“Forward Forward Forward………” I heard in the background of my “hands free” as I turned the car around and waved for the third time at the man walking his dog who laughed and waved back. From there Traffic Controller Ann talked me in to the yard!
Needless to say I missed the best part of the first session, however I did hear an excellent explanation of how to encourage a horse to take the neck out without losing the connection and balance by keeping the reins short enough to maintain a good contact and producing greater support and engagement from the hind legs, which reminded me of just why we were there. Judy Harvey is both generous and exceptionally clear in her explanations of training, coaching, judging and riding, indeed an all round view from which everyone is able to learn.
Just seven were seated to watch and absorb the sound training method and to join in the open discussion which Judy is able to encourage, offering only positive feedback underlining the comments made which serves to further the confidence of all who contribute.
Following the lessons is was a great treat to watch Judy riding her two horses from Medium to Grand Prix while asking us for comments on the quality and possible marks. The work followed a clear patten of warm up to the work with short breaks and warm down. The emphasis always on keeping the forward quality of the pace within the movement along with Rhythm, Suppleness, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness and Collection be it sequence changes, zig zag, short steps towards piaffe, a pirouette or an accurate 10 metre circle.
Judy shared work routines and competition plans, problem areas for each horse and ways of helping them through to success in the arena and in her friendly, knowledgable manor created an atmosphere which instills confidence in her students to produce further comments and learning without fear of criticism.
During the morning a smaller member of the yard suffered a bout of colic, possibly due to the change in his routine as we were there. The vet was called but while attending to her sick car on the way, was beaten to it by the Horse Rescue Inspector who, would you believe it, chose this day in 3 years to visit the rescue pony suffering from colic. Fortunately the pain eased, vet arrived and a dose of something expensive and Dr Green solved the problem.
I must say this day Judy gives to the F & I Association is one of the highlights of my year, not to be missed and I am only sorry I was unable to ride myself on this occasion.
Nikki Herbert BHSI