Join in the learning in Horse Hero lessons

Next to having lessons ourselves, the best way to learn is to watch - whether that's top riders working their horses and competing, or watching others having lessons. Horse Hero has filmed a number of lessons including dressage, biomechanics and jumping with top trainers and aspiring students. Whatever level you ride at, there are pearls of wisdom in every video that can help you! Laura and Dr Bechtolsheimer teach dressage, Shane Breen teaches jumping and top American trainers teach biomechanics. Plus Horse Hero's Fiona Price gets a taste of polo and polocrosse! Learn to sit the trot, improve your position and jump a grid, all from the comfort of your armchair. Then put the learning into practise!

There are more videos on this subject in the Library. Alternatively, try a video search on the Home Page (or in the Video Library) if you are looking for something specific.

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Laura B trains Claire Gallimore to lengthen Gigolo's frame Laura B trains Claire Gallimore to lengthen Gigolo's frame
British Pony team member Claire Gallimore reveals why Gigolo is called 'The Beast' and tells Fiona Price her aims for the lesson with Olympic dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer. Laura says Claire's body position must only influence Gigs positively and riding with too short a neck is like riding with the handbrake on! Claire must lengthen the frame by letting the neck out in front of the saddle. She also has to use her seat to hold Gigolo in rhythm and let go with her hand. The pair practise walk-trot transitions using bend to get Gigs even in the contact, and Claire is surprised by Laura's explanation of extended walk! (First of two videos.)

Laura B does lateral work with Claire Gallimore Laura B does lateral work with Claire Gallimore
Having focused on holding Gigolo with her seat in the first part of this lesson and allowing the neck out more (the subject of another video), Claire works on the half pass with Olympian Laura Bechtolsheimer. Laura provides a crystal clear explanation of how to apply the aids and ride the movement, so that Claire doesn't block Gigs or give him anything to 'get stuck' on. "The neck needs to be longer to allow the hind leg to step under and the front end to come up more", says Laura. "Imagine you are riding travers against a wall on a diagonal line". Claire and Laura also work on walk pirouettes plus canter where Laura wants to see a living, breathing contact.

Laura B trains Jenny & Dinky on relaxation & suppleness: Part 1 Laura B trains Jenny & Dinky on relaxation & suppleness: Part 1
Seven year old Dinky (who is working at Medium) is nervous in new places which makes him tense. Top British dressage rider and WEG silver medallist, Laura Bechtolsheimer says "relaxation comes from the brain and the body", so it's important not to hold him together. Laura shows Jenny a variety of simple techniques, including flexion within the transitions, to stop Dinky from setting against the hand. "The emphasis is on giving not holding" Laura says, which may appear counter-intuitive with a horse that rushes! Having softened the neck, lateral work softens Dinky behind the saddle. "It's about finding ways of making it easier for him."

Laura B trains Jenny & Dinky on relaxation & suppleness: Part 2 Laura B trains Jenny & Dinky on relaxation & suppleness: Part 2
Laura Bectholsheimer asks Jenny to use the walk break to practise test moves, including medium and extended walk and pirouettes. She tells Jenny to "march the front end around the back end to make the pirouettes tighter" and encourages her to work on a square, riding a quarter pirouette in each corner. In the canter, Jenny works towards simple changes focusing on getting bend in both directions and collection, in the first instance. To make a transition to walk, Jenny must have engagement, control, balance and straightness. When Dinky starts to take over, Laura says "if it doesn't feel right, don't do the transition".

Laura Bechtolsheimer works on collection with Kim & Robin Laura Bechtolsheimer works on collection with Kim & Robin
Laura Bechtolsheimer trains Kim Seaby and her 8 yr old mare Robin on collection, in preparation for flying changes. Laura asks Kim to give with her inside hand in the trot-canter transition to avoid Robin taking a big first stride. Moving forwards and back in the canter, Kim needs to do more with her seat and less with her hand. "Ask Robin to wait but allow her forwards", says Laura. In collection Laura explains that each part of you is doing something subtle and slightly different to help the horse. She tells Kim to "soften, collect and give". To prepare for a change, the horse must be collected, forwards and straight. (Another video follows with the rest of the lesson.)

Laura Bechtolsheimer teaches Kim & Robin the zigzag Laura Bechtolsheimer teaches Kim & Robin the zigzag
Continuing on from the first part of Kim's lesson which focused on collection, top British dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer works on trot half pass building up to a zigzag, a new move for Kim and the 8 year old Robin. Rein-back helps to engage the quarters and Laura stresses the importance of an accurate halt. She then asks Kim to ride a more 'grown-up' trot which is active, steps up to the contact and has more cadence and expression. Shoulder-in, followed by a small circle and travers sets Robin up for an impressive half pass. The trick in getting a good change of direction in the zigzag, is to slow things down and carefully manage the bend.

Fiona Price has a dressage lesson with Hannah Biggs on Beans Fiona Price has a dressage lesson with Hannah Biggs on Beans

Amateur event rider and Horse Hero Managing Director, Fiona Price, has a dressage lesson on Hannah Biggs' Prix St Georges horse, Demaskus (Beans) in '08. Fiona says, "My eventer is a thoroughbred who is progressing in his lateral work but we are learning together. I wanted to feel what half-pass was like on an established, uphill dressage horse, as well as changes!" There's lots in this video which will be of interest to riders who are working up to medium level with some real insights from Hannah and a few 'light-bulb' moments from Fiona!


Hannah Biggs trains Fiona & Buddy Holly on leg-yield Hannah Biggs trains Fiona & Buddy Holly on leg-yield

Grand Prix rider Hannah Biggs sees the 3 year old Buddy Holly for the second time. Fiona Price has had Buddy for 3 months and he now has a greater understanding of the aids, is more balanced and fitter. Hannah discusses a suitable plan for a session with a youngster. The warm-up in walk is on a long rein and the aim in trot is to establish a good swing, progressing to control of the shoulders and an outline. Fiona makes a number of 'nearly transitions' to get Buddy anticipating what's coming next. In leg yield, Hannah gives Fiona an exercise to ensure she has complete control of the movement.


Hannah Biggs trains Buddy Holly to stay in front of the leg Hannah Biggs trains Buddy Holly to stay in front of the leg

Grand Prix dressage rider Hannah Biggs rides three year old Buddy Holly during Fiona Price's lesson. The emphasis is to get Buddy in front of the leg in all paces and transitions, as he is inclined to drop behind, become heavy in the hand and a little dead to the leg. Using a regular tap of the whip (which caused him to buck with Fiona!) and lots of encouragement, Hannah rewards Buddy for any forward responses. She then works on controlling the shoulders. Finding the correct lead in the canter proves tricky and "Buddy's huge canter is a little untidy, but fitness and practise will improve it", says Hannah. Fiona finds it all very illuminating!


Fiona & Norris have a 'tune-up' with Hannah Biggs before eventing Fiona & Norris have a 'tune-up' with Hannah Biggs before eventing

Fiona Price and her eventer Norris have a 'tune-up' with Grand Prix dressage rider Hannah Biggs before their first outing of the season. Norris is a big horse and Fiona finds it hard work to get him collected and on the aids, but the key is frequent transitions and keeping him in front of the leg. Hannah asks Fiona not to anticipate the upwards transitions with her body and says she needs to "press the button and trust Norris to carry himself from the walk into canter". She adds, "when half halting, it's important to keep his shoulders up and imagine you are carrying a magic ball on top of his withers". Fiona is delighted to discover the key to a better medium trot!


Fiona Price learns how to ride the walk on Active Walero Fiona Price learns how to ride the walk on Active Walero
Horse Hero's Fiona Price (an amateur eventer) takes up the challenge of riding and competing the dressage Olympian, Active Walero. Nicola McGivern starts Fiona on the walk, which is not to be underestimated. Packed with information, Nicola gives Fiona mantras to help her understand Walero, such as "Contact to go, give to slow" and "I take, you give, I give". Nicola explains how to stop Walero looking like a 'nodding chicken' and without mincing her words, tells Fiona to forget her legs, do something completely wrong, stop looking like she's about to do a maths test and start whooping! Who said riding a finished Grand Prix horse was easy?

Nicola McGivern helps Fiona sit Walero's huge trot! Nicola McGivern helps Fiona sit Walero's huge trot!
Having established the correct walk (in a previous video), Fiona progresses to trot and canter. Nicola explains how to ride the transition to trot and then helps Fiona sit with loose legs to Walero's enormous trot. Fiona quickly discovers the meaning of the word relaxation! Moving into canter, the main challenge is riding a good corner. Using mantras such as "ride your seat into your hands" and "inside bottom to outside bottom" Nicola gets animated to put her message across! Fiona learns to "stand behind Walero" to achieve real collection and the ultimate accolade is when Nicola tells Fiona she is starting to look like a dressage rider!

Dr Bechtolsheimer teaches Lara on the 5 year old Pammy: Part 1 Dr Bechtolsheimer teaches Lara on the 5 year old Pammy: Part 1
Dr Bechtolsheimer teaches yard rider Lara on the 5 year old homebred mare Pammy, sister to Horse Hero star Teddy. After the warm-up, Dr B works with the pair on a circle in both trot and canter. He says, "rhythm is the most important thing for a young horse to learn". He explains this must be established before moving on to more difficult lateral work. Lara works on correcting the flexion before doing transitions. Careful preparation and clear body language from Lara ensure perfect rhythm and balance moving Pammy forwards and back within the pace. Dr B says, "Pammy's rhythm must be like the pendulum of a Swiss clock!"

Dr Bechtolsheimer teaches Lara on the 5 year old Pammy: Part 2 Dr Bechtolsheimer teaches Lara on the 5 year old Pammy: Part 2
Having established rhythm in Part 1, Lara and Pammy move on to lateral work. Dr B tells Lara to limit the angle of the shoulder-in so Pammy can maintain it for 15-20 metres. In travers, Dr B asks Lara to get straight and have Pammy looking down the track before moving the quarters away. "Half pass is often ruined in the transition", says Dr B. So he breaks down the preparation to make it clear. "Take the bend out of the corner, go straight and move the quarters in the second or third stride". Lara then rides an Elementary test to link the moves. Dr B says "like children in kindergarten, it is important not to apply too much pressure!"

Suzie Peacock works on biomechanics with Sally Goodwin-Davies: Part 1 Suzie Peacock works on biomechanics with Sally Goodwin-Davies: Part 1
US Grand Prix dressage rider and biomechanics trainer Suzie Peacock helps Sally Goodwin-Davies improve her position on the Advanced horse Jeremy. Suzie tells Sally (who suffers knee and hip problems) that her left side is 'bossy' and pulls her off centre. Suzie says 'tractioning' the spine creates proper alignment and space between the vertebrae, which gives more mobility. "Our job is to make it easiest for the horse to do what we want him to do" and we need to be more body aware to achieve this. Suzie explains the correct motion of the pelvis to mirror the horse's movement, and bring horse and rider into harmony!

Susie + Sally 13 Suzie Peacock works on biomechanics with Sally Goodwin-Davies: Part 2
Grand Prix dressage rider Suzie works with Sally in Part 2, on improving the sitting trot. Using analogies such as "imagine there's a hook on the front of your collar bone lifting you forwards and up" and " let your legs hang as dead-weights," Suzie changes Sally's posture and ensures her hips are moving left to right instead of the more conventional forwards and back. Suzie explains how every part of the riders' body is specific to a part of the horse, so if the horse is blocked the rider must unblock something in themselves. It's all about "not getting in the way of your horse." The difference in Jeremy's movement by the end is incredible!

Suzie Peacock helps Amy to be better balanced in the saddle: Part 1 Suzie Peacock helps Amy to be better balanced in the saddle: Part 1
American Grand Prix dressage rider and biomechanics trainer Suzie Peacock, helps Amy McCormick to improve her balance on the 8 year old Vaz, who is working at Advanced Medium. Starting with 'tractioning the spine', Suzie shows Amy how to stack and stretch her bones into the correct alignment. She says, "when we are tight in our back, the horse is tight in theirs". She explains how Amy can breath with a purpose, "breath in to grow taller and breath out to lengthen and deepen". Suzie explains clearly how Amy should position her seat bones for maximum effect. She says, "be a lazy rider and let your horse do more of the work!"

Suzie Peacock helps Amy to be better balanced in the saddle: Part 2 Suzie Peacock helps Amy to be better balanced in the saddle: Part 2
Following on from Part 1, Amy moves into sitting trot on the very bouncy Vaz. Suzie says that when Amy's hips move back and fore in the saddle, they don't follow the motion of the horse. Her hips need to be like "oars in a kayak". Suzie says, "this will change everything" and the more animated Vaz's movement, the more animated Amy's hips need to be. The difference in Vaz's movement is noticeable! Moving into canter, Suzie tells Amy to imagine the seat of her saddle is a clock, so she can correctly position her seat bones and allow her legs to hang. Suzie also explains when tension in Amy's body is a hindrance to Vaz and when it's useful!

Jackie Siu works on body awareness with the Feldenkrais method Jackie Siu works on body awareness with the Feldenkrais method
Michele Morseth trains Grand Prix dressage rider Jackie Siu to improve Flora’s way of going. Using the Feldenkrais method, Michele demonstrates how when moving one part of Jackie's body it affects another, and ultimately the horse. "By focusing on the relationship between thought and movement, riding is easier and more effective" says Michele. She continues, "Only when you are completely conscious of how you sit and apply the aids, can you ensure you are not detrimental to your horse's movement, but enhance it!" Jackie fine tunes her co-ordination and balance and finds that Flora’s slight but niggling shoulder drift is improved!

Fiona Price has a jumping lesson with Shane Breen Fiona Price has a jumping lesson with Shane Breen
Horse Hero's Fiona Price is game for most things and a lesson on a Grade A show jumping horse was definitely on her list! However, Lulu proved a bit more of a challenge than she expected! With the help of show jumper, Shane Breen, the first aim was to overcome Lulu's spooky nature. Then, using canter poles, Shane works with Fiona to shorten and lengthen the stride. A clever grid succeeds in getting Lulu's exuberance under control and allowing Fiona to do some jumping! "A tight turn into a line of fences stops horses from racing and chasing", says Shane, who insists Fiona gets control the landing stride to make the distance.

Fiona Price has a go at polo! Fiona Price has a go at polo!
Horse Hero's Fiona Price is game for most things, and polo is no exception! After a spot of bother with the knitting (should she opt for the English or Argentine method) and instruction from polo superstar Mark Tomlinson, Fiona and Reddy take to the pitch. Mark teaches Fiona how to do 'handbrake turns' and 'slide stops' and Fiona is surprised at how difficult it is to co-ordinate the right sequence of movements. In the end, the best analogy she can come up with is that after the half halt she 'skies' around the corner. The aids seem unconventional but Fiona throws caution to the wind and improves through the session. She is even persuaded to hit a ball!

Fiona Price tries her hand at Polocrosse Fiona Price tries her hand at Polocrosse
Fiona is game for most things and polocrosse is no exception. Jason Webb, natural horsemanship trainer and Australian national team player shows Fiona the ropes. Riding Jason's 'old Doc', Fiona learns that dressage is part of Polocrosse which uses lateral work and pirouettes to 'mark up' the opponent. Jason shows Fiona how to hold a racket and steer, then instructs her to play a game of 'tag'. Fiona first has to get away from Jason, then mark him. Jason is forced to admit that he has no chance! Finally, he challenges Fiona to pick up a ball in canter within five minutes. Can she rise to the occasion and has she missed her real calling?

Building confidence in the inexperienced show jumper and rider Building confidence in the inexperienced show jumper and rider
Show jumping trainer Ernest Dillon helps Aileen build her confidence in the approach to the fence with the young mare Bella, who has featured in previous training videos with Ernest. Amateur rider Aileen works on rhythm and balance in the warm-up in trot, and also on moving forwards and back in the canter, in order to control the length of the stride. Starting with several poles in front of the fence to help Eileen meet it correctly, the poles are gradually removed so Aileen develops her eye knowing what the distance feels like. Ernest sets up a related distance and Aileen rises to the challenge, getting the approach and the distance spot-on.

Sarah Millis trains Melissa Beer at Prix St Georges level: Part 1 Sarah Millis trains Melissa Beer at Prix St Georges level: Part 1
Young Rider Melissa Beer works the 8 year old Cappuccino (Leo) with help from trainer Sarah Millis. Leo is starting to compete at Prix St Georges level, so the aim is to consolidate his basic way of going and then link up some of the test moves. Once Leo is relaxed and swinging through his back, Mel asks him to move forwards in canter and come back to make sure he is off the leg and reacting to her seat and upper thigh. Sarah says "when there is enough softness and balance, allow him to come more uphill". Medium canter on the diagonal helps Leo to be forwards so he can perform half pass, followed by a change, then half pass in the other direction.

Sarah Millis trains Melissa Beer at Prix St Georges level: Part 2 Sarah Millis trains Melissa Beer at Prix St Georges level: Part 2
Progressing from the canter work in Part 1, Melissa establishes a relaxed and confident trot before asking for lateral work. Sarah says "keep the tempo in the hind leg, so you have the feeling that Leo is pulling upwards and forwards into the shoulder-in". Combining this with half- pass, Melissa works on maintaining the same tempo from one movement to the other. "Rhythm is in the mind" says Sarah who adds that Leo must bend in the centre of his body around Melissa's leg. Linking shoulder-in with a small circle and half-pass, Leo's cadence improves. Sarah says "when he offers more lift and swing, take it for short periods only to build his confidence".

Erin Williams and trainer Sonia Baines work on softness with Lola Erin Williams and trainer Sonia Baines work on softness with Lola
Lola was a brood mare before competing at Advanced Medium with GB Junior dressgae squad member Erin Williams. In the walk, Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Sonia Baines asks Erin to use lateral work to get Lola on her aids. In trot, the aim is straightness and balance. Sonia asks for a 'long and low' frame while keeping the mare between seat, leg and rein. Walk-trot transitions make Loloa wait; 'half-steps' assist with balance and activity. Half-halts in canter overcome tension and walk-canter transitions test the softeness. Sonia adds, "any confusion between horse and rider is because the partnership is still new".

Erin Williams trains her GB Junior squad horse Fleurie, with Sonia Baines Erin Williams trains her GB Junior squad horse Fleurie, with Sonia Baines
GB Pony team member Erin Williams works with her Junior team prospect, the talented (and tall) 13 year old Prix St Georges mare Fleurie and trainer, Grand Prix dressage rider Sonia Baines. The session focuses on improving suppleness and keeping the mare infront of the leg. Sonia asks Erin to move 'forwards and back' in trot and canter, throughout the work. It's up to Erin to decide what she wants from each transition eg. more roundness, softness or collection. "The aim is soft, light and gentle aids, even when Fleurie feels lazy", says Sonia. Once the mare is engaged, Erin progresses to working pirouettes, tempi changes and building a bigger trot.

Hannah Biggs trains Amy & Vaz on relaxation and softness: Part 1 Hannah Biggs trains Amy & Vaz on relaxation and softness: Part 1
Grand Prix dressage rider Hannah Biggs trains Amy McCormick and the 8 year old Vaz, who are currently working at Medium level and aimed at Young Rider team selection. The focus is on relaxation, softness and straightness for Vaz who can be lazy off the leg initially and then over-react. Hannah explains her system of leg aids to ensure Vaz maintains the correct tempo himself, and for getting an even contact into both reins. Hannah says "with a tense horse you have to think more carefully about the consequences of your aids." Using transitions and adjusting the neck position within different tempos, achieves the required relaxation. (Part 1 of 2)

Hannah Biggs trains Amy & Vaz on relaxation and softness: Part 2 Hannah Biggs trains Amy & Vaz on relaxation and softness: Part 2
Moving into canter, Hannah asks Amy to use her hips to control straightness, not just the rein. So when Vaz falls out Amy must do the opposite with her hips. Transitions within the pace help to strengthen Vaz so he will find the work easy. "The more giving in the jaw, the better the jump-through from behind" says Hannah. Preparation is the key to successful flying changes, so Amy waits for the perfect moment when Vaz is straight and soft. Hannah reminds her not to nag with her leg or rein but be efficient with her aids. "Higher marks come from greater suppleness" says Hannah "and the more relaxed his back, the easier the sitting trot will be too!"

Susanne Miesner helps eventer Vittoria Panizzon get Pennyz connected Susanne Miesner helps eventer Vittoria Panizzon get Pennyz connected
Italian team eventer Vittoria Panizzon has a lesson for the first time with German dressage trainer Susanne Miesner on the 3* mare Pennyz, who is qualified for the Olympics. Vittoria warms-up in preparation for practising a test but Pennyz can be 'mareish'. She isn't easy in the contact and doesn't always work through. Susanne stresses the importance of the walk. "If the walk is not relaxed, you can't have a relaxed trot or canter." Susanne helps Vittoria establish a connection before asking for trot. "Looseness must not be confused with suppleness. Suppleness means the nervous horse gets quiet and the lazy horse gets energetic."

Susanne Miesner works on test riding with eventer Vittoria Panizzon Susanne Miesner works on test riding with eventer Vittoria Panizzon
Continuing her first lesson with German dressage trainer Susanne Miesner, Italian eventer Vittoria Panizzon works on test moves with the Olympics qualified mare. During the warm-up (in a previous video) Vittoria focussed on the connection. As she begins test riding, Susanne asks her to maintain a steady frame with the sensitive mare. The centre line to the first halt is text book, but when she moves off into trot and shoulder-in, the connection is lost. "The difficulty in the lateral work is lack of security in the outside rein" says Susanne. She also asks Vittoria to keep the poll higher and her hands lower, to help the mare with her balance.

Susanne Miesner trains Lesley and Garuda on the warm-up Susanne Miesner trains Lesley and Garuda on the warm-up
Classical German dressage trainer Susanne Miesner says "the aim in the warm-up is for the horse to stretch his back, be steady in the contact and move off the leg'". Susanne asks Lesley Peyton-Gilbert to start her 10 year old Prix St Georges stallion Garuda in a hacking walk. "If the horse comes too early to the contact, he will never properly stretch his back" she says. Riding between a working and a mediocre trot engages the hind leg. "The horse must be infront of the driving aids before you can bring him back" says Susanne. Lesley drops his nose so it's level with the shoulder joint, which helps Garuda swing along and allows the aids through.

Susanne Miesner fine tunes lateral work with Lesley and Garuda Susanne Miesner fine tunes lateral work with Lesley and Garuda
Classical German dressage trainer Susanne Miesner helps Lesley Peyton-Gilbert and Garuda with lateral work after their warm-up (in a previous video). First, half-halts help with engagement, then shoulder-in and shoulder-fore at different tempos on a circle help Garuda step the hind leg up under his centre of gravity. Susanne says "leg yield is the key movement for all lateral work as it shows if the horse is in balance, stepping to the outside rein and going 'forwards' sideways". Lesley combines leg yield with half-pass on a zig-zag, then lengthens the trot on a circle to regain power and stretches low and deep to release the muscles.

Susanne Miesner helps Lesley & Garuda with piaffe and passage Susanne Miesner helps Lesley & Garuda with piaffe and passage
Having warmed-up and done lateral work (in previous videos), German classical dressage trainer Susanne Miesner asks Lesley Peyton-Gilbert to show her what Garuda can do in piaffe and passage. Susanne stresses the importance of tuning Garuda up with half halts and collection before asking for anything, so Lesley can sit quietly and let him work under her. With some help from Susanne, Garuda's rhythm improves. "The rider is responsible for creating energy and excitement without fear or panic," says Susanne. The first few steps must be good. "At the start of piaffe and passage, rhythm and suppleness are paramount."

Pammy Hutton teaches Sarah Reeve to ride in a correct outline Pammy Hutton teaches Sarah Reeve to ride in a correct outline
Top dressage trainer Pammy Hutton gives amateur rider Sarah Reeve a lesson on Talland school-master Tommy. In helping Sarah achieve her goal of riding in a rounder frame, Pammy asks her to ride more forwards and direct the impulsion. "It's no good riding with a static hand", she says." Bend Tommy, give him a firm down feeling, then let go and ease the hand". Pammy explains "the give is more important than the take" and that Sarah needs to be braver! For a bit of fun, Pammy instructs Sarah to change the rein in canter and put one leg forward, the other leg back for a flying change. "It's that easy," says Pammy.

Pammy Hutton teaches Sarah Reeve lateral work on schoolmaster Tommy Pammy Hutton teaches Sarah Reeve lateral work on schoolmaster Tommy
In the first part of the lesson, dressage trainer Pammy Hutton worked on the contact with Sarah Reeve on Talland school-master Tommy. Moving on to lateral work, Sarah starts by spiralling in on a circle and leg yielding out; she progresses to leg yield across the diagonal where the outside hand show the direction. Half pass is new to Sarah, so Pammy instructs her to bend the neck to the inside around the corner, outside leg behind the girth and get both sets of eyes pointing in the direction they are going. "It's vital to put the bend in before the over" she says. They finish by practising the centre line which is a big influence on every test.

Pammy Hutton teaches Sara Bowie speed control and lateral work Pammy Hutton teaches Sara Bowie speed control and lateral work
Competition winner Sara Bowie, an event rider, has a lesson with Pammy Hutton on a dressage school-master at Talland. After showing Sara how to hold the double bridle, Pammy asks Sara to move on and back in the trot, then slow it a little and a lot, in order to establish what the correct pace feels like on the big-moving PJ. Sara over-uses her leg in the canter which results in spontaneous changes and some bucking, for good measure! Pammy instructs Sara to ride the slowest canter in her life, then cut the speed in half! Half-pass is new to Sara and proves to be a bit of a challenge. Pammy explains it brilliantly, "it's like driving a car around a roundabout!"

Natalie Allen helps eventer Sarah Stretton & Bob prepare for Burghley Natalie Allen helps eventer Sarah Stretton & Bob prepare for Burghley
14 year old Skipon (Bob) and 4* eventer Sarah Stretton prepare for Burghley Horse Trials with help from dressage trainer Natalie Allen. Sarah says the diminutive Bob starts off "trotting like a duck" and can be tense, so relaxation and squeezing out every mark out of the dressage is vital. Natalie constructs a masterly warm-up working on the bend, straightness and Sarah's position. Lateral work opens Bob's ribcage and encourages him to swing through his body before more Advanced work. "Thumbs to ears to marker is the key to half-pass" says Natalie and decreasing circles create more jump in the canter in preparation for changes.

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