over. I don¨t expect the bend and rein contact to be perfect. I’ve been asking her to do the half pass from the shoulder-in, to help her start off with the right bend through her body and a steady contact.

I¨ve also been working on the transitions to piaffe – practising two or three steps in passage, then piaffe and back to passage- and she has taken to this exceptionally well. I will now add a few more of these transitions to her daily routine, so that she accepts them as being nothing special.

I have worked on transitions into and out of the piaffe from the trot for quitea while, and have also been asking for transitions from trot to passage and back to trot. She understands the difference, knows what I want, doesn’t tense up and isn’t confused.

It is important that Ferrara stays relaxed going into passage from trot and returns to a relaxed trot. All I need to do is “sit” more into her and she gives me passage steps. We have reached a milestone with the way she is coping with this exercise.

She generally has a calm temperament and is mentally well-balanced, although she sometimes kicks out or bucks when I ask her to do something, then just carries on as though nothing has happened.

For example, she sometimes kicks out when I use my spurs to ask her to go forward in a walk pirouette. I don¨t want this to become a habit ¨ that she kicks out every time I want her to go forward. I know this is just the way she is and although I want her to keep her personality and have a mind of her own I cannot allow this to become a habit. Therefore, I sometimes have to give her a telling off by using the spurs again, so that she accepts them and understands that I want her to go forward.”