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PopTop-Part of My Perfect Look

PopTop Review

 

I made my purchase from Sweet Iron Co last year and haven’t looked back. I have been in serious love with my PopTop, I wear it to every single competition. Besides adding to my perfect look, here’s why.

PopTop Review

I have always struggled with finding a decent fitting, smart, durable competition shirt. Not to mention a label that reflects my true size, not XXL! I must admit I am not a slim dressage rider but I do consider myself to be of average size. It always lets the air of out your self esteem going through the clothing rack finding the largest size or even walking away with nothing after all the ‘average size’ people who have beaten you to the shop first.

What I most enjoy is you can actually tuck the shirt in without the fear of having a ‘front bum’. There is nothing worse then having competition stress or nerves trying to remember your test or ensuring all your gear is clean to the find out you have a massive roll once you tuck your shirt in! The PopTop is designed to be flattering no matter what size you are.
PopTop Review

I have received many complements on my PopTop, the navy and white skull is my favourite. With my soft personality the skulls make me feel a little edgy without going all out. But I must admit it’s a never ending favoritism between the navy and my new blue one.
The stylish designed PopTop allows you to wear it at lessons, clinics, t-shirt days and even under your jacket at official events, making it a perfect top for any riding occasion… Or you can be like me, just to ride around a home in!
PopTop Review

The breathable fabric makes it an easy choice for me when I pack for competitions, as much as I don’t like to admit I am a massive sweat machine always needing my jacket dry cleaned after an event! It gives me confidence knowing when I go out into that warmup and competition arena I don’t need to worry about having sweat drip down making me feel uncomfortable.
PopTop Review

But what really stood out to me is the affordability, I hate spending so much on myself (as I usually splurge on Arnie!). For only $49 the PopTop is an absolute bargain, I can literally buy 2 PopTop’s (!!!) for the price of 1 tight, ill fitting shirt that makes me feel self conscious when I take my jacket off after my test. You know those shirts that just highlight your flaws!? I can proudly take my jacket off after my ride and continue to wear my shirt with my breeches around and to the office to collect my tests.

Plus, I’m proud to admit I own 3 of the 4 PopTops, navy, blue and white. With the new purple shirt which I feel isn’t going to be far away from my mailbox!

What I also love about Sweet Iron Co, they are based right here in AUSTRALIA! Which means fast affordable shipping!

Why you need a PopTop in your life like me:

  • Comfortable
  • Well fitted
  • True to size
  • Affordable
  • Stylish
  • SUPER fast delivery

Where can you find Sweet Icon Co?

  • Facebook: here
  • Instagram: here
  • Website: here
  • Most importantly online store: here

And did I mention the socks and caps? I love these too and I’m not a girly girl but I just love this cap!PopTop ReviewPopTop Review

 

 

PopTop Review

 

 

Most Common Myths Surrounding the Standardbred: Part 2

I enjoy writing and sharing my insights about what I am passionate about, anything Standardbred and dressage I can chat all day. It is important in our sport that we are a supportive bunch of individuals, this is why I find it incredibly frustrating reading and listening to people putting down and creating a negative environment surrounding the Standardbred.

I previously posted about how Standardbreds are trained to pace and trained not to canter in Part 1 of Common Myths Surrounding the Standardbred. I discussed my insights about how the Standardbred are naturally a 5-gaited breed. Thanks to the scientists at Sweden’s Uppsala University, who discovered the gene called DMRT3. In turn, allowing the Standardbred to have the natural ability to pace.

Standardbred Myths

Personally, I feel every myth surrounding the Standardbred stems from myth #1 Standardbreds are trained to pace and trained not to canter. This cloud of misconception hangs over almost every aspect with Standardbreds after racing.

Personally, I feel every myth surrounding the Standardbred stems from myth #1 Standardbreds are trained to pace and trained not to canter. This cloud of misconception hangs over almost every aspect with Standardbreds after racing.

I wanted to discuss what I personally feel is the second biggest myth surrounding the Standardbred.

Standardbreds will never make a competitive mount.

Discussion purposes, let’s just assume 95% of people who have this brain wave of ‘Standardbreds will never make a competitive mount’ believe this because the horse is a ‘Standardbred’ meaning they pace. Which, they believe they will always pace and nothing else. They only believe they will be good trail horses or anything in a ‘non-competitive’ event.

Then the remaining 5% are individuals who aren’t on any of our Christmas card list, they just dismiss anything or don’t even have a second thought about it.  Closed book, Standardbreds don’t exist.

Rather than laying the facts out explaining that the Standardbred is naturally a 5-gaited breed and they have the capability (like any other breed) to trot, canter and gallop. I thought to discuss how to successfully show the 95% can be a competitive mount, as they say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Because, guaranteed to any Standardbred owner you know your horse has what it takes to hold themselves in any show line up, in any dressage arena, in any endurance ride and even out there eventing. You know from firsthand experience how trainable, quiet and willing the breed really is.

How to successfully make your Standardbred a competitive mount?

I’ve picked a few main areas on how to make your standardbred into a competitive mount, how to reflect your hard work and make them be noticed in a positive way to the wider equestrian community. Turn heads and make everyone take notice on how great the Standardbred can be. These areas are what I feel are very important, not just for Standardbred horses but for any breed of horse.

It all starts from the beginning

Most of the Standardbred’s that we acquire have not been started under saddle or they have only had a few rides. Don’t be despondent, the Standardbred is already broken into harness. They have been mouthed, long reined, driven, floated, cross tied, worked with other horses. All the basic work has already been put into them. It is at this point of their changing careers, the saddle is introduced, the leg aids are introduced, the weight is shifted from being pulled to being carried on their backs.

It is at this stage I encourage (from personal experience):

  • Patience
  • Hard work
  • Patience
  • Hard work
  • Patience
  • Enjoyment

Balance is the main area I would set my focus. I too often see horses out that aren’t balanced, running forward and on the fore. I just love reading anything from Kyra Kyrklund, if you are after a good read about balance I strongly recommend visiting Dressage Today’s website to read all about her ‘smaller steps for greater balance’.

Don’t rush to take your horse out under saddle, it’s no longer a race! Don’t take them out until they are ready. If you are going to be showing, don’t take them out until they have a nice balanced walk, trot and canter (3 beat), smooth transitions in and out of canter. Same if you are going out to compete in dressage, know your test, if it is preparatory ensure you have a nice balanced walk and trot with smooth transitions.

Training is the Number 1 area no matter what level rider you are or what level your horse is at, everyone needs a good coach. A genuine set of eyes on the ground to assist with your journey. I hear too frequently how riders are put off asking for coaches for lessons because they have a Standardbred and are worried they may be rejected for a lesson for it. I feel extremely blessed to have (who I feel) are the best coaches I have access to for lessons, the amount of hours in the saddle during these lessons are invaluable. Not once throughout my career have I had any rejection or negativity from coaches, if you are willing to learn and progress your riding there won’t be anyone stopping you.

A few friendly tips to help change the 95 % perspective:
  • A picture says 1,00 words, so train and work hard at home before you have your first outing
  • Get a good coach, EA has a list of qualified coaches (dressage and showing) in your area.
  • You are never too good to learn
  • Negativity makes you ugly, ignore any hate. We all have our bad days just keep working towards your goals.
  • Enjoy your small successes as much as the large ones
  • Never think that because you ride a Standardbred you are disadvantaged
  • Professionalism goes a long way

Standardbred Showcase: Indiana Go and Dimittee Walker

I might be saying this often of late. But I have LOVED reading all the stories! None of them are the same and the passion for their horse is undeniable,

I would love to share the wonderful story of Indiana Go & Dimittee Walker for the second installment of Standardbred Showcase. #transformationtuesday. A new segment through Dressage Dreamers.

Indiana Go & Dimittee Walker

Indiana Go is a beautiful 6-year-old mare by Gotta Go Cullect who has had numerous trials with one race start at Gloucester Park in March 2016. But, deeming to be too slow it was soon after this that Dimittee and Indiana Go found each other back in August 2016.

However, it wasn’t long after the new partnership was formed that they stepped out to their first breed show in February 2017. They kicked off their competition career with much success! Being awarded Champion Standardbred Mare and Reserve Champion Off The Track Standardbred. This is definitely a positive sign of many future successes for the pair in their career ahead of them.

Standardbred Showcase

Both Dimittee and Indiana are both learning together with only a handful of rides under their belt and enjoying every step of the way. Dimittee is busy working hard training for dressage and showing, with her main goal over the next 12 months is to progress with their ridden career and to compete in a few hack shows and dressage events.

Standardbred Showcase

Dimittee is certainly a girl out of my own heart with having Charlotte Dujardin at the top of her list to have a lesson with. She is one of the most influential dressage riders of this time. Dimittee admits her biggest inspiration is Laura Bechtolsheimer with Mistral Hojris, another Olympic Great Britain dressage rider.

I wish Dimittee and Indiana Go all the success with their promising future ahead. I’ll be keen to check in with a follow up story when the pair have been to their first competition under saddle.

Standardbred Showcase

Here are a few beautiful photos of Indiana Go and Dimittee Walker.

 

If you would like to have your standardbred featured #transformationtuesday please click here for the information and email info@dressagedreamers.com.au 

 

Standardbred Showcase

Standardbred Showcase: Dribbles and Deb Thomson

I absolutely love hearing about other Standardbred’s out and about doing well for their owners. The more I post the more I hear, the more I hear the more  I want to share all these stories!

The Standardbred Showcase #transformationtuesday is a new part of Dressage Dreamers, showcasing a Standardbred a week who has made the transformation from being a harness horse into a riding horse.

I would love to share our first Standardbred Showcase

 

 Dribbles & Deb Thomson

Dribbles is his competition name too! I absolutely loved reading Deb’s email and seeing all her amazing pictures with her boy Dribbles!

Standardbred Showcase

Deb is based in Kyabram Victoria and is proud of her 9-year-old gelding named Dribbles, who is by Blissful Hall and stands at 15.1hh. Dribbles was bred by her Father in-law and was listed in the yearling sales but was passed in as he was on the small side!

Standardbred Showcase

It wasn’t until the unraced, unnamed 6-year-old Dribbles developed a suspensory injury he was retired to Deb, who started on their amazing journey together after her second child was born. While she admits he was super quiet, he did have a few quirks, noise sensitive, shying and scooting off with or without her! They soon joined the Northern Standardbred Riding Group and started getting a few competitions and shows under their belt. While Dribbles was showing a keenness for jumping, getting regular lessons from her old instructor David Quick was the help they needed to get back on track.

In just the three years they have had together and after an 8-year break for Deb away from the saddle, their list of amazing achievements:

  • Established a 3-beat canter
  • Top Ten in the Alabar HERO Series TWO YEARS running
  • Won numerous Champions and Supreme Champions in BOTH Led and Ridden
  • Learnt to lengthen and shorten the stride at the trot and canter.
  • Starting lateral work
  • Learnt to go over water jumps
  • Best performed Standardbred at the TTT CT 2018

Standardbred Showcase

In this three-year period the lowest placing they have had was in the L4 in the last 18 months is 7th which was in the TTT CT this year.

Standardbred Showcase
Photo Credit: Belinda Richardson

But, Dribbles hasn’t made the complete switch to a competition horse just yet. He lives on a racing property and gets ridden on the track. He still goes on the jogger and in the cart! Deb admits how great it is to have an ‘old stager’ to work with the younger horses and even babysitting them. He truly is a very handy horse to have around the property and is also known as the ‘useful show horse’ on the farm!

Standardbred Showcase

Dribbles is a fantastic example on how versatile the breed really is. What a talented jumper he is!

 

If you would like to have your standardbred featured #transformationtuesday please click here for the information and email info@dressagedreamers.com.au 

 

Standardbred Showcase

Standardbred Showcase

Standardbred Showcase

Every time I share a photo, post or video on Facebook I hear more and more people out there with their own Standardbreds.  I’m always completely blown away with amazement on how many horses out there doing well under saddle. I know we often fly under the radar collectively as a breed, so I would love to showcase a story of all the special Standardbreds out there.

Starting from Tuesday 17th April, I would love to share a story a week. Showcasing a Standardbred that has made the transformation into a ridden horse. I’m not just looking at showcasing horses who have won countless titles! This is open to all Standardbred’s that have turned into a ridden horse.

A few details I will need to showcase:

  • Your name and location (which state)
  • Horse Name (including race and competition name)
  • Horses Background (if raced or trialed, when did he/she come into your life etc)
  • What level your horse is currently at (how long under saddle, what discipline you are training in etc)
  • Your achievements to date (I’m looking at mainly training achievements but also let me know what competition achievements you have!)
  • Your goals for the next 12 months (training and competition etc)
  • Photos, lots of photos!
  • Your biggest inspirations
  • Who you would LOVE to have a lesson with OR who you would LOVE to have dinner with to pick their brains!
  • Anyone special mentions
  • Did I mention photos?

I will write up a story for each horse that their story has been submitted, please ensure you haven’t sent enough information for a good size write up!

#transformationtuesday

 

I’m keen to hear all the amazing stories, if you could please email all details (and photos!) to info@dressagedreamers.com.au

Arnie and I can’t wait to read everyone’s stories!

Standardbred SHowcase

5 Photos 1 Day Challenge

I don’t often take apart in challenges, but I was looking forward to Haynet #5photos1day hashtag challenge through Instagram last month. As I’ve wanted to share my ‘day in the life of a dressage dreamer’  for a fair while now. I’ve really wanted to share my day in videos but I’ve always been a little to chicken to do so! I’ll stick with sharing my daily life in photos for now. Sadly the day I picked to share my day wasn’t all that exciting. No horses were worked and it was raining!

My day started off with what I feel are my beautiful gumboots, you see it has been months since we have had any decent amount of rain. The paddocks were horribly brown, dry and dusty. It was such  a welcome change to put on my old pair of gumboots and walk through the muddy yards! I literally had to triple check my gumboots for any nasty hidden spiders! It has been THAT long since I’ve needed to wear them!

5photos1day

As I set off with my gumboots, marching out towards the stables to feed the horses their breakfast. I couldn’t help but take a photo of Arnie, who might I add, looks very ‘special’ while munching away on his morning hay! Arnie’s stable is the closest to the feed room, so naturally he is first of the rank to have breakfast. I think he would be a little upset if he didn’t get fed first!

I believe this is honestly the first time I’ve had to pull out any woolen rugs for a long, long time! Dusting them off and checking for spiders is defiantly NOT on my favourite list of things to do ! But at least Arnie is all snug in his rugs hiding inside his stable away from the rain.

5photos1day

I pass my arena on a daily basis while doing the feed rounds to all the horses. Only a few weeks ago it was incredibly dry and dusty while schooling in the arena. I couldn’t help but share a snap of the arena scattered with puddles. It was defiantly safe to say I wasn’t going to use the arena for a few days! But it was a nice welcome change.

I love taking photos on my iPhone, the 7 plus has an amazing camera, not to mention the portrait mode! It really captured a clear beautiful reflection photo of the long side down the arena.

 

5photos1day

You could say I get a little bored easily, especially when I can’t work any horses due to the weather. I should probably just take it as an easy day around the place, settle in front of the telly with Netflix. But I really enjoy the outdoors and I enjoy taking photos outdoors. I couldn’t resist taking in the scenery while doing the afternoon feed up at one of the front paddocks. Seeing the transformation from dry grass into beautiful rich green grass is amazing.

5photos1day

My day wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t tuck Arnie into bed. Pats, cuddle, treats and a little hay for dessert. No matter if I had a terrible day or even the best day, it always ends with saying goodnight to Arnie. He really is my once in a life time horse.

 

My Goals For The Coming Year

As I sit down thinking and writing out my goals for this coming year, I find it hard to concentrate. A typical hot Australian summer day, looking out the window of my parents’ house at the paddocks while sitting in the air conditioning, a whopping 45 degree Celsius. This horrible heat wave makes it difficult to write down any inspiration, sitting down sweating, exhausted after the morning stable chores. But, fortunately as I start to cool off in the air conditioning watching Arnie in the paddock in the distance, I begin to picture our exciting venture for 2018.

Goals for the coming year

I started thinking about the different aspects of my life and what I want to achieve. I broke it down to a few areas.

 

Training and competition:

Finishing 2017 off with a protocol test gave me the confidence to work on the areas of our tests that need improvement. I feel focused and clear cut with what I need to do to achieve our desired result. My overall aim is to qualify for the State Dressage Championships in Novice, I require scores over 65%, which I believe can be completely achievable. If I stick to my weekly and monthly schedule!

Back in November 2016 I attended the Intelligent Riding Retreat with Brett Parbery, it was an amazing experience. Not only did I meet 13 other like minded wonderful ladies, but I managed to have an idea on my own training system and my own road mapping towards my goals.

I absolutely love having dressage as my main discipline, it allows me to have achievable goals and create a road map to make that goal more visual. Which makes me think about my main training goals with Arnie over 2018, I would LOVE to have an Elementary start on him one day in the near future.

As our training progresses I have a few little goals in mind:
  • Master our counter canter, which we have complete confidence on the left rein! So, I feel this could be quite achievable if we put our mind to it.
  • Get confident moving the hind quarters, don’t be scared of some travers!
  • With our simple changes progressing nicely over time, I would just love to ‘sharpen’ them, have more jump into the canter from walk.

goals for the coming year

Personal Development:

Around April last year I signed up to commence the EA NCAS Coaching course, I successfully completed one unit out of many in the Introduction level.

Being a little side tracked during last year with other ventures, my aim this year is to complete my intro level and commence Level 1 Dressage. Huge step forward towards what I feel is a dream journey, but I think it will be completely worth it if I concentrate and keep hustling through each bit of the course.

Something that has always been on my new years resolution list for the past 5 or so years, is to get fit! But this time I want to stick to it, not make any excuses. This is why I want to set aside time each week where I think about my own rider fitness and concentrate on exercises to help. Rather then putting my fitness in the basket labelled ‘lose weight’, because I know myself too well, I will avoid getting around to making time for it.

Professional Development:

I love to write, I love to blog, I love to share my journey. I hope to encourage a positive environment for other equestrians. This year I really want to vamp up Dressage Dreamers and really start to shape it into something special.

It’s life, a few things can get into the way forcing other priorities further down the list, but my aim is to be more organised and have Dressage Dreamers at the top and become more consistent. More writing, more sharing, I really feel in this day and age we need to have a good support system. I feel that I am extremely fortunate to have the positive family and friends encouraging me with all my ambitions.

goals upcoming year

 

Let me know what YOUR goals are for 2018?! It doesn’t matter how big or small, I would love to know!

Happy Training 🙂


What is your Riding Ambition? – Equestrian Blog Hop

I’m delighted to join in and be part of this month’s Equestrian Blog Hop run by Bridle & Bone. The topic for November is, what is your riding ambition? Do you have one? As I sat down and thought about what my riding ambition is and if I have a riding ambition, I started doing a little research and reading about ambitions.

 

Ambition is defined as “a true desire to do or achieve something”. Now, after some reading I believe if you have a passion, such as riding, there is no doubt that you would have a desire to go out and be with your equine partner. You do have ambition and desire to achieve the best you can.

“Ambition and love are the wings to great deeds”- Goethe.

You could say my ambition started from an early age. Being surrounded by horses, riding and competing at shows, qualifying for royals. The desire to achieve my best in the show ring soon developed into my harness racing days. My ambition shifted to become a better driver and achieve the best for the horse. Again, my focused shifted as I made the change to get back in the saddle again after a break. This is when I found dressage, which has become my love and passion ever since. I have found a discipline that allows my riding to grow and develop into a better rider.

Arniwho Riding ambition

The early morning alarms, saddling up while the sun is rising just so I can get a good 30-minute ride in before heading off to work. Walking through the front door after the sun has gone down after exercising horses after work. Falling asleep on the lounge after dinner while watching TV. Non-equestrians really sit there scratching their heads wondering why on earth we do it and what possibly could we gain out of it.

Love is why we do it, ambition keeps our head in the game. The ups and downs, tears and laughter, equestrians wouldn’t have it any other way. No matter what discipline we are all set out to achieve something.

 

Riding Ambition

For me where I am with my dressage journey, no matter how far down the path I go. It’s the burning desire to become a better rider that keeps me heading on my merry way. The path will never come to an end, you will never stop learning. Most importantly, you are never too good to learn.

How do I stay on the path? I have two main things that help me.

First one, I currently I have 12-month goal set out on a poster written up the very top. I have the months broken down underneath in headings, I plan out parts of the 12 months. Such as, lessons, competitions, time off, body work etc. Basically the building blocks heading towards that end goal.

Second one, surrounding myself with like minded people. Whether you surround yourself with positive like minded friends or even having your social media feed positive and inspiring. Chatting to the other dressage girls inspiring and motivating each other to keep striving to do our best each ride. Or simply following the top riders and trainers in our sport, aiming to be that person you follow religiously online.

 

It begs the question, what are your riding ambitions? What is your burning desire with your equestrian partner?


My Trip Across The Ditch

My trip across the ditch

 

Earlier this year the family purchased 3 lovely fillies from the Yearling Sales in Christchurch, all 3 lovely fillies and 3 very different fillies! Making our latest team 5 Kiwis in total, sounds like we have an addiction! I was fortunate enough to hop back on the plane across the ditch and see how they were going after the breaking in prep. With New Zealand winters not favouring the horse training, a little too cold and wet. It was nice to see the fillies back in work after their winter holiday, still a little scruffy with their winter coats.

trip across the ditch

Friday

I arrived in Christchurch on a beautiful Friday afternoon, sun shining, spectacular clean crisp New Zealand air. We are so fortunate to live in this part of the world, especially when Middle Earth is only a 3-hour flight away.

We were in for an absolute treat on the Friday night with Addington races having a table in the members room with beautiful food and watching an action-packed race night. It was a spectacular experience, especially witnessing the running of Heat 3 for the Sires Stakes series. It was amazing to see Chase Auckland get the win in the heat, who went on to win the final. You can see Chase Auckland’s Heat win here on Harness Racing New Zealand website.

We retreated for an early night after the ninth race knowing we had a jam-packed Saturday!

trip across the ditch addington

Two reasons for the trip across the ditch, first one was to see our fillies and how they are developing after their breaking in prep. But also, to have a peep at Equidays NZ and to sit in on an incredible masterclass with Kyra Kyrklund. You can read all about the recap here with Kyra in my earlier blog post here.

Saturday

With Christchurch weather still on our side on the Saturday morning, it was time to drive some fillies! We watched Spider (Betterthencheddar) a nice little compact filly with a striking part white tail- workout first. At this point with her training she can be a little head strong and is a little opinionated!

trip across the ditch spider
Spider

Next, it was Libby (Sportswriter) and Misty (Shadow Play) turn to work out, I managed to steal the drive on Misty. I became rather attached to this big black girl this trip. I had an amazing experience driving Misty first up on Saturday, pushing her through a few gears with Libby. Who might I add was exceptional to watch, Libby has an amazing turn of foot. She really does look impressive when she finds that next gear!

trip across the ditch misty
Misty

I defiantly chose the right horse for me, managed to get the phone out for a quick snap on the way back in!

 

Trip across the ditch Misty Shadow

 

 

We also had a treat to see a filly who was only born several hours earlier! This stunning little girl is half sister to Spider.

 

To top off a wonderful horse day in Christchurch we visited Equidays, a pre- visit to Kyra’s Masterclass on the Sunday and to do a little shopping. I purchased a snazzy new Spooks vest and bought a matching pink one for my mother who was unable to join us on the trip. We finished off an amazing day with an absolute feast at the local Tai Tapu pub! If anyone is travelling to that area, I highly recommend the pork belly. 😊

Kyra Masterclass

 

Sunday

As it was only a short trip across the ditch, when Sunday rolled around, yet another beautiful clean crisp day. I knew it was going to be a jam-packed day. First up we attended Kyra Kyrklund’s Masterclass at Equidays, full details can be viewed here on the previous blog.

I was excited to take the reins on Misty again on day 2, she is such a straight forward filly to drive. Leading the way out on the track with Libby on my tail we pushed the fillies through the gears. We were extremely impressed how the fillies worked today. I was very chuffed with Misty, we both performed better together today over our first drive together on Saturday .

 

trip across the ditch
Misty and Libby

I just can’t believe how wonderful Christchurch’s weather can be, we were incredibly fortunate to experience sunshine over the weekend. Some of our previous visits all we have had is rain, wind and more rain!

Can’t wait for the next trip next month to take the reins with the fillies again! 🙂

Masterclass with Kyra Kyrklund

Kyra Masterclass

One could say I’m addicted to learning and attending masterclasses. Another 3am start to a rainy Friday morning on my way down to Sydney International Airport ready to depart on my early morning flight to Christchurch with Air New Zealand. I was excited to be attending Equidays, especially to sit in listening to Kyra Kyrklund. What an opportunity!

I visited Equidays briefly on the Saturday afternoon following on from my own morning horse activities, Kyra had a 45-minute demonstration in the main arena. I thought this was a great opportunity for a sneak peek with the masterclass the following day.

In the short demo Kyra focused on the rider position and balance, which I find absolutely fascinating, I feel this is one subject that is left untouched. Ensuring the riders were sitting even in the saddle. Not slouching to one side, forwards or backwards. It’s amazing to see how much the body influences the horse and their movement. Getting the riders to turn their heads to the outside and ride a smaller circle, using their body, influencing the horses body to ride the smaller circle. It sounds like a simple exercise, but it was rather effective with the riders on the day. This was only a very short insight on what we would be installed for on Sundays masterclass.

Kyra Masterclass

With a few ideas in my mind from Saturdays demonstration, I woke to a beautiful sunny, crystal clear Sunday morning in Christchurch. Equidays opened the gates early for all the keen Kyra fans eagerly awaiting a morning of learning.

The morning kicked off with the first rider, Kyra following on from the short session on the Saturday about the rider’s body position and balance. If you are learning to one side the horse is going to want to fall to that side to support the riders weight. Kyra made an interesting training suggestion, all the riders who rode on the day were asked to use a monkey grip. Which she pointed out what a great training tool this can be for the rider. With the rider using it with their inside hand, allowing them to keep a still, steady and soft contact with the horse. Whilst having the outside hand controlling the tempo of the horse, remember to pat the horse with the outside hand. For two reasons, one, allowing the rider to relax the outside rein aid and two, rewarding the horse.

Whilst the focus of the first rider was about body position, this might not seem fascinating to all riders. But Kyra gave some important tips:

Head down only focuses on the front of the horse

Don’t stare at the horse’s neck, learn to look around

Repetition is the mother of learning – Which I couldn’t agree more.

With the second horse now entering the arena, the rider previously mentioned to Kyra that she really wants to ride a good shoulder in! Didn’t my note taking go crazy with this horse. First up, Kyra worked through the leg yielding, in walk down the long side. Changing the bend into renvers and keeping the hinds on the wall.

When you reach the end of the long side, move the hind leg with small steps and turn on the fore. Kyra expressed to the audience how valuable the turn on the fore really is to our training. Several trainers and riders do not use this as a training tool with their own training as it can be difficult, which she also told the audience this is probably why you do not see it in many dressage tests these days.

Moving on from this exercise along the wall, it was time to put it to the test down the centre line. Walk down the centre line, leg yield, turn on the fore. As Kyra lightly mentioned “he is not a supermarket trolley, you do not need to push all the way”

By taking the horse through these exercises you learn to take the hind in and put the hind back. Having that control. Kyra quiet clearly pointed out to the audience shoulder in you take the front in not keep the hind leg out. She made a comment with the position of shoulder in is if you wanted to take your horse off the wall to do a circle. Then travers is when you ride a circle but you think not to finish it. Sounds simple doesn’t it. She also mentioned that using the walk as a large half halt, make the horse listen and think.

The third horse rode into the arena, Kyra is on point with keeping the theme of the rider’s position. This time it was all about the rhythm and tempo. Learning to slow down the tempo with your body and not from the rein aids.

While the rider was trotting around in rising trot, Kyra got her to think of slowing her rise down. This helps the horse bring back in the trot. She then went on the explain when you are sitting trot, think of slowing down the bounce to get the smaller trot strides.

Kyra Masterclass

Kyra had a great exercise for the crowd, she had us all stand up straight and see if we could get out knee up high around our belly buttons. I admit this was a little difficult! Then she asked us to round out backs and see how we could get our knees up. If you’re not standing up now and trying this I’ll let you in on a secret. It is A LOT easier! She pointed out how the horse needs to be round across the back for the hind legs to come up and through, riders who have their horse round across the back are making it very difficult for themselves.

I honestly enjoyed every minute of Kyra’s masterclass, she left the crowd eager to learn more. You can tell why she is one of the best trainers.

Here are my main training tips from Kyra’s masterclass at Equidays in Christchurch.
  • Leg yield not rein yield
  • Horse needs to be round over the back for the hind legs to come up and through
  • Repetition is the mother of learning
  • Think of shoulder in “do I want to do a circle”
  • Think of travers “do I want to finish my circle”
  • Bump slowly in sitting trot to bring the horse back.

 

Thank you Equidays NZ for bringing Kyra so close to Aussie shores for us to be able to attend such an inspirational and educational masterclass.