It's been a busy few weeks. I've had quite a few lessons with Carl on Hari and I've done a few shows with the youngsters. I seem to have had a number of eventers in recently for training too, which I enjoy - it's usually about improving the basics such as suppleness and the connection.
On Friday evening I did a clinic in Leicester and taught a lot of lessons, as there were people preparing for the Regionals. I always find it interesting seeing how everyone prepares before bigger shows and I think it's excellent when people are competing regularly, have a definite system in preparing and know themselves and their horses really well.
I find the people who struggle more with preparation are the ones who aren't competing regularly, sometimes this can't be helped due to circumstances, however, it can be difficult to really know what works best where riders don't have a safe, tried and tested system which I think is key to competing well. What I usually suggest to those people is to try to do what worked well last time although sometimes this is hard to remember. Keeping a diary is a good reminder, so it's clear in your mind. It's all about learning how to get the best out of you and your horse and this can take a fair few shows to figure out.
Last week I competed FST Destinero who scored just shy of 70 which was a nice Regional warm up. He had a cheeky buck if this hadn't happened, I think we would have been into the 70's, which is encouraging. I've also been to Carl Hester's with Hari who is feeling fantastic at the moment. We have been working on a few of the moves for his test at the Regionals. We have been working on the PSG work. Carl told me not to over-collect as it wasn't as necessary for Advanced Medium, but to be bolder with the forward trot in the test, ie. show off and let the neck longer. As Hari collects towards passage really easily, I have to be careful in the small circles not to over do it, or he will passage. Carl said we should get lots of 8s, so I will try to have Carl's wise words in my head on the day of our next competition and if I can create the work we had in our last lesson we will be flying. Hari can get a little sharp at shows so it's about keeping him calm too.
I love the Olympic buzz at the moment, the opening ceremony looked fantastic; it must be amazing to be an athlete and to go the ceremony. It must be very emotional! I really enjoy seeing all of the posts from team GBR which helps everyone to feel united. I'll be routing for for the whole team but it would be amazing if Charlotte gets the individual gold again, on top of team gold, so fingers crossed. It's so exciting although it will be tough competition with Germany so strong.
I've been doing lots of pole work recently with all of my horses in our fields. I think it's good mentally to keep them interested but it can help to strengthen the core and add more expression in the trot. We raise the poles too to help get more lift as the horses use their backs more, plus it's really good fun. I'm also using the fields to canter around, which is also fun for the horses and me, it helps with fitness and it's great to educate the youngsters.