Polly Williamson's Blog

  • 25 Jan 2017
  • Never take off before the horse!

The hectic Christmas period is over and I’ve been so busy, cooking the roast turkey seems like an age ago and now The UK is having a cold snap which has resulted in quite a few of my lessons being cancelled due to frozen arenas. Despite this, the last ten days have been very busy with many people beginning to think about competitions again.

Aaron Miller and Friendly

Florrie Dyer, who I’ve consistently taught for a year now, has had a couple of lesson through January. Florrie is still at school in her first year of GSCE’s and I really enjoy our lessons; Florrie has a good eye and her 16 hands horse, Bernie, is an athletic, scopey sort. During the last lesson I (as I often do), we worked on gaining a correct, balanced yet forward canter, and testing that this canter is maintained over poles on the floor, whether the poles are on a straight line or a circle and keeping this good canter through a change of pace and change of direction.

Having gained this good canter we then moved forward to jumping, working on re-establishing the correct canter on landing and between fences. If the rider can come into a fence with a secure, balanced and forward canter, keeping a good position over the fence and on landing, the horse is far more likely to land and move away from the jump with the canter needed for the next jump, and this is the key to riding a successful course of 10 or 12 fences. And I have to say Bernie landed in such good balance, he would have been able to turn quickly and jump a large square oxer with ease.

Polly's sister Tory Jowett

Another student, Gill Horton, rides a classy horse who evented up to Intermediate level with Andrew Nicholson before it was decided the horse needed to take a step back. Gill wanted to re-establish corner jumping before a competition the following week. This we did, me reminding Gill of the correct line needed for jumping a corner so there was no escape route, and to open the hand as and when need be. And never to take off before the horse! The corners were jumped easily (Gill had a small problem with a corner last year) and a successful round was achieved at the show the following week.

Polly with Freddie and JackLast week I travelled to Dorset to teach Aaron Miller, as I have regularly done for the past year. We worked five horses including his new CCI** horse, Derek. Derek has slightly muddled his way through 2** tests gaining average marks, but we now need to work on the basics and have him far more correct in the contact. He appears to have a good temperament so I have no doubt with consistent training better marks can be gained. We also worked the six year old horse, Friendly, who I particularly like. Free moving, good confirmation and an uncomplicated brain, as well! It will be nice to see how he progresses this year.

My sister came up today with her 13 year old daughter’s new horse, Dusty. It was the first time I had seen Dusty and I liked him! He is 15.1 but moves like a bigger horse being so free through his shoulders. Certainly on first look he appears more like an overgrown pony but, although not a flashy mover, every part of him is moving in a loose manner. And for a green horse he was so unspooky over strange fillers. In fact he never even looked at them! So important for a young teenage rider.

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