Louise and Mya

Going Back to Basics With Your Horse

Well, what a week! I am now on day 6 of complete confinement in France. It’s been pretty tough on the horsey front as  I cannot even go and see Mya at the moment. The stables are closed and she is being taken care of by the yard owner and lives out, so Mya has been enjoying the beautiful weather we have had here this week in Toulouse.  I, on the other hand have been making ridiculous horsey themed videos in my apartment to try and cheer everyone up! Head to my instagram to check that out!

Before all this began I was enjoying doing my online dressage competitions each month with Mya, but had noticed that I wasn’t progressing very much or very quickly schooling alone. I was able to find a brilliant French coach called Noelie who I now have fortnightly lessons with and I wanted to share some things with you following on from the last lesson we had.

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I realised when I started doing dressage that despite being an experienced rider, I actually had not mastered some of the basics of flat work that was needed to do dressage well. As the months went on I could feel that the feedback from my dressage tests was the same each time. My contact was not consistent, which meant Mya was sometimes in an outline, sometimes not and sometimes actually a little on the forehand. I needed to learn to use the outside rein to balance Mya whilst using my inside leg. I actually needed to start using my legs to ride and start using my seat and core to slow her rather than my hands. I was aware of all of this and really enjoyed getting feedback from the dressage judges, as normally it was very positive and supportive but also enough to give me something to work on.

However, It wasn’t until my last lesson that Noelie very clearly told me, when I had asked her to help me do a turn on the forehand that I need to stop trying to do things that are too difficult and focus on the simple things and do those well first. I must admit it was tough to hear. I had been aiming to compete at Novice level by the end of the year and I did appreciate that was an ambitious goal. I didn’t expect Noelie to tell me the stuff I was doing now was too hard! Although it did force me to reflect and suddenly I remembered how frustrating it was that I still not competitive in the online dressage classes at prelim level and that my marks were no longer progressing. But I didn’t realise it was because it was too hard for me! I just thought all dressage was hard!

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So now after a very supportive discussion with Mya’s owner Kate, I have decided to drop down a level and still do my online tests but at Intro level. At first I felt a bit silly, these tests don’t even have canter in them! I wondered if it would be a bit embarrassing to admit defeat at Prelim level and drop down to what even I would describe as a very novice level. But after some consideration I’ve decided it is the only way to improve and I really want to improve. If it takes stepping back to go forwards then I will do it! I realised I can still enter the championship qualifiers online (if I get out of confinement soonish) and actually realised I could now be in classes that I could actually be competitive in! Also how silly would I be to not listen to the coach that I pay to teach me?!

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Now, with the world suddenly becoming a very different place. This seems all very insignificant. Just one week ago this was forefront on my mind and now quite frankly I can’t bloody wait to just be outside with Mya. I don’t care what level I am riding at. I am getting quite emotional writing this actually just thinking about being back at the stables.     So I think what I am trying to say is that it is ok to not be perfect and its ok to just enjoy our horses. It’s great if you want to be a better rider, I think we all do for our horses. It doesn’t matter what level we compete at or whether we compete at all the important thing is to have fun! I cannot wait to get back on and get back to doing my dressage!

Take care everyone and stay safe xxx

Other blogs you may enjoy

10 Things You Can Do To Be a Better Rider Right Now!

Rider Biomechanics Why Is It So Important?

9 Things to do When You are in Total Confinement and You Cannot Ride Your Horse.

Louise and Mya

January. Goal Smashing and Galloping in to 2020!

Hello and welcome to February already! Didn’t January just fly by?! I don’t know about you but I usually feel a little low in January. But not this year! I had set some goals for the year for Mya and me at the end of December and I have actually achieved some of them already! Hence why I am feeling rather positive!

I said that I wanted to find an instructor in Toulouse that I liked, and this was a goal that I set myself for 2019 and managed to go for one riding lesson. That was it. I made it into kind of a big deal as I was worried about my level of French and that it may be a complete waste of time if I could not understand the instructor or she not understand me. However the one lesson did go well and it gave me more confidence with Mya but I never really got back around to going again. But I have now found the one!!

My new instructor Noelie teaches Mya’s owner’s daughter Sasha to ride, so came recommended. It was so nice having her come to our yard and having a lesson on Mya as I have been riding her for 1.5 years now but have actually only ever had one lesson on her before (apart from when her owner gives me some pointers). Mya was pretty spooky and tense despite me lunging her before hand, but that was actually quite good as I feel I need some help dealing with her when she is like that and Noelie gave me some tips to help me with her when she decides to canter off with me! I was really pleased that Noelie seemed very calm and gentle as some of the instructors I have seen here in France seem to be quite loud and the lessons almost look a bit chaotic compared to what I am used to in the UK. So I have decided to start having regular lessons every fortnight with Noelie which I am very excited about and I am hoping that they will have a big impact on my online dressage test results too!

Also to top things off for January is that Noelie was able to sign me off for my Gallop 4 certificate. This is a very important achievement as that means I now have been declared good enough to compete in France! Not that I have any plans to at the moment, its just passing my Gallop 4 was always something I knew I needed to do to be able to compete if I wanted to. But I never really knew how to go about it. So it is a big relief to have it now!

Lastly, I feel pleased that despite not actually riding that much in January I was able to film and submit an online dressage test this month. I had a really fun morning with my horsey friends Nic, Kate and Trudy who all helped me film a test a few weeks ago. In September I aimed to enter a class each month, which I did right up to December when I was ill, the weather was horrendous and I was away for half of the month. But none the less I didn’t want to get out of the habit, so made sure a filmed a test and entered a class knowing that we may not get to practice much. But as usual Mya keeps me guessing and actually went quite well on the morning we filmed Prelim 14. I actually received the results today and we came 18th out of 22, with a score of 60%. Not our best. Actually this is our worst score so far but I am not going to be deterred. I am confident our results will improve soon with the lessons with Noelie we are going to have. I am just pleased that we are out there doing it! Our time will come because I am trying really really hard!

How was your January? What were your achievements? Let me know in the comments.

PS. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog this month is all about riding, of which we kick off with our first guest blogger of the year Georgina Bull who has written a fantastic blog for In Due Horse all about rider biomechanics that will be published next week. Don’t miss it!

Other blogs that may interest you:

Set Goals Smash Them and Repeat! My Goals for 2020.

November 2019 Dressage Results

The Perry Wood ‘Create Your Perfect Riding Horse’ Clinic

Louise and Mya

Set Goals Smash Them and Repeat! My Goals for 2020.

I have started January full of optimism and excitement, so I thought I would set some new goals for this year with Mya. I am just so pleased with the progress I have made with her in 2019. However things weren’t always looking this peachy.  At the beginning of the year things were looking a bit bleak to be honest. We had a bad winter, Mya reared a few times in hand with me which really frightened me and my confidence was shot. The trust I had in her vanished and because of that her trust in me vanished too. But we quietly trudged on, with a lot of support and help from Kate Mya’s owner we gradually got over our problems.

In fact we not only got over our problems we soared! We spent the summer hacking out along the sunflower fields and we even managed to go to the Perry Wood riding clinic, Mya’s first trip away from her yard in 6 years and she really enjoyed showing off in front of our new friends! We started doing our online dressage tests, which are proving to be such fun and such a good way to progress and now I am looking forward to what we can do next year.

I actually made a short vlog about this if you care to take a look here.

So, my first goal is to continue to enter an online dressage test every month. I would like to try different classes out. Last month we did the Xmas fancy dress class and a normal prelim class. Next month I plan to enter the either BE90/100 class just to jazz things up a bit. I would like to try to compete with different companies to find the one I love the most. I would also like to get to a level where I can participate in the league.

I would also like to find an instructor that I like. I wanted to take more riding lessons here in France and that is a goal from last year that I haven’t quite managed to do. I managed to go for one lesson, but as the lesson was in French I really had to summon up the courage to go as I was terrified I wouldn’t understand anything. It turned out it went brilliantly but the yard I went to isn’t open when I can go. So, this year I have a friend who show jumps with her horse and I am going to go have some lessons with her and her instructor at her yard. I am very excited as I think it will be a lot of fun with her and I am hopeful that it is somewhere I can continue to go to for extra lessons.

My other ultimate goal is to compete at novice level in dressage. This is an ambitious goal for me, a dressage newbie. However I am certain Mya is very capable of this level now. She knows how to do medium paces already with Katie. I just need to catch up with her! I am also very competitive and easily distracted, so I do find challenging myself a very effective in a way of improving my performance. We won our Limited class in November with E-riders at prelim level and that quite frankly has made me hungry to win more! I’m such a sucker for a rosette! But for the mean time I will continue at prelim level and try to get placed so I can participate in the league!

My other goal is go to another Perry Wood clinic and try attend more clinics nearby. I am trying to arrange to be able to go to a lesson with William Fox-Pitt who is holding a clinic nearby at the beginning of Feb and perhaps even start competing Mya in local dressage competitions.

My final goal with Mya is simple. To continue enjoying my time with Mya and riding as much as possible. I am so glad I found her and Katie and really enjoy my time at the stables so I want to continue to do that next year.

Lastly I have some small goals for the blog too. I love writing the blog and will continue to do so but I am going to work on a bit more structure as I worry that the blog is actually just a big mind dump for any ideas and posts that I think of with no real pattern or structure. So in 2020 there will be more organisation and themes to each month on In Due Horse. There will also be guest bloggers! Each month there will be a blog from a guest blogger about a topic that they have expertise in. So for example January is all about planning and goal setting and will feature a blog from Jenni Bush ‘The Equine Business Assistant’ to help you set achievable goals and targets for your equine business or with your horse, so keep an eye out for that.

I would just like to take this opportunity to say thanks so much for reading the blog and following In Due Horse. It really means a lot.

2019 you have been brilliant! Roll on 2020!

Louise & Mya xxx

Other blogs that may interest you are:

The Big Blog of Equestrian Goals for 2020.

The Perry Wood ‘Create Your Perfect Riding Horse’ Clinic

Louise and Mya Progress Report!

Be sure to follow @induehorse on Facebook and Instagram & did you know I have now have a Youtube channel?! You’ll find me on Youtube under Louise Dando-In Due Horse. Be sure to subscribe to see my new vlogs. xxx

Louise and Mya

Merry Christmas from Louise and Mya!

Hey Everyone!

It’s fair to say that I have lost my blogging mojo recently. I’ve been ill for a while (just general colds/coughs, nothing more horrible don’t worry) so I have been functioning at the bare minimum to be honest. The last few days I have been stressing as I haven’t been posting regularly, no one is reading the blog and my Pinterest scheduler is not working. I also haven’t ridden Mya for 2 weeks either. But you know what I am not going to worry about that over Christmas! I am going to enjoy some time off with my friends and family and just chill out!

Normally I do a dressage results blog, but I will just quickly tell you that in November we came 3rd in Prelim 1 which was the Xmas fancy dress class with 64.14% ( 3% better than in Sept) and 12th in Prelim 7 with 61%. Two tests that we struggled with, as quite frankly Mya found them a bit boring! She just wanted to canter around the arena or do some medium paces down the centre line when I just wanted her to trot in a straight line!

In January I will get back to blogging, I have lined up some fabulous guest bloggers of which I hope to feature once a month to open up more horsey topics on In Due Horse. I will also relaunch the book club as we know have lots of lovely people in the group but I need to learn how to run the group well! But for now I am on my Xmas hols and all will resume in January & the blog will return bigger and better than before.

Thank you whole heartedly to everyone that reads the blog or follows me on social media. Your support is very much appreciated. We have built up a lovely little community of horsey people that I just love! Having you guys support me so well, actually lead me to approach a magazine to write for and I am very proud to say that I am now a published writer!!! In the winter edition of ´In The Country’ you will see an article written by me & a big picture of Mya & I ( she doesn’t realise how popular she is!) so THANK YOU as I never would of dreamt of that if it wasn’t for you guys saying lovely things to me after reading the blog!!

So that just leaves one thing to say. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have lots of time to spend with your furry friends over the holidays and I wish you all the best for the new year!

See you on the other side and Bonne Fête my friends!

Lots of love

Louise and Mya xxx

Louise and Mya

November 2019 Dressage Results

This month I learnt a lot. We had great success last month winning our Limited Prelim 2 class with our personal best score of 66% so I was eager to keep the momentum going. This month we entered Prelim 7 and we also entered Prelim 1 as it was a special Christmas fancy dress class.

We had already done Prelim 1 as our first ever entry to online dressage in September, so the test was familiar. It is a straight forward test and I remembered the feedback that we received from the last test. But I must admit the tinsel and Santa hood made it a bit harder to see where I was going & hear Katie calling the test than I expected! Although despite that we managed to film a nice test. I knew it wouldn’t be a 66% scoring test but certainly not a bad one.

Then came Prelim 7. Now I had picked Prelim 7 as it looked very straight forward. All you really have to do is change the rein in trot and canter large. When I choose this test in my head I had visions of Mya and I doing a wonderful test as the movements were very simple. WRONG! In fact this test did not suit Mya at all! Mya quite frankly found the test very dull and when cantering large really didn’t want to stop. She tried to do some medium trot paces every time we came down the centre line and each walk to trot transition, she thought would be more fun to do walk to canter.  It was frustrating. It made me tense and that made her worse. I was feeling more and more aware of how much of Katie’s time we were taking up as she had kindly said she would film us. We actually filmed this test about 3 times on the Friday and were not happy with any of them. We reconvened on the Monday and filmed a nice Prelim 1 straight away. Then had exactly the same problems with Prelim 7. We filmed it another 4 times and I just could not hold her back from doing all of the same mistakes. I must admit it was tough as I sooo wanted to do a good test but just didn’t seem capable of it. I felt like I had ridden like a sack of potatoes on the Friday. I seemed to just become a passenger every time the camera came out, for fear of being marked down if I looked like I was having to ride her. I felt much more confident on the Monday, but even then I just couldn’t get her to not anticipate the movements. In the end the more wired Mya got, the more impossible a good test seemed and we had to settle with an OK test. It was really frustrating as I felt like I firstly had picked a test that really did not suit us and felt silly that I hadn’t thought of that and secondly felt like we had made such progress recently to then be incapable of doing a good dressage was flat out annoying!

Katie did remind me that we are doing this for fun and I realised that perhaps my competitive edge was getting the better of me. This did also make me think that we only did start doing online dressage in September only 3 months earlier so to expect brilliant results straight away may not be that realistic in a very strong field of competitors.

However we got our results on December 1st and to my utter surprise we came 3rd in Prelim 1 with a respectable 64.74%. For Prelim 7 we came 12th with a score of 61.14%. I was very pleased with that score as honestly I thought it would definitely be a sub 60% test. In fact the class was spilt into 2 groups and if I had been in the other group I would have come 10th with that score, which bizarrely made it the best we have come so far in the restricted Prelim classes.

So, a lot was learnt this month. On a positive note hard work pays off! The hours of riding paid off and in fact I may well have been being a bit hard on myself. However, I knew we could do better than the tests we did this month, but reality is with any horse they are not machines. I will not get an amazing test out of Mya every time particularly if I ride like a sack of potatoes!!

 

Louise and Mya, Uncategorised

October 2019 Dressage – Results

Hi everyone sorry I have been quiet on here for a few weeks. I lost my blogging mojo a little bit as I have been travelling nearly every weekend since July and then I had the most horrible cold for weeks on end. But now I am back and ready to get blogging again!

We recorded dressage 2 tests in October the week after we returned from the Perry Wood clinic. The weather was awful but Mya went beautifully. She actually seemed very content after the clinic, like she was really enjoying her job. I got the impression she felt like she was doing something for the first time in a few years and was loving it. Her normal  fed up looking selfie face was replaced with a horse happy to stand and have her photo taken with her ears forward. It was a real delight to see her this happy!

We recorded two tests this month. I entered the restricted Prelim 12 first of all. To be able to enter the restricted class you must not have scored over 65% more than 3 times at prelim level. We managed a 63.7% which I was pleased with, which put us in 15th place out of 20 competitors. Out of the two videos I submitted I thought this had not been the better one, but was still very pleased with it. It also showed a 2% mark increase from last month’s score of 60% and I had managed to creep up the score board very slightly this month.

However honestly it was just like last month. Me and Mya are doing tests that for us are better than we have ever ridden. The mark we received we were really pleased with and the improvements were vast after the clinic with Perry Wood this month however we are still not competitive in these large prelim classes. I am so happy with my score and can’t help but think I would be getting better placings than I am now if I was going out to competitions?

Which is what lead me to do my second test this month. E-riders announced a new class called “Limited’. Limited is exactly how it sounds it is limited to people that have not ever scored 64% in a prelim test. Perfect for us! It was limited to 10 competitors only (I’d say more like my actual experience of dressage comps I have ridden in). I jumped at the chance to enter this class as I felt it was prefect for prelim newbies like us. So we recorded prelim 2 for that. Mya loved prelim 2, she loves that there are lots of diagonal lines and transitions on those lines. I don’t know why – but it was obvious she liked it when we rode it. I was SO pleased with the test we recorded for this entry. It just felt amazing from beginning to end. I was pleased with the Prelim 12 we had recorded but knew this one was better. When the scores came out it confirmed it too. We had won the class!!! We got 66.2% by far my best mark ever! I was over the moon! I was so pleased I took the chance to do this class, as I knew I may not be able to do this class in the months coming up if our scores kept improving. It’s true as we scored 66% in it so we no longer fit the criteria to do the class again.

So I have been delighted with both of my marks and especially delighted that we came away with a rosette this month. I had held off writing this blog so I could post a pic of us with our rosette, but it hasn’t arrived yet. It has really fuelled me on to continue doing a class every month as I can feel massive improvements already after only 2 months.

For November we have entered Prelim 7 and we are doing the christmas fancy dress class doing Prelim 1. I’ll keep you posted on how we get on!

 

Louise and Mya

Louise and Mya’s October

Hi everyone! So this blog is going out a little later than I planned due to illness and going away. So please bear with me if you have seen my results from this month’s online dressage competition already! I just didn’t get round to posting this blog in time. So there will be another blog focussing on those results at the end of this week. Then we will be all up to date!

October has really been a month of horsey fun! Of which I am going to try and recreate more often. It was a busy month I traveled to Madrid, Bristol and Dublin in October too. But in between was spent horsing around. (I’m not even sorry for the pun!)

First up Mya was clipped and trimmed by Katie so she was ready to go to The Perry Wood Riding clinic. This was absolutely amazing. Mya behaved far far better than we hoped she would and we met new friends and a new instructor that we really liked. I have written a full blog on the experience that you can click here to read.

Mya sporting her new browband kindly gifted to us by Dragonfly Browbands

Next up was the second month of competing in the E-Riders online dressage competition. I entered Prelim 12 in the restricted class. But then they announced that they had an even more restricted class called the Limited class that had just launched this month, so I entered the Prelim 2 limited class too. I am really enjoying the online dressage competitions but I must admit I was shocked at the calibre of the competition! In the class I entered there was 25 entries last month and the winner won with 75%! I’ve never seen anyone gain that mark – that is a very high mark! So with that in mind and the fact that I am very novice at dressage I jumped at the chance to enter a class that was reserved for newbies or novices like me. For the limited class you cannot of scored more than 64% and I scored 61.5% last month. So I am going to use this opportunity while I can!

Katie and I planned to video the test this week but then Mya ended up having an osteopath appointment this Saturday which meant she would need a few days off after that. So we decided to video last Wednesday. It was the only day we could do it and I was determined to film the tests but the weather was apocalyptic! The arena fence blew down just before I mounted and it was just generally rainy, miserable and grey. However for the second week in a row following the Perry Wood clinic, Mya amazed us and went like a complete dream! No spooking, no being silly in the wind. Two beautiful dressage tests that were filmed and entered into the competition! We were delighted! When I submitted the tests online, I watched them both through and the difference from last month was incredible. Mya is going beautifully, yes she is a little over bent in her head position but we are working on that. My contact needs some improvement. I am still trying to figure out how much rein she needs as both Perry and my feedback from the my dressage test last months says I need to give her more rein but I struggle to keep contact if I do that. The tests are by no means perfect but our circles are rounder and I am riding far more accurately than last month. I am very excited to get our results to see if the results reflect my feelings about the tests. From doing these competitions for just two months, I am already seeing the benefits of having something to work on and the desire to improve. I also feel the benefits of our lessons with Perry made a tremendous difference too.

Next up was Pau! We had a fabulous day watching the cross country at Pau 5*. The weather was amazing and if anything we were a little too warm as the temperatures soared to 26 degrees. The course was challenging! The angles of some of the jumps did not even seem possible. We managed to walk most of the course and see some of the top riders go round. I made a vlog about our day so if you fancy a watch just click here I have gotten into vlogging a bit lately so if you do watch do let me know what you think. As I just had a really lovely day with my friends, which I felt was better captured on video rather than in a blog post. The only thing that has haunted me slightly since that day was witnessing Felix Vogg and Archie Rocks stumble in the water which led to the horse falling and knocking into the jump in front of him. Vogg fell off and led Archie Rocks out of the water and to me it was obvious by the way the horse was limping and the way his leg was not moving at all that he had broken his leg. The vet attended immediately and screens were put up around the horse. They then loaded him and took him away for veterinary attention and I have since read that he did in fact break his shoulder bone and was put to sleep. A very sad reminder of how dangerous eventing can be.

Now, onto the goals that I didn’t achieve. I had planned and had actually booked a riding lesson at a french riding school close to where Mya is kept. But unfortunately they cancelled my lesson. Now this is the second time I have booked a lesson there and they have done this. They said its because of the school holidays and lack of child care. Actually the only time I did go the instructor had her daughter on the lead rein whilst she was teaching me which wasn’t ideal as quite frankly she was distracted and they only offer lessons between 14-17.30 in the afternoon, which doesn’t suit me at all as I child mind during that time everyday during school term. So unfortunately I have given up with that riding school and will look for another. In the mean time Katie has heard of an instructor that she likes the sound of that we are going to try a lesson with at our yard with Mya. So I will keep you posted if that happens.

Lastly, I had planned to participate in Horstober, a instagram challenge run by a french blogger chevaletmoi. But it just didn’t happen. I had a bad cold for most of October so when I wasn’t away or riding I spent watching telly on the sofa to be honest. I ran out of steam and barely blogged. I also run my own instagram account for In Due Horse and run my podcast Equestrian Pulse’s instagram account too which quite frankly is enough so the challenge turned out to be a bit much. But I am so pleased with all the things that I did achieve this month. For goals moving forward, next month I will enter at least one online dressage test and will continue to look for a riding school where I can take more lessons.

So October you were wonderful! Let’s hope next month will be as fun and as horsey filled. Winter seems to have hit Toulouse this weekend, so a rain coat may well be necessary but I am British and will not be deterred by a little rain!

Louise & Mya xxx

 

Louise and Mya

The Perry Wood ‘Create Your Perfect Riding Horse’ Clinic

Yesterday I had the BEST day ever at Perry Wood’s clinic. I was the first time that I have taken Mya anywhere so Katie (Mya’s owner) and I thought we would try a clinic first rather than a competition. It was the first journey in a trailer for Mya in 6 years and the first time she has stayed away overnight anyway with Jazz too so we were full of hope but also had some reservations about whether this is a good idea! As Mya can be difficult to handle at home sometimes.

We boxed Mya over to Borde Basse on Wednesday which is a 1 hour 15 min drive away north of Toulouse the day before the clinic as we had arranged for her to stay overnight in a paddock there, so she could settle ready for the lessons on Thursday. I followed in my car and I could see that she travelled really nicely. She settled in very well, better than we hoped actually as she is a stressy, tense mare at times. Then we went off to find our air bnb and have some lunch. We returned 2.5 hours later to a visibly sweaty Mya who looked wired! Hmm perhaps she hasn’t settled as well as we hoped? We brought her in and she was ok. We handle her in a Monty Roberts Dually halter when we think we may need a little more control so we took her for a little walk around, then to the arena and she actually seemed fine. Oh how we wish you could talk Mya! We actually think she was getting pestered by flies which was what caused her to be wound up ( this is something she does get very agitated by at home). So we covered her in fly repellent and felt bad that the only item of her wardrobe we didn’t bring was her fly rug. We watched her in her paddock for half an hour and she seemed to be more relaxed so we left her for the night. I felt very calm and excited about the next day of lessons and actually felt relieved that I wasn’t bricking it. A few months ago Mya would have frightened me when she was wired like that but much to my relief today I wasn’t frightened and was actually looked forward to getting on her tomorrow.

We had a nice early night and got to yard just as the sun was rising at 8am to give Mya her breakfast. The clinic was held at a lady named Rebecca’s yard. It was beautiful! And suited us brilliantly as it wasn’t a busy equestrian centre it was just the participants of the clinic there all of whom were very friendly. We started the day by watching Rebecca’s first lesson with Perry and Katie & I immediately loved Perry’s teaching methods and what he stood for. Perry’ is a horse whisperer and teaches with natural horsemanship. Focusing on how you can build a better relationship with your horse and understand them better. He challenges some of the traditional methods of riding and gives you his own very easy yet functional ways to ride instead. He focusses on riding in this moment, not a moment that happened 5 years ago or yesterday, how your horse is going now. I was absolutely full of enthusiasm ready for my lessons after watching that first session with him.

After that all of the participants Rebecca, Kathryn, Fanny, me and Katie (who spectated on Thursday and will ride Mya Friday) sat with Perry with a coffee and a cake and talked about what each of us wanted to achieve today. What I really like is that Perry asked what I wanted to achieve today then asked what Mya wanted to achieve. He is so horse focused. I said that I wanted to build a a better relationship with Mya to become someone that she can trust and understand. I explained that it has taken us a while to click and trust each other after we both had quite long breaks from riding. Mya because of an injury and I just found myself between horses and feeling that my better riding years were a thing of the past that I hope to regain. Perry listened to each of us and then made a point of saying that his clinics are non- judgemental. He asked us not to judge ourselves whilst we rode and not to pass judgement on anyone else either so everyone had a welcoming ,calm and encouraging environment to learn in today. ( There definitely needs to be more Perry’s in the horse world for this reason alone in my opinion.)

I watched the first 2 riders sessions and how each of them made vast improvements in their 45 min sessions. I was then my turn…Suddenly feeling a little bit daunted by Mya pulling me up to the arena, where she stood and seeming grew another hand on very already very ample 16.2hh she has already. I mounted and she was calm. We walked around, no spooks, no tension just relaxed like she knew the place and always came here! I could not believe it! So I then relaxed immediately too. When Perry asked what I wanted to work on I explained I was going to ask him to help me relax her but had to explain that she is more relaxed in this new arena than she is at home! So we did some lateral work to help build up some strength in her hind quarters and we worked on my position in the saddle. He encouraged me to sit more like a sack of potatoes and to soften my spine and when I did Mya immediately went into an outline. He also said I had show jumpers elbows – this is not the first time an instructor has said this to me. But what was really funny is that he said I ride like John Whitaker, a personal hero of mine from a very young age. The first horsey video I had as a child was a John Whitaker video about his very famous horse Milton that I repeatedly watched as a child. I didn’t realise I had actually based my own riding style on John Whitaker’s!! The lesson was a great success. Mya went beautifully, leg yielding and we did some shoulder in like dressage divas. I didn’t even know I could do that! The rest of the participants all came to tell me how amazing Mya looked when we were finished and I felt on top of the world.

After watching a couple more sessions ( this was definitely part of the fun too) and eating an amazing lunch including Rebecca’s sausage rolls, Fanny’s soup and a quiche It was time for my second lesson. I felt so happy with my morning session I thought that the second one probably wouldn’t be as good. Well I was wrong! It was even better. I really struggle to work Mya on a circle and to get her to bend correctly at home and yet after 45 mins with Perry I felt like we were Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin. Mya felt incredible! A little crowd gathered actually to come watch us as Mya strutted her stuff like a pro. Everyone including Perry videoed us and it felt amazing! The instruction Perry gave me was simple but so effective. He doesn’t shout a million things for me to do at the same time he just picked a few things and within a few minutes Mya became a dressage horse! We started by just turning her head in then mine as well aiming for a shoulder in at a trot on a circle. He got me to really angle my body to create this turn inwards and soon Mya was strutting around on this amazing circle, not only that, we kept it from walk to trot , trot to walk and we could change rein and not lose it. It felt incredible. Perry even said what a good rider I am – well I could of cried! After years of feeling very mediocre I felt I was riding at my full potential again. Everyone of the participants came up and congratulated me after my session and said how amazing we looked. I felt like a million dollars!

I just could not believe how well our sessions went. I was worried that Mya would be so wired I wouldn’t be able to get on. But in fact she was foot perfect! In fact I think it’s fair to say she actually stole the show!!! I could not be more happy with her. I had the BEST DAY! If you get to have a lesson with Perry Wood do it! I would go as far to say that he is the best riding instructor I have ever had and am looking forward to his next clinic already. I’m now off to buy all of his books!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

From a very happy Louise and Valegro oops I mean Mya!! 😂❤️