Round Up, Plans and Action

March 5, 2018

What have i learnt so far this year

Decent saddle: Lesson Learnt: Cost way more than my horse but Alfie is so worth it.


As we move into the second week of March, Where has the time gone!

I find my quick fire blog diaries really helpful to look back and see where are strengths and weaknesses are and I hope you have all enjoyed following our Facebook and YouTube Blogs/Vlogs journey. 

I also find with these quick fire diary blogs I am more honest with myself and how things are going. Coming out of winter my mind plays tricks on me and I often think too much in the moment. I worry about how I am doing and if I am going about it the right way. Am I riding well enough for Alfie to benefit. The list goes on..... 


 The year began with a new saddle and hope that are lost confidence will flow into an awesome medium trot.

Hopeful of less tension we purchased our Trailblazer Second Round Cards and started looking at diary dates.

The first few outings of the year were interesting. Bunny hops, tension, jogging, tongue over bit and a few spooks here and there. They were only tester outings so not too much pressure to get it right.

With the lack of facilities and a muddy field it was back to weekend training to try and iron out the wrinkles


I find it useful to pull information and ideas from different trainers. At the moment I train with the Riding Club looking at the basics and sometimes using pole work.

I have two BD trainers that I try to see at least once a month. One has a softer approach but both kick butt.

I also have a trainer that comes over about once a quarter that always seems to make the world a better place.


Its been a tricky start to this year’s training with each session seeming to improve but then we end up back at square one.


Session One with new saddle meant lots of promising thoughts but lots of old habits from me just kept coming. I pulled the reins, I tipped into canter. The list went on. Despite the fab improvement in our straightness I felt pretty useless that day.


Session Two was a test riding day and I choose to ride through our CTR Elementary test. Surprise Surprise it rained and rained and rained. Generally, an ok run through with accuracy improving but the medium canter tension was crazy tight and again tongue went over the bit spoiling the transitions. The second test run through is supposed to show a % mark improvement, but it wasn’t to be.


Session Three was a double training weekend. First day was with the riding club and we worked on encouraging forward motion regardless of how it looked. Some exercises to help unlock the base of the neck and make the overall ride comfier. Although we started off very sticky it did feel a lot easier to ride at the end of the session

Second day was about reaction and softness and we had a break though in the fact that if I count strides and concentrate on the natural rhythm in my head the collection and medium work is a lot easier. I am still balancing on the reins in canter but if we allow the length of the rein to loosen off a little I ride with a much softer contact. At last a feeling of happiness with improvement and even thoughts of accomplishment.


Session Four was another double weekend. First day, what a fab day, exercises were aimed at working on improving connection with shoulder fore, counter canter and transitions whilst performing stretching. Our brain cells were pushed, and we loved it.

Second Day was group poles with the riding club. Really chuffed with Alfie keeping his cool going round with three others. A few hiccups when the box exercise was raised but he hasn’t done much in the way of pole work and last year we have just jumped the lot. Good Fun day out with our pals. You need fun sessions to make you smile in between the serious stuff.


Session Five, another double and day one, back to poles; this time on our own. The canter work over the poles really help with the lift of the shoulders. I noticed on the video playback that we had lost our straightness. We had some lovely shoulder fore on the left rein but we hadn’t asked for it.

Day two I started off by explaining what I had seen on the video playback. We worked on the canter using squares and walk transitions. Encouraging the hind legs to step under whilst the body remains soft and round to the contact. Despite rider not always getting it the session was very productive.


The following weekend we had the RC teams. That didn’t quite go to plan and we had a music session. I will save that for another blog.


The following week Session Six we carried on working with the counter canter to help with our straightness and hopefully release some of the tightness. Some good work but the forehand was heavy which I am still struggling with.


Here are some of the session links
















Session Two: Test Riding

Session Five: Lots of counter canter



So here we. Soon the clocks will have turned. I will finally ride after work. We have some exciting competitions ahead of us and there will be lots more training diaries so stayed tuned and we will see you soon for the next update




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By Gaelann East
The Wacky Racers Dressage Team
England UK

© 2017 Gaelann East

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