F & I North West Region Training day at Myerscough College, 28th March 2017.
As an F & I member based in Lancashire, and the Stable Yard Manager at Myerscough College, I was delighted to be able to provide the facilities for the North West Region, spring training day.
The day started with a couple of hours of flatwork sessions, then the majority of the day focussed on jumping. However, throughout the day there was a common theme, ‘Less is more’.
Nick was excellent at reminding us all about strong, simple, basics of good riding. He was consistent during the day ensuring we didn’t make things too complicated for the horse or ‘Their shutters will come down and start to say no’ – the horse will struggle to understand what is required.
He highlighted that good preparation was key to success, whether that was riding lateral movements, transitions, or the approach to a fence, being clear not to ‘harass’ the horse. Doing less, was allowing the horse time to digest the information given from the rider, which resulted in a more fluent, clear and calm way of going.
During the jump sessions, there was a variety of obstacles placed well in the arena, to ensure we rode positively and reacted quickly. Nick wanted us to let the horse see its own stride to the fence, ‘just ride forward and straight, allowing the horse to make a decision’. Always reminding us to ‘breathe, relax and keep our body up – not back’. Thus allowing the rider to use their body more effectively, and aid the natural ability of the horse.
I even managed to enjoy a spot of jumping with my reins in one hand – yes this was intentional! It was an extremely effective method to stop the rider, (me on this occasion) interfering with the horse’s rhythm and stride into the fence, trying to place the horse where I thought it needed to be. A fabulous exercise to stop bad habits that we acquire. While maintaining balance, fluency and a forward canter. I am happy to report I wasn’t the only rider to be asked to do this!
Thank you Nick Turner, for your enthusiasm, inspiration and clear sound training advice. Ensuring harmony and understanding between horse and rider.
And thank you Sue Ricketts for organising the day for the North West Region. We are looking forward to the next one!
Report by Kirsten Owen BHSI