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Now that rising is allowed in medium and extended trots at medium level, is this a step forward or back? On a positive note, riders who find it difficult to do sitting trot can rise to the bigger, more powerful paces. It can also save some horses from a bumping rider inflicting pain and muscular damage.

But is it negative to give riders an excuse to avoid the hard work required to develop a good sitting trot? Many hours without stirrups on many horses are required, along with poise, strong core muscles, suppleness and sufficient “give” in the rider’s back to absorb the movement.

Walk, trot, canter and jumping were once taught daily and often without stirrups by almost all trainers. Now risk factors — and possible litigation — have made us cautious about teaching minus stirrups, even on the lunge. With this vital skill unlearnt, it’s too easy to allow riders to do all their lateral work, even piaffe and passage, in rising trot.

Yes, I know how rising helps freedom over the back and improves rhythm. But should we not bite the bullet and teach supple sitting trots much more often? Riding bareback — or on a numnah to save the horse’s spine and your breeches — is the ultimate way to find balance, understand the mechanics of how a horse moves and hone that perfect sitting trot.

Wings and a prayer

I’m so enjoying working with showjumpers, our esteemed guest editor Mr Skelton will be pleased to hear, both here and abroad. Although with some grade As among them, I’ve had to dust off the rust. Indeed, I have jumped at that level — and once stood off a parallel so far I had time to see Malcolm Pyrah cross himself while I was mid-air.

A really good recent afternoon was with the jumpers at Millfield School, which has 140 riders under equestrian director Danny Anholt. With Stephen Hadley and Clare Sansom among its visiting trainers, its jumpers really jump! On the whole, these horses and riders were more supple, quicker to react and fi tter than many a dressage client.

In particular, there was Teddy Stevens riding Casall George. This pair could win a British Dressage class tomorrow, but with a 6-year-old championship to their credit and now at grade A with ambitions to represent Britain, this is a partnership to watch in any discipline.

Work on the flat for jumping horses and poles and jumping for dressage horses are too often segregated. So I’m about to register my own 5-year-old with British Showjumping, because he really jumps. Lots of modern thoughts are good, but as we clock up 29 of 56 continual 20m circles in trot, let’s not forget the old teachings for our young horses.

Adding to Addington

The rider of the show at Addington’s CDI show [report, 27 March] — always a good barometer for European pony, junior and young rider teams — was Charlotte Fry. This fixture is vital for under-21 development and qualification. Now organising committee chairman Islay Auty has an under-25s grand prix and international small tour in her sights for next year.

Scottish Dressage?

The Scottish regionals had so many entries that the novice classes had to be moved to the Friday instead. But with only just over a week’s notice of the change of date, many of those qualified could not get time off work. How sad for them. Next year, this needs addressing earlier. We all work so hard to qualify, so it’s tough to lose out because one has to put one’s job — which probably funds the competing — first.

Another problem for Scotland is that its prix st georges qualifiers are so few and far between. With snow always probable, a shortened summer season can leave riders with only 3 months to qualify. And what happens north of the border if Scotland votes for independence? Will it have SD (Scottish Dressage), a national championships and an international team? There’s already talk of a Scottish Olympic team…

I hope we remain one big happy UK. I lived in Scotland for 3 years, during which time I understood not a word spoken to me. I still enjoy teaching up north. It’s humbling to realise how convenient our local shows are to us in Gloucestershire.

And finally…

I’m blessed with many loyal pupils. But while discussing trainer swapping with a fellow trainer the other day, I was advised to shorten the word and consider myself a train — which people get on and get off.

Pammy’s column was first published in Horse & Hound magazine, 3 April 2014