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Matt Jenkins’ dressage diary: a spooky moment before Halloween

In anticipation of the clocks going back, I was beginning to dread the thought of the cold winter nights drawing in, but did not envisage writing my blog in the local village pub as the whole village has been plunged into darkness due to a power cut! Surprisingly the ponies coped very well with their bedtime routine being somewhat disrupted. With Halloween lurking just around the corner, I think it’s definite to say the ponies were considerably less spooked than I was!

I’ve had a very busy week, starting off with lessons from Dan Greenwood with both of my boys. Dan hasn’t seen either of them for a while and commented on how they had both improved by getting stronger and more uphill.

With Stig we concentrated on the straightness and making sure he was working evenly into both reins. We did this by using a shoulder-in or quarters-in feel in both trot and canter, not so much worrying about the angle but focusing on the rhythm, consistency and self-carriage. Towards the end we added in some baby canter half-pass and touched on the half steps to improve Stig’s activity in his hind leg and to check he was carrying himself.

With Dalito (pictured) we are asking him to do a bit more now — getting him to use his joints more and to inject more expression into his paces. Dalito is very correct in his way of going and now just needs to develop that to make him into the star I know he is.

My long suffering friend and one of my PAs, Sara, very kindly visited and took some amazing photos of both my lessons which she has added to my Facebook page Matt Jenkins Dressage Rider and Trainer. I took her to the village pub afterwards as a thank-you… anyone would think I was a regular!

I’ve also been very busy with yard work at both Crown Farm and Dan Greenwood’s yard. I worked at Dan’s for four years prior to going freelance and setting up my own yard, so it’s lovely to still be able to work with the array of talented horses at Dan’s, many of which compete at national level.

On Tuesday I groomed for one of Dan’s liveries, Jenny and her horse Bibertels, at Hunter’s Equestrian in Cirencester. Hunter’s is a very well run show centre and it’s great to have these facilities on my doorstep. Some of the top dressage riders were competing and I always find it interesting to spectate at the warm up as I find that so much can be learnt just from watching. Jenny got a very respectable percentage and is now qualified for the elementary winter regional finals — they hope to step up to medium level soon.

Woody, the ex-racer, is being a little star at the moment. He has started working in his new Cliff Barnsby dressage saddle and the results have been fantastic. He is a lot looser over his back and it has helped with creating more freedom and cadence within his paces.

Emilius has been coming on great guns — he has been hacking out and schooling in a baby outline, on his own and with other horses, and has taken everything in his stride. He has now returned home to further his education with his owner Samantha. I wish her all the best of luck and hope to see the pair of them at the four-year-old classes next year. Dalito will be five and Stig will be six, so they should be in with a chance 😉

I have two new horses owned by Laura Prewett-Wood, one of my Bristol clients, which have arrived for schooling for a few weeks. Slim is a five-year-old coloured gelding and Seren is a chestnut mare. I am very lucky to have such lovely horses to train at the moment.

A number of my pupils in Bristol have been having excellent results, both in schooling and competition – too many to mention individually – more information can be found on my Facebook page. I just want to say a big ‘well done!’ to them all.

Matt

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