Saturday, November 13, 2010

George Morris Clinic

It has been almost a year since the clinic and I can't believe I haven't posted about the great George Morris and my 3 training days with him.In January this year I spent my 3 best equestrian days in the heat of the Australian summer at a Clinic with Mr Morris.
At first I thought that he would not be a fan of my crazy thoroughbred, with his racehorse tendencies to rear, which there was no shortage of at the clinic. However it was quite the opposite, George was a fan of my "easy and straightforward jumper" as he soon became the 'teacher's pet' in my group which very much came as a surprise to me. Each day our lesson began with flatwork, using it as an aid for our later jumping exercises. The flatwork was tiring, as expected. George's goal with us was to attain perfect straightness in our horses, to achieve this we were made to start in shoulder in up the track, then into haunches in and again into straight, repeating the exercise around the arena.
Each day we began with new exercises, all focusing on the straightness and later implication on our jumping.Our jumping began each day with small grids, getting larger and more complex each time. George's favorite exercise was 3 jumps in a loose 'z' formation on the arena, the point was to continue what we had begun in our flatwork, bending in the air and making the horses listen to our aids, we would go down through the 'z' then half turn back to reverse the order of the jumps. George used this exercise with all the groups at the clinic as a warmup for the later courses and grids. It is an exercise that I have implemented into my jumping warmups.
The hardest part of the clinic would have been our flatwork and jumping warm up without stirrups. The flatwork was all fine, that I am used to but as soon as the jumping began I forgot the importance of my legs again and Rion went up in the air on yet another racehorse rearing spree. As much as I didn't want him to show his bad side to George but he helped me greatly in avoiding and getting out of the situation; stating that "this horse will teach you equestrian tact," and indeed he has.
I can honestly say that this was the greatest clinic I have attended and am lucky enough to be attending another this coming January. A big thank you to Vicky Roycroft for organising the clinic, without her I would not have had the chance to meet the man himself. George is a master of his craft and thoroughly instilled the importance of the leg to us and also safety and correct care for our horses which he called 'cavalry'. I will definitely be writing a longer, more thorough post after the next clinic.

David Green, Colleen Brook, George Morris, Team Brook riders and Vicky Roycroft 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We are back.. Slowly

I sit writing this on my bed whilst peering out into the greyness and rain at home. Impeding my ability to ride and also dampening my energy to go exercise my beasts. Instead I am studying and blogging, not as exciting in my opinion.

I have a bit of a break from riding, not having been riding much in the week prior to my leaving or a week since my arrival back in Australia Rion has had a good break which ended on Friday with our first ride, nothing special just some lunging and then I hopped on to do some lateral pushing off the leg, shoulder in, haunches in to get him back into theswing of things.

If this rain would go away my life would be much easier, I have to prepare for a small eventing competition next weekend where there is only one other competitor in my level so it will be a 1st or 2nd place for me :) The next real competiton will be Berrima on the 27th of November which will hopefully have some good weather. It is always a great event down there and I am hoping for some good results, it is enough time to get him fit and ready again. I will get the musculo-skeltal vet out a week before the comp, I hope, to loosen his muscles up before the dressage and open his big stride up. I am excited thinking about Berrima, I have hardly competed this year thanks to school. I have only been to two horse trial events, in total I think I have been to 6 or 7 shows this year, normally I am out every weekend or two at an event. School has been such a negative impact on my competition life, I really do hate that aspect of school, but it needs to be done so I can't complain too much, I am still riding at home and at training days.

Rion is in good shape after his break with a lot of energy so I have a lot to work with but it should be good fun. This rain should leave soon and then I will be able to take him out for regualr gallops and trots to get his fitness up again, and mine for that matter. Its amazing what French pastries can do :P It is meant to be spring here, with sunshine, rainbows and increasing heat, I feel severely ripped off. I have just started by website on horses which I will use as a blog on myself, as this is; as well as articles on health, training etc. So at least I have one pleasureable thing to do on this rainy day.

Serious work going on here...

Alas, we are on our way back to normal form, with only a few more shows left this year, I am looking forward to getting back into the circuit.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Silver Hills ODE

A good weekend with the horses. I have to thank my best friend for being my groom, made my life less stressful – that’s for sure. This was my first eventing competition for the year, considering that we did fairly well. The dressage left much to be desired, I need to get the musculo-skeletal vet out again and get Rion on the mend. Time to get the dressage saddle out more often I think. Pippy was in the intro class (80cm) and Rion was in the Pre-Novice (1.05m)

I was appointed yesterday as Pippy’s trainer; she will be staying at my place for a month. She tends to get nervous in her dressage, particularly in the warm up area. I have a month ahead of me to fill with work for both the horses. Time to go back to my sources and get some good dressage exercises. I love 101 Dressage Exercises, amongst the other 101 books, they are all great. She is such a great little jumper though, so much spring, very quick. We had a clear showjumping round though we did have two time fault which I’m not happy about. Something to keep in mind. We had a great cross-country round. Straight through the water, didn’t even look at a single jump and we were exactly on time, take a second or two. All good on the jumping front but my job is to improve the dressage. Bring it on I say!

Rion jumped well in showjumping though I made some rather stupid pilot errors, giving us three down, another thing I’m not happy about, being a showjumper I don’t like knocking fences when I’m out eventing. The x-c footing was good, not hard, just the right amount of give. At least it was before the freezing rain and hail bucketed down in the 10 mins before I had to start. In my min countdown to start he started to get more tense, he had been rearing in warm up, which is customary for him, though it is rather annoying, he started rearing 10 secs before start time. Mum couldn’t get near him to walk him in; by the time she did we were already 20 secs behind, once I got him out of the box I didn’t even bother starting my watch, we were behind time and the footing after the rain wasn’t worth killing myself over. I just took everything easy, kept forward and galloped only in the long stretches between jumps. I had to stop on course as my gaiters unzipped and was annoying the heck out of me. So on the time front I don’t even want to know how many penalties I got! He jumped absolutely perfectly however which I am pleased about.

Me and Rion :)

So overall I would say we had a good weekend, despite our flaws. Waiting on the musculo-skeletal vet to get back to us, then I could sort Rion out faster but until she does I will just have to keep doing the muscle exercises she gave me and massaging him my self. Well that’s all for now, over and out.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Miss the Early Mornings..

Early mornings, late nights; ah how I have missed this. Last year I would get up and ride before school nearly every morning, come home of an afternoon and ride another horse, come in late. It was great. Still is. Yesterday was the first day I rode before school this year, its such a wake up call in the crisp air, I love it.

Rion has been a fairly good boy this past week. I have done mostly flat work exercises I learnt from my George Morris clinic this year. The exercises work on moving the horse off the leg to come onto a true contact. The importance of the leg was engrained into my mind from that clinic I will never forget their importance again. The main exercise I love and use with any horse I ride is to use shoulder fore/in then change to haunches in and then straight and repeat. It really gets the horses working, accepting the contact and moving laterally which is always good. I always use it in my warm-ups at a walk then move onto a trot.

Pippy (my friend’s horse I’m competing this weekend) has been doing well. There is little I can change in the week I have her before this weekend but I have been doing the above exercise to get her forward and in front of my leg and off the forehand. Yesterday afternoon I set up three jumps on the arena for her; a cross, vertical and oxer. The vertical was a turn back then 6 stride dog leg to the oxer. She was jumping so well. She has a tendency to run and get quick, as ponies do sometimes, but I just sat quiet, holding with my stomach and such a light contact. The waiting distances definitely do her a world of good. She has such a spring in her jump she doesn’t need to be fast or even overly forward as she has a tendency to be.

That’s all until I post from day one of competing :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

For the Love of Horse

School has consumed me, eaten me up and swallowed me whole. I hate it. I have been to 5 competitions this year whereas, last year I would be competing nearly every weekend or two. I have lost muscle and gotten so unfit. I'm over it. I am fighting back, getting fit, cutting back on the books a little and riding to the maximum to get the old me back on top. I have thought about this and it is doing me no favors sitting at my desk getting fat.

I have been riding Rion a lot the past few weeks (which I am so grateful for) getting himself and myself fit again for Silver Hills eventing next weekend. He is doing well. I have been taking him for nice gallops and trots out on the gallop track and on the trails, it is doing his brain a world of good; and anything that can do that is worth sticking to. Hopefully I can get the musculo-skeletal vet out to the big man and get his muscles working better and get him back on track completely.

We went out cross-country training today on the grounds I was supposed to compete on today before the competition was postponed. Luckily we could access the grounds and I schooled Rion over water, which he was great at, and popped some fences. We haven't gone eventing once this year so I thought it would be a good training comp before next weekend. I've also been given a friend's horse to ride at Silver Hills next week, so I shall have my plate full for the next week.

Training two days ago:

We had winter championships at Jump club a few weeks ago and Rion jumped amazingly. We only had one down in a fairly tough 1.20m class. If only he picked that foot up a cm more we would have been in the jump off. I would like to thank our gallops and trails for his good behavior, I think having him in the arena, even though I mix up what we do each day, bores him and he needs to run more. Its a win win I think.

From Winter Champs:

That is all :)