Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: my new schooling besties

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    It is a beautiful, warm summer’s evening as I am writing this and we are just back from a lovely day out at Barbury Castle Horse Trials (pictured top with friend Elodie) I am sitting on the bedroom floor with the balcony door open and a light breeze cooling me down. I have a cup of tea to hand as I have consumed enough prosecco during the day thanks to my dear friend Ben Ambrose of Bloomfield Horseboxes, who had a trade stand at the event!

    My friend Ben Ambrose at Barbury

    The past few weeks have been busy with teaching, a couple of shows, a trip to Germany and special family time.

    I am very much enjoying my time and training with Ulrik Molgaard at his and Henrietta’s beautiful yard, Furlong Farm. As much as it is nearly an hour’s drive every day to get there, it is certainly paying off. Inky and I are becoming more established as a partnership and the foundations have become stronger.

    The contact has been what I have struggled with Inky since I started with him as a six year old. Over the past three months, Ulrik has helped me develop this and I now have a total different feel with Inky being much more over his back and into the bridle. It is also great to see the results improving and in our last three tests at advanced medium we have been on 71+% scores. Before this intense training, our PB was 68%.

    Inky and I competing at Hunters

    We have the summer regionals coming up soon so we are preparing for that and also working on our PSG (prix st georges) test. I did have a little trip to Summerhouse the other day to do the PSG. Unfortunately, I did not really get Inky together enough in the warm up which resulted in some errors coming into the test. The decision now is to keep training at home for a couple more months to get more secure in it before going back out at that level.

    It is so important to keep revisiting the basics when training. I must say, I now work more with travers and renvers than I ever have. They are my new besties in my schooling sessions!

    So a few weeks ago saw me in Germany at Luhmuhlen Horse Trials. The New Zealand event rider I train, Tim Rusbridge, was competing in the four-star. I went out on the Wednesday to help prepare him and warm him up for his dressage test on the Thursday.

    Me at Luhmuhlen

    It was a fun couple of days get away and I do love Germany! I feel a small connection there as my grandmother, who I loved dearly and miss today, was from Koln.

    I flew into Hamburg and drove my cute little Kia hire car the one and a bit hour’s drive to Luhmuhlen. It always takes a few minutes to get into the swing of driving on the left hand side and changing gears with your right hand!

    Having made good timing, I decided to check into my hotel first, which was in the next village — the name escapes me. It was a quaint building that was stuck in the 70’s and when I got to the front desk, the hotelier insisted on speaking German to me. I would answer in English and he would carry on in German, giving me instructions and directions. Fortunately it was all fairly basic, like what time breakfast would be in the morning, so I think I got it all.

    Tim competing at Luhmuhlen

    Luhmuhlen is a fabulous event in a beautiful setting and the weather was gorgeous. On the Wednesday afternoon, while I was teaching Tim in one of the arenas, Pippa (Funnell) trotted past me and then the next time round she stopped and asked if she knew me. I replied saying that she did as I had worked for her when I was 18 and had just moved over from South Africa with my family. I was quite impressed as I was only there for a few months and had a lot more hair back then (nearly 15 years ago!). Anyway, we had a little chat and then off she trotted again.

    Me on the beach with my sister-in-law and Pringle

    Continued below…

    I am very excited to announce that I am going to be an Uncle later on this year! My brother, Mark and his wife Maria are expecting a baby girl in November. I had better start brushing up on my knitting!

    Mark and Maria (and Pringle of course!)

    Well my lovelies, that is all for now.

    Until soon xx
    Body Mind Mastery Quote: Ambition by itself never gets anywhere until it forms a partnership with hard work – James Garfield

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