After a nice few days away visiting family in Amsterdam we were back into a busy training regime. It has been a different start to the year for me, usually I am at home soaking up the New Zealand Summer, enjoying BBQ’S with family and friends and preparing my horses for a busy competition season! This afternoon I walked in to my warm flat after giving Doringcourt an easy day free lunging in the indoor arena in -11 degrees. Of course you can imagine it is a huge shock to the system! I feel like a marshmallow when I am riding because I am wearing layers upon layers of clothes. Luckily the snow is a novelty for me and I don’t mind the cold as long as some beautiful white powder comes with it. Roy is coping well with the change in temperature just feeling a little bit more fresh!
Having fun in the snow with Doringcourt.
Doringcourt and I have had a great month of training and learning. Over the past few months I have had to go through a lot of changes both mentally and physically which has been a great challenge. I was introduced to a very wonderful Practitioner for myself last December and so far have had two sessions with him. How he has changed my body and riding! He is so switched on and knows exactly how I have to sit on the horse and where the balance in my body should be. After my first session I felt so removed from my body for three weeks and then one day I woke up and felt like a different rider. Roy also had his second session this week with his wonderful Physio. He is also a very interesting man who treated the German Equestrian Team at the London Olympics. The change in Roy and I is huge and I am so happy to have found a great team of people to work with. It has made me realise so much that when you want to compete at top level how in sync with your body and horse you have to be both physically and mentally. Everything has to be perfect! It is very interesting talking to my Practitioner about rider’s fitness as he himself is an athlete. Of course he says you have to be fit, but he said to me not to power train as such as you don’t want your muscles to be so tight and strong as that creates tension that is transferred through to the horse. Stretching your body is extremely important. This applies to what Leonie has been teaching me with Doringcourt as I explain below.
The leap from training a horse through from Advanced to Grand Prix is like been introduced to a whole new world. Thank goodness for Leonie and her patience!! After riding lots of young horses and training them through the levels in a way that they are through and using their bodies, I have now had to learn to turn off, have trust in my horse and let him go for himself more. I have had to learn to sit so still but stay electric on the horse and change the pressures through my body without shutting him down. It is such a fine line not to apply pressure by pushing with my seat to force the horse into true collection especially in the Passage and Piaffe. You have to bounce the energy around by staying soft through your body but quick with your half halts to keep the energy moving. As Leonie says to me ‘you have to learn how to float on top of the horse’. I feel like I am really starting to get my head around it and it is an exciting time. For Leonie and I the most important thing is that Roy has positive energy and is motivated to do the work. At the moment he is doing a wonderful job and putting in a 100% effort and I am so excited and lucky to work with such a special horse. So many riders and trainers over here have told me that 80% of a good Grand Prix horse is it’s character and I believe that this is the truth.
I was lucky to be able to try Leonie’s new Prestige D1 saddle this month and all I can say is WOW! It is an absolute dream for both horse and rider. I cannot wait for mine to arrive in a few weeks. I would just like to mention and thank my wonderful Sponsors at Prestige NZ for looking after Doringcourt and I and giving us the opportunity to ride in a world class saddle. I would also like to thank Louis Schindler from Syncroflex HA for the box of goodies that arrived for Doringcourt this week. Doringcourt comes out of his stable every day with so much energy and suppleness and I know Louis’s product plays a huge part in keeping him in top condition so thank you.
As well as training Brett and I are managing to have a normal balance in life which is so important for me especially when living in a foreign country. For Christmas my Mother bought Brett and I tickets to Michael Buble in Hamburg which I was so excited about (Brett not so much). It was something to look forward too and of course he did not disappoint! Homesickness is a funny feeling and it can hit you out of nowhere. Apart from missing my family and friends it is the small every day things in life that you really crave. As an example…
English TV, English radio stations, going to the movies, soy lattes, Japanese, walks at the beach and the big one for us is everything here is closed on a Sunday!! Even the Supermarkets. There have been a few occasions where we have woken up on a Sunday with not much food in the cupboard forgetting everything is closed. Thank goodness we have Mc Donalds less than 2 km away!
Michael Buble concert in Hamburg.
We had heard that Paul Schockemöhle’s shop is a must see and since it is only 2 hours away we decided to take a road trip there one afternoon. What a stunning shop it is! You could spend the whole day getting lost in it browsing through the beautiful clothes and horse gear. It is defiantly my dream shop and if you ever come to Germany it is a must do!
All going to plan Brett and I will be heading home at the end of February for one month. We will be based at North Park Equestrian in Dairy Flat and there will be spaces available for horses to come in for training as well as breaking in by Brett and I, lessons and Clinics. Brett has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Dressage, Show Jumping, Cross Country and starting young horses. He has broken in and dealt with many young horses and problem horses for some of Australia’s top riders. Brett has Represented Australia successfully on numerous occasions and has been based over in Europe also furthering his knowledge and education. Brett broke in our first Doringcourt baby NPE Delrico, now owned by Melissa Steed and did a wonderful job.If there is enough expression of interest we will also make the trip down to Horse Of the Year and be available for lessons and warming riders up. Please contact me email@example.com for booking and enquires.
Brett competing at the Melbourne International Three Day Event.
Brett competing successfully at Small Tour Level in Australia.
Riding NPE Delrico a couple of weeks after Brett broke him in. Pictured here at 3 1/2 years old now proudly owned by Melissa Steed.
I will finish up this blog with a little sneak peek of how hard Roy and I have been training along with this really cute quote.
I look forward to catching up and with all my Clients, Sponsors, Family and Friends in early March!