What a fantastic day we had at Wellington on Friday,  courtesy of David of course!  We were all very pleased to be using the fantastic indoor facilities on such a windy day!

All I can say is ‘wow’ – so many exercises and so much to take in.  The hour’s lessons were jam packed – each different to suit the different levels of horses.

Caroline brought a selection of ‘cavaletti’ jumps,  skinny brushes and shoulder brushes with her which were all used throughout the day.  Our group firstly rode the ‘square’ exercise with parallel poles on the sides of the square to really emphasise the straightness   ” look for the outside cheek piece ” and keeping the jump to the canter.

We then progressed to exercises incorporating the cavaletti style jumps as bounces. The bounces were used a lot throughout the day – encouraging the horses to stretch their backs and making them more athletic.  I would like to add that I think our group was the only one who had to jump these bounces without our stirrups – no one complained and no one fell off!

The bounce exercises were combined with dog legs to square parallels – aiming  to ride on a forward stride  ( moving away from the bounces  so the horse gets in deeper  to the  oxer)  then progressing  from the bounces  with a dog leg to a skinny brush and then the bounces to a corner on a tighter line. 

Another exercise we rode was an oxer to a skinny brush to another oxer  all on a related distance – straightness was the key again.  Emphasis was also  on riding straight after the fences for 3 strides and then working the horse for 20/30 seconds on the flat to finish.   ‘Always think there is another fence on landing,  even when there isn’t,  so you don’t collapse on landing.’

I was also in the last session of the day where we worked down a grid – built up of bounces  to an oxer to two skinny brushes to an oxer then bounces – this definitely took some concentration. 

The shoulder brushes and skinny brushes were used for the ‘big boys’.  All jumped on angles with a stride in between – how easy they all made it look!

Time and time again,  you heard Caroline say ‘look up’ and ‘ keep your outside rein so the horse stays straight’  .

To top it all Caroline  gave us an insight to the World Equestrian Games  with some great photos – not mentioning the one of Dickie Waygood  sitting on the toilet!  The weather was very challenging in Tyron and the timings of the warm ups etc were crucial with the high humidity levels out there .  This was followed by a lovely  hot lunch provided by Wellington.

What more could anyone ask for  ?!

Report by Nicole Biggs