Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: a stressful move

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    As I write to you, I am sitting in the glorious sunshine on Southbourne beach sipping on a cappuccino while Pringle wanders from table to table in search of food. I obviously never feed her, or so she makes out.

    It was dad’s birthday on Wednesday and I came down last night for a little family dinner at Mark and Maria’s home. My adorable niece is nearly six months old now and it warms the heart spending time with her.

    Pringle helping me write my blog

    I had a little nudge a couple of days ago to get pen to paper while out celebrating my bestie, Elodie’s birthday. We had a delicious dinner out in the Langley Tap in Langley Burrell with Sarah, Richard, Polly and Mark. At the end of the evening, our waitress Jess, who had been particularly smiley and helpful came to our table with the bill. She asked if I was Shaun Mandy. A bit nervous as to what might come next, I answered yes. She then said that she thought she recognised me as she read my blogs in Horse & Hound. Fame at last! It was a fun end to a special evening with good friends and it made me think that I must write my next one.

    Getting recognised by one of my blog readers, Jess

    I’ve just ordered some calamari and a small glass of wine. There is something about being by the sea side that gives you that holiday feeling. Pringle may even benefit from this.

    Mark and I had a lovely weekend away last week with a little trip down to Exmouth. There were beautiful coastal walks which the dogs (Pringle and Poppy) loved and a relaxed vibe staying in a cosy Air BnB. It was a bit of a, as Mark put it, retired Sunday feeling town, but for me it certainly did the trick of escaping everyday stresses.

    Poppy and Pringle enjoyed our Exmouth get away

    Talking of which… my horses. When I last wrote to you, I mentioned a move coming up. This happened, but unfortunately the new surface for the arena that was meant to happen is on hold. I am therefore on the lookout for a new location for my horses. It must have a good, expensive surface on the arena!

    On a very happy note, it is with great pleasure that we welcome into the Team Inky Syndicate another owner, Jenny Ward. As most people know, it is not an easy journey trying to get to the top in any sport or career, so having people who believe in you and your dreams is a fantastic bonus. The support team is so important.

    Inky and I competing in the Inter I at Hunters Equestrian

    Inky and I have just started competing at Inter 1 and very excited as we are off to Addington premier league next week for the PSG (prix st georges) on Friday, Inter 1 on Saturday and the PSG freestyle on Sunday. This will be our first time doing the freestyle and we are hoping to have a run through with judge, Anne Keen, on Monday.

    My six-year-old German gelding, Parry, has now been back in work for the past two months. He is feeling great and I am taking him to Ulrik’s next week for some training and then must enter a competition. I am loving my work and am happy to have another four-star eventer, Nick Lucey, to coach. I can now do my BD level 3 coaching exam — I just need to pay for it!

    Parry and a schooling livery making friends

    Here is a little something to think about when schooling your horse or pony. As my clients know, I work a lot on position. How can we expect our horses or ponies to go well for us if we are not sitting nicely and in balance? A very common fault for us riders is to be more dominant with our left hand. I see this a lot and is also something I have to remind myself about. When riding on the left rein, this results in pulling our horses round to the left, losing the outside rein and thus the horse’s shoulders. A good exercise to counteract this and get more security into the right rein and therefore straightness, is to ride renvers when on the left rein. So soften the left hand forward, feel the right rein for a bit of outside flexion with your right leg on the girth and left leg a little behind. You are, therefore, asking the shoulders to come in a bit and for the quarters to go out and you will the start to get more connection to your right rein and your horse will become straighter underneath you. It helps to think a little right shoulder back, left shoulder forward to get a bit more straightness through your body and your left hand forward.

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    When you start to get your horse pushing more into the right rein, bring your inside leg forward to the girth where you can start to think of inside bend around the leg and you should now have a more even contact through both reins. Remember when you ride out of the renvers not to pull on the left rein.

    Well my lovelies, I must be heading home now.

    Until soon xx
    Body mind mastery quote: The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination – Dan Millman

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