Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! December is typically a quieter month in the horsey calendar, with most of the focus being on Christmas and the celebrations. It was a joy to finish the long, first school term and be free to play ponies again.
My main focus of December has been to keep Felix relaxed and ticking over, before we start his fitness training in January. I’ve mixed in a couple of training sessions, and interestingly, although, in different disciplines, all sessions have focused on relaxation, patience and suppleness.
On a disgustingly wet and blustery Saturday evening, Felix and I had a dressage lesson with Paul Friday. We concentrated on ensuring Felix worked in a lower, and softer outline, instead of being quite upright and tense. I am trying to develop a few riding tools, so Felix will know when I want him to relax by doing a certain movement with my hands or my legs. We also practised our leg yield and travers, which is improving with time. The evening was truly treacherous- the wind was blowing, the rain was pouring and I could barely see when I rode!
After escaping the classroom, we headed to Stowmarket in Suffolk for BE 12-21 training with Sharon Hunt. First, I worked Felix in between poles, to practice straightness before we jumped. For me, the whole aim of the session was to jump Felix in a relaxed frame, almost with the canter being slightly underpowered to make sure Felix is tension free down the rein. We don’t want to take away Felix’s super keen attitude, but sometimes he just needs to tone down the exuberance a tad! I came away having learnt lots, which I’m looking to take forwards into the event season.
We have been hacking often and enjoying the beautiful (but chilly) mornings in the Essex countryside as well as enjoying a lovely Christmas Day ride. After Christmas, Felix has had a small break while I’ve been on holiday. While I’ve been away, I have been doing some physical exercises such a plank, clams, bridges and backwards lunges to improve my strength when I’m in the saddle.
In January, I am very excited for a lesson with Georgie Strang at Aston Le Walls (very kindly from the KBIS team), and also more 12-21 training but with National U18 coach Caroline Moore. We are starting fitness training with Felix to get ready to hopefully begin our season at the start of March. Here’s to a successful 2019!!
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