Valegro: ‘It can be tempting with a clever horse to push too hard, too soon’

  • In the latest instalment of The Blueberry Stories, which tell the real-life story of Olympic gold medallist Valegro, Carl Hester shares some words of wisdom on training for the readers

    The third book in a series for children that tells the real-life story of Valegro, by Carl Hester with Janet Rising, has now hit the shelves.

    Valegro, A Rising Star continues the tale of the gold-medal winning dressage star, as Carl begins his quest to find the perfect partner for ‘Blueberry’.

    At the end of this latest instalment, Carl shares some important advice for the young readers:

    “The timescale for this book has been over several years – from 2006 to 2009 – and it may give the impression that working through the ranks in dressage is easy or quite quick.

    “Of course, it isn’t, and it takes a lot of time and effort to progress all the horses here through their career paths.

    “I always have a lot of horses in training, at various stages, and each one deserves my full attention. Blueberry was always a clever horse, and his training went at quite a pace – but it can be tempting with a clever horse to push too hard, too soon.

    “It is vital to ensure a horse is not only in the right place in his training physically, but also mentally.

    “He has to be able to process everything we ask from him so that he fully understands what he is being taught, is muscled up and physically fit enough to carry out the movements with ease, and progress with confidence, enjoying his work. Never rush your training.

    “Always make sure your horse fully understands what you want him to do, and wait for your horse or pony to offer you more so that you know he is ready to go on to something more challenging.

    “If, in your haste to succeed you rush, you run the risk of your horse or pony becoming confused, losing confidence and showing reluctance in his schooling.

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    “You want an enthusiastic partner, not one who dreads every session because he doesn’t understand what you are asking him to do, or because you school for so long and so often that he has become bored and stale.

    “Above all, with everything you do with your horse or pony, make sure you both enjoy yourselves. It is a two-way thing, this riding, so make it as much about your mount as it is about yourself.”

    Valegro, A Rising Star by Carl Hester with Janet Rising

    Price: £6.99 paperback; £3.99 ebook
    Visit: carlhester.co.uk

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