Since my last blog there have been a number of changes. Firstly, Diva (Newton Feronia) has gone back to Newton Stud for the winter so the stud can take an early embryo from her after Christmas. I do miss her as she is such a great athlete and I can’t wait until spring to recommence her training.
I am continuing to train Santi, who is also a four-year-old and he has progressed well. He is still a handful at the start of any schooling session, which I am still trying to find a solution for, but he does calm down to produce some lovely work and he has started hacking better too (pictured top).
Another change has been a move of yard. We have left Abbey Dressage, where I have enjoyed being based for the past couple of years. I am extremely grateful to Glenys Hemmings for all the support she has given me. We have moved along with my trainer, Lucy Cartwright, to a private yard in the Cotswolds, which has lovely facilities. The horses have all settled well in their new environment.
I recently attended BEF excel talent training. This time I took Kaja as she is back in full work. It was a fabulous two days. Everyone was so supportive and helpful in looking after us and trying to cover every aspect that might help contribute to our success.
We had experienced saddle fitter, Mark Fisher, to look at every fine detail of the saddle and horse movement, alongside Russell Guire from Centaur Biomechanics and strength and conditioning coach Adela Carter, who analysed every aspect of my position and Kaja’s way of going.
Their joint approach was a great idea and I had excellent feedback and specific training tips for me as an athlete off the horse too. For example concentrating on the position of my pelvis in everyday activities so my brain memorises different positions.
They also explained how horses can alter how they move and use their bodies from day-to-day and we were given some great assistance from Mark, using all his experience with our Olympic team in how to check the saddle to keep everything in harmony and balance.
I had two lessons with Emile Faurie who knows Kaja well as he rode her as a youngster and therefore understands how to get the best from her. This was her first trip out after her injury and I was so pleased that the comments were that she looks better than ever. We were very careful with what type of work we did as she is still working towards total fitness — we worked on transitions and some advanced movements, making sure she doesn’t do too much compression work at the moment until she is physically stronger (pictured below right after our lesson).
We had evening lectures on shoeing and warm-up and cooling down by farrier, Ben Benson and vet, Rachel Murray. It was interesting to know how different types of shoes could help with different surfaces. In Europe, the surfaces are usually sand and it can really affect the horse’s way of going when the sand changes from day-to-day or from warm-up to the test arena. Just being conscious of it can help you prepare or if your horse is affected significantly you may change to a support shoe before the competition to help with the compression effects.
We set off home after a great few days and five minutes from home the front tyre suddenly burst as my mum was driving. Thankfully, we are fully covered with roadside assistance and Daniel came to the rescue to take Kaja back to the yard whilst we waited for assistance.
Fortunately it didn’t manage to spoil the great time we had just had. I then had to rush home to complete the rest of the week at school.
Until next time,