Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: on the move

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    As I write to you (Monday) I am sitting at the kitchen table with Pringle in her little bed waiting for Hurricane Ophelia to hit! I schooled Inky this morning and didn’t have any teaching booked in today as I think everyone is planning to hide from the storm. It has been a very bizarre sky, but now the sun is breaking through and no 80mph winds here so false alarm for us I think.

    The past few weeks have been full with teaching, training, competing, a few fun days out to Blenheim Horse Trials and the British Dressage summer national championships, a bit of R&R in Crete and moving Inky closer to home.

    With friends at Blenheim

    My teaching and schooling of horses has been really busy and then around this time of year things slow down a little bit. My eventing clients come to the end of their season and horses will have a little holiday. Motivation levels are up now to get advertising and run some clinics. Watch this space! Still it gives me some time for other important things, you know, like housework, and writing to you on a Monday afternoon!

    Last month, Inky and I (pictured top schooling at Grove Farm) competed in our third prix st george together. It was such a great day out made more fun by Mark’s sister, Danielle joining me.

    After getting Inky bathed and plaited and lorry packed, we headed off to Windmill Farm in Buckinghamshire, chatting all the way and putting the world to rights.

    My fabulous trainer, Ulrik Molgaard, has been working hard with me and Inky. We felt really ready for this outing. Our connection and consistency in the arena was better and Inky gave me a great feel throughout his work. Unfortunately, a few green mistakes crept in here and there, but overall I was thrilled with the direction it is going in. Like Henrietta (Andersen) said to me, mistakes can happen, but so long as things are improving and the quality of the work is getting better, that’s fine.

    Pringle and Inky

    When schooling our horses, it is important to build on the positives and also to be careful not to over-correct when they are not quite getting what we feel we are asking them to do. It can be more productive to take a break from the certain exercise and move onto something different and then revisit it a bit later in the schooling session. This can prevent rider from getting stressed, and in turn the horse not becoming stressed and therefore allowing the learning and development to take place.

    Me in Crete

    A couple of days after Windmill Farm, we headed out to Crete for a week’s break. Dear friends of mine, JoJo and Bill, live out on the island so it was also a great opportunity to catch up with them. We had amazing weather and every day was a beach day apart from the last two days where it did rain! Having a little hire car was fun and so we did a bit of exploring and found a different beach to sleep on every day.

    Jojo and Bill’s place

    Anyone who has been to Crete will know that there are quite a few cats about. We had one adorable cat, who I named Leo, adopt us. Every morning she was waiting at our front door and every evening there for our return. Of course I let her in the house and she was just so affectionate and loving. It broke my heart when we said goodbye to her on our last day and I shall admit that I did shed a tear.


    Back to reality, and pretty much as soon as we got home I was ill with food poisoning. Not a fun experience and I slept for two days — it seemed to take forever to get my strength back.

    A change has happened as I have moved Inky from Ulrik and Henreietta’s near Burford to have him closer to home. It has been so fantastic having him there, but having a two hour round trip every day for me to ride him added on to all the driving I do to teach, I felt that coming into the winter with shorter days, I need to minimise the number of hours I spend in my car. Inky is now at Grove Farm which is just 10 minutes from me. I shall continue to train with Ulrik and Inky and I will do sleepovers so we can get our two sessions with ‘the master’ in a week.

    Mark and I at the BD national championships

    There is also now an exciting opportunity to buy into Inky as I am working to form a syndicate for this talented gelding by Uthopia.

    Continued below…

    Well my lovelies, the day has come to an end and I am off to bed. The next time I write to you, I shall be a whole year older. I will be accepting gifts in the post!

    Until soon xx
    Body mind mastery quote: “Success is sweet, but it usually has the scent of sweat about it” – Anonymous


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